SEVILLE, Spain – Barcelona, led by a phenomenal Lionel Messi, steamrolled Real Betis 5-0 on the latter’s home turf, with all the tallies coming in the second half.
Betis pursued its standard aggressive game and held the La Liga leaders scoreless in the first period, a competitive half, but then it was the former Sevilla captain, midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who got the visitors on the board at the Benito Villamarin stadium in the 59th minute.
Then it was Messi five minutes later, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez in the 69th minute, the Argentine again in the 80th and Suarez one more time in the 89th minute to seal the deal for Barça’s 17th win in its last 20 Spanish First Division games.
With the victory, the Catalonian squad is unbeaten so far this season and stands 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid, after Girona battled the capital team to a 1-1 tie on Saturday.
Ernesto Valverde’s boys hold a 14-point lead over No. 3 Valencia and are 19 points in front of rival Real Madrid.
Barcelona has not lost at Villamarin in La Liga matches since 2008.
Messi has notched seven goals in his last six games and leads the league with 19 goals, four ahead of Suarez.