Spanish La Liga
Barcelona3Alavés0

Lionel Messi scores twice as Barcelona start La Liga title defence with 3-0 win over Alaves

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi also scored a low free-kick against Girona in February

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona got their La Liga title defence off to a winning start with a deserved, hard-fought victory over Alaves.

Messi fired a fantastic free-kick under the wall to open the scoring - Barcelona's 6,000th La Liga goal.

Half-time substitute Philippe Coutinho then cut inside to curl home a second.

And Messi controlled Luis Suarez's pass with his chest, beat two defenders and steered a low shot into the bottom corner of the net in injury time.

Messi, now Barcelona's captain after Andres Iniesta's move to Japan, had also hit the woodwork twice - with a free-kick that deflected off the bar and another effort coming off the post.

He has scored in 15 consecutive La Liga seasons.

Barcelona were made to work hard for the win by Alaves, who offered little going forward and only had three shots, none on target, and 21% possession.

Messi, who also hit Barcelona's 5,000th La Liga goal eight years ago, has scored 6.4% of the club's top-flight goals ever.

Barcelona, who brought on summer signings Arthur and Arturo Vidal for league debuts, beat Sevilla 2-1 in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.

Real Madrid get their league campaign under way on Sunday, at home to Getafe (21:15 BST). Atletico Madrid visit Valencia on Monday (19:00 BST).

Elsewhere in La Liga, Villarreal midfielder Santi Cazorla made his first appearance since October 2016 for Arsenal following a serious Achilles tendon injury. Unfortunately for him, his side lost 2-1 at home to Real Sociedad.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Nélson SemedoSubstituted forCoutinhoat 45'minutes
  • 3Piqué
  • 23Umtiti
  • 18Alba
  • 20Roberto
  • 5BusquetsSubstituted forVidalat 85'minutes
  • 4Rakitic
  • 11DembéléSubstituted forRamos de Oliveira Meloat 77'minutes
  • 9Suárez
  • 10Messi

Substitutes

  • 7Coutinho
  • 8Ramos de Oliveira Melo
  • 12Rafinha
  • 13Cillessen
  • 14Malcom
  • 15Lenglet
  • 22Vidal

Alavés

  • 1Pacheco
  • 21Aguirregabiria
  • 5Laguardia
  • 6MaripánBooked at 41mins
  • 3Duarte
  • 11Gómez
  • 22Wakaso
  • 16TorresBooked at 10minsSubstituted forMarínat 68'minutes
  • 19García Sánchez
  • 23Rodríguez MenéndezSubstituted forBastónat 68'minutes
  • 7SobrinoSubstituted forFranco Alvizat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Sivera
  • 14Franco Alviz
  • 15Navarro Jiménez
  • 17Marín
  • 18Bastón
  • 24Twumasi
  • 27Perera
Referee:
José María Sánchez Martínez
Attendance:
52,356

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAlavés
Possession
Home79%
Away21%
Shots
Home25
Away3
Shots on Target
Home9
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 3, Alavés 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Alavés 0.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 3, Alavés 0. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Offside, Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sergi Roberto.

Hand ball by Adrián Marín (Alavés).

Foul by Arthur (Barcelona).

Manu García (Alavés) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Dangerous play by Luis Suárez (Barcelona).

Adrián Marín (Alavés) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Arturo Vidal replaces Sergio Busquets.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 2, Alavés 0. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Arthur.

Attempt saved. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a through ball.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Guillermo Maripán.

Attempt missed. Adrián Marín (Alavés) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ibai Gómez following a set piece situation.

Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

Burgui (Alavés) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Manu García (Alavés).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Arthur replaces Ousmane Dembélé.

Hand ball by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

Offside, Barcelona. Sergi Roberto tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adrián Marín (Alavés).

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Fernando Pacheco.

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Alavés. Burgui replaces Rubén Sobrino because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Alavés. Borja Bastón replaces Jony.

Substitution

Substitution, Alavés. Adrián Marín replaces Daniel Torres.

Foul by Sergi Roberto (Barcelona).

Rubén Duarte (Alavés) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 1, Alavés 0. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Rubén Duarte (Alavés).

Attempt blocked. Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Offside, Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Coutinho following a corner.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Guillermo Maripán.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 18th August 2018

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona11003033
2Levante11003033
3Real Sociedad11002113
4Girona10100001
5Real Valladolid10100001
6Espanyol10101101
7Celta Vigo10101101
8Ath Bilbao00000000
9Atl Madrid00000000
10Eibar00000000
11Getafe00000000
12Huesca00000000
13Leganés00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Madrid00000000
16Sevilla00000000
17Valencia00000000
18Villarreal100112-10
19Real Betis100103-30
20Alavés100103-30
View full Spanish La Liga table

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