After putting Chelsea to the sword in the Champions League midweek, Messi scored for the sixth game in a row against Athletic at the Camp Nou to propel Barca closer to the domestic title.
Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez were the defending champions' other scorers at the Bernabeu, with Cristhian Stuani (two) and Juanpe replying for battling Girona to keep home fans on tenterhooks until the final whistle.
Philippe Coutinho hit the crossbar twice in the opening half, Paulinho hit the post, and Messi forced another decent save from Kepa. The Argentine now plays in a more deeper position, often dropping into his own half to get on the ball in central positions and dictate play.
Paco Alcacer gave Barcelona an early lead in the eighth minute before Messi struck the second goal of the game in the 30th minute.
Ten minutes later, Aritz Aduriz met a decent cross into the box, but the Bilbao man saw his header cleared off the goalline by a Barcelona defender.
Nevertheless, Ernesto Valverde's side held on for a comfortable win and put all the pressure on their closest rivals, Atletico Madrid, ahead of their clash with Villarreal.
But Unal headed in an 82nd-minute equaliser for the hosts and turned home a stoppage-time winner as Villarreal climbed up to fifth.
"There were things to correct, we had to press them higher, we didn't want them left to run free and we had to correct that".
Barcelona, still unbeaten in La Liga, pressured throughout the game and had plenty of chances to score more goals, especially in the first half.
Messi pointed up to the stands after scoring his goal, leading many to wonder just why he did the dance.
Messi in 28 appearances out of possible 29 in La Liga has netted 25 league goals for the Catalan giants.
Ziganda told the club's official website: "We have to make a defensively perfect match against probably the best team in Europe and the world".
Meanwhile, Real Sociedad sacked coach Eusebio Sacristan on Sunday with the team in 15th place with Imanol Alguacil installed until the end of the season.
Sevilla crashed to a 2-1 league defeat by Leganes just days after pulling off the surprise elimination of Manchester United in the Champions League.
"When Cristiano plays well, the team plays well".
The post Messi On Target As Barca Ease Past Athletic Bilbao appeared first on Complete Sports Nigeria.
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