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Summary

  1. Suarez scores twice, Alba and Messi also on target
  2. Barca move three points behind Real Madrid
  3. David Lopez scores for Espanyol

Live Reporting

By Mike Whalley

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    And that is just about that, other than to thank Shamoon Hafez for writing the match report, which you can read here.

    Thank you too for putting up with my ramblings for the last two-and-three-quarter hours. I enjoyed your company; I hope mine was OK. Let's do it again soon.

  2. Elsewhere in La Liga

    Deportivo win, Leganes get a point

    There are two other results to bring you from La Liga today. It's been a good day for Deportivo La Coruna, who put a little distance between themselves and the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over bottom club Osasuna, who look doomed, I'm afraid. 

    Leganes, hovering close to the drop zone, looked set to beat Eibar with 10 men thanks to Miguel Guerrero's goal. The visitors, though, grabbed a 76th-minute equaliser through Bebe, once of Manchester United, and it finished 1-1.

  3. How they stand

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    Barcelona move back up to second place with tonight's victory, which will improve their mood as the Christmas break looms. Real Madrid's game in hand is away to Valencia - it was postponed this weekend because Zinedine Zidane's side were in Japan, winning the Club World Cup.

    La Liga
  4. '...and even the Grand National'

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    To borrow a line from the late, great Kenneth Wolstenholme, Messi's performance tonight was good enough to win the league, the cup, the Charity Shield, the World Cup and even the Grand National.

  5. Get Involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Phil Dodsworth: Messi, Iniesta, Suarez tonight WOW just WOW!

  6. Post update

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    Here's a question for you: If Luis Suarez is worth £167.5m, how much is Lionel Messi worth?

    Lionel Messi
  7. FULL-TIME

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    A fine showing from Barcelona tonight; a world-class showing from Lionel Messi. How fitting that he should have the final word.

    Luis Enrique
  8. Post update

    Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    Just had another look at the goal, and it really is a nonchalant finish from Messi, with the outside of the left boot.

    Neymar has a chance to make it five as he is played into space - he aims for the far corner, but Roberto blocks out the light.

  9. GOAL - Barcelona 4-1 Espanyol

    Lionel Messi

    That is justice. That is brilliant. Lionel Messi deserved a goal tonight, and he has one. The little genius bursts away on the break, and Espanyol look flat on their feet. One man keeps pace - Luis Suarez. Messi feeds the Uruguayan, who loops a first-time return pass. The number 10 catches it on the half-volley, and steers it between Roberto's legs. Terrific.

    Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi
  10. Post update

    Barcelona 3-1 Espanyol

    The only thing missing from Lionel Messi's display tonight is a goal. There's a one-two with Neymar, then another brilliant movement of the feet; he stops and starts, throwing the away defenders off balance. His shot, across goal, whizzes just beyond the far post.

    Just to pick up on Dave Wood's tweet: If you haven't heard, the BBC's Sports Personality of 2016 is that Scottish chap who's quite good at tennis. Reaction here.

  11. Get Involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Dave Wood: Can we find Messi an British Grandparent so that he is eligible for Sports Personality of the Year?

  12. Post update

    Barcelona 3-1 Espanyol

    We've seen four wonderful goals this evening - and four superb assists too. Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and David Lopez are the players on the scoresheet, but Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Gerard Moreno all deserve a huge share of the credit.

  13. GOAL - Barcelona 3-1 Espanyol

    David Lopez

    It's not going to count for an awful lot (and I write that as someone who saw AFC Wimbledon come from 3-0 down with 10 minutes left to beat Curzon Ashton 4-3 two weeks ago), but Espanyol have scored a very classy goal of their own.

    A long pass is beautifully cushioned by Gerard into the path of David Lopez, who celebrates the signing of a new contract this week with his first goal of the season.

  14. Post update

    Barcelona 3-0 Espanyol

    Neymar takes Lionel Messi's exhibition as a cue to show some more tricky of his own, cutting in from the left with a stepover or two and trying to cut the ball back - but Espanyol have enough man back to clear this time. Although how many is enough when Messi is around?

  15. Get Involved

    #bbceurofooty

    Ayo Obit: The stats and history may show that Suarez and Alba scored the goals, but Messi did ALL the work! What a player! GOAT!

    That's GOAT as in Greatest Of All Time, rather than the animal that lives on a hill and eats tin cans.

  16. GOAL - Barcelona 3-0 Espanyol

    Jordi Alba

    And for anyone who missed that moment of brilliance from Messi, he does it again within seconds... The Barcelona number 10's magic feet once again leave the Espanyol defence with twisted blood and knotted legs. Four opponents are taken out in a blur. Messi seems to be losing his balance, but still works it left for Jordi Alba to drill in a third. The visitors don't know what has hit them. Well, they do.

    Jordi Alba
  17. GOAL - Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol

    Luis Suarez

    Scored by Suarez, made by Messi. That is one of the greatest assists you will see anywhere this season. Andres Iniesta shows quick feet to feed a pass short to Messi, who shows wonderful footwork to beat two, three, four Espanyol defenders. It's a wonderful individual goal if he can finish - but no, the shot is straight at Roberto. The Espanyol keeper cannot hold it, though, and Suarez pounces.

    Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi
  18. Post update

    Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

    Lionel Messi sets off at pace. Felipe Caicedo cannot catch him, and lunges with a leg, bringing down the Barcelona forward. It's a booking for Caicedo, who does not protest.

    We have another change, this time for Barcelona; Rafinha is on for Denis Suarez.

  19. Post update

    Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

    At the other end, Espanyol's Roberto appears to much less of a sweeper-keeper. Lionel Messi sends a long ball for Neymar to chase. Roberto advances, hesitates and backtracks. He seems to think: Should I stay or should I go? He reaches the ball just in time and gathers, as Neymar hovers expectantly.

  20. Post update

    Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol

    We haven't seen too much of Espanyol as an attacking force in the second half, but now Javi Fuego tears off down the right flank. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Marc-Andre ter Stegen appears 15 yards outside his penalty area to perform an exemplary piece of sweeper-keeping. Pep Guardiola would have been proud. And I'm sure Guardiola would have taken him to Manchester City if he could have done.