Messi stellar, Suarez hat trick as Barca triumph By

After Girona took an early shock lead at the Nou Camp, Barca rumbled to a 4-1 lead going into the second half when Coutinho made a decision to light up the stadium in his fifth game for the league leaders.

Suarez then finished off a sweeping counter-attack involving Messi and Coutinho from five yards to make it 4-1 just before the interval.

This was mesmeric Messi at his brilliant best and the Camp Nou crowd roared in appreciation. Messi managed to deftly loft over Bounou and the ball looked set to end up in the back of the net but Bernardo Espinosa managed to track back and head the effort over the cross bar for a corner.

Girona won automatic promotion last May and nine La Liga wins this season had lifted them up to ninth in the table heading into the match, but the gulf in class between them and their hosts was marked.

Luis Suarez fired a hat-trick and Lionel Messi a brace as Barcelona ran riot against Girona to stay on course for their 25th La Liga title.

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Barca's record signing Coutinho had set up Suarez's second goal and then struck for the first time in La Liga with a spectacular long-distance shot from well outside of the area in the 66th minute.

"It's been an important week", Valverde told Movistar Partidazo after the game. The visitors broke quickly after Sergio Busquets gave the ball away, allowing Girona to come forward through Lozano.

"It's hard to get used to things like this. Just when you think you've seen everything from Messi, he surprises you, like his free kick, which looked easy but was very hard to execute", Valverde told Movistar Partidazo. "Messi feels a great responsibility for the team and he took it on during the early part of the game". He's had problems with injuries, meaning his period of adaptation was skipped.

The Catalan giants' victory also helped Barcelona to a 32 game unbeaten streak, which is one better than their own record off 31 which was set in 2010/11 when Pep Guardiola was at the helm. Meanwhile, Messi has now broken the record for the number of La Liga assists.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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