Alaves 0-2 Barcelona: Lionel Messi at the double for Barcelona in win over Alaves
Last Updated: 27/08/17 11:48am
Lionel Messi missed a penalty and then scored twice as Barcelona overcame a resilient Alaves side to win 2-0 at Estadio Mendizorroza to maintain their 100 per cent start to the La Liga season.
Barcelona's talisman was handed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock just before half-time but saw his spot-kick palmed away by Pacheco after Rodrigo Ely was adjudged to have pulled Gerard Pique to the floor.
However, Messi - whose double saw him pass the milestone of 350 La Liga goals - made amends just 10 minutes after the interval by latching onto Jordi Alba's pull-back (55), before adding his second (66)with a well-taken volley after Alexis' mistake.
The result means that Barcelona have won both of their opening matches of the season by a 2-0 scoreline and they have put some pressure on title rivals Real Madrid who host Valencia at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
Title: Player ratingsAlaves: Pacheco (7), Vigaray (6), Alexis (4), Ely (5), Pedraza (6), Garcia (6), Pina (5), Romero (6), Wakaso (5), Gomez (6), Sobrino (6)
Subs: Burgui (6), Santos (6)
Barcelona: Ter-Stegen (7), Roberto (6), Pique (6), Umtiti (7), Alba (6), Busquets (6), Rakitic (6), Iniesta (6), Vidal (5), Deulofeu (5), Messi (8)
Subs: Alcacer (6), D. Suarez (7), Paulinho (N/A)
Man of the match: Lionel Messi
Barcelona dominated proceedings in the opening half hour but it was the hosts who had the first meaningful chance of the game as Ruben Sobrino breezed past Gerard Pique and found himself one-on-one with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only to see his effort saved by the goalkeeper.
Shortly afterwards, Barcelona were awarded a penalty after Ely appeared to haul down Pique, who was making his 400th appearance for the club. Messi stepped up to take it and while his effort was well struck it was at a comfortable height for Pacheco to save down to his right.
After a below-par first half performance, Barcelona started the second brightly and took the lead on 55 minutes as Messi found himself in space before shooting low and hard towards goal with the ball looping over Pacheco courtesy of a deflection off Alexis. It was a landmark strike too, marking the Argentine's 350th goal in Barcelona's colours.
Ousmane Dembele is set to undergo a medical on Monday so was not involved tonight. Barcelone were also without Luis Suarez meaning Lionel Messi lead the line with Aleix Vidal starting on the right wing.
Then with 66 minutes on the clock, Messi made sure of the points for his side as he volleyed the ball clinically past Pacheco into the corner of the net after Alexis' lazy attempted pass had rebounded into his path off the substitute Paco Alcacer.
Messi almost capped an eventful day with a hat-trick but saw a wonderful curling attempt from the edge of the area bounce off the woodwork with Pacheco rooted to the spot and there was even time for former Spurs midfielder Paulinho to make a debut cameo as a late substitute.
Following a tumultuous summer, everything seems to be falling into place for Ernesto Valverde with Barcelona taking six points from their opening two La Liga matches and completing the club record £97m signing of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund on Friday
Man of the match - Lionel Messi
Who else could it be but Lionel Messi? Initially it didn't look like it was going to be his day as he was isolated in a False false nine and missed a penalty in the first half. However, he was a cut above the rest in the second period, scoring both goals and hitting the woodwork.
Next up for Barcelona is a derby encounter against Espanyol at the Camp Nou on September 9 before they turn their attentions to the Champions League and a huge encounter with Juventus in the same stadium three days later.