Barcelona 3-0 Eibar: Hosts maintain La Liga lead as Lionel Messi makes history
Lionel Messi became the first player to score 400 La Liga goals
Last Updated: 13/01/19 8:30pm
Luis Suarez scored twice and Lionel Messi added another to give Barcelona a 3-0 win over Eibar and stay five points ahead of Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Messi scored his 400th league goal in his 435th appearance - the first player to reach the milestone - with Cristiano Ronaldo the only other to have scored more than 300 goals in the Spanish top flight.
Barca were not at their best but proved too strong for Eibar who, despite being well organised, struggled to create openings. Philippe Coutinho, recalled by Barca in place of Ousmane Dembele following recent speculation over his future, impressed on his return to the side.
Eibar contained the hosts in the early stages but Gerard Pique went close to giving Barca the lead when he headed narrowly wide from a Messi free-kick after nine minutes.
Barca were otherwise finding chances hard to come by, but they pieced together a move of quality to open the scoring after 18 minutes.
Coutinho was at the heart of a slick raid, playing a one-two with Suarez and then sliding the Uruguayan in on goal with a defence-splitting pass. Suarez needed a couple of touches to get the ball out from under his feet but he quickly adjusted to shoot beyond the advancing Asier Riesgo.
Eibar initially responded well to the setback and almost equalised as Sergi Enrich got on the end of a Ruben Pena cross but his header just missed the target.
Eibar left-back Marc Cucurella, who is on loan from Barca, also troubled his parent club with some powerful runs which impressed the home crowd.
Barca almost doubled the lead when Sergi Roberto headed wide and Coutinho was denied a penalty following a Pena challenge, but it was not until after the break that they turned on the style.
Messi's milestone strike came moments after he appeared to be struggling. The Argentinian seemed to be holding the top of his leg early in the second half but he soon shrugged off any problem as he struck after 53 minutes.
Suarez and Coutinho were again involved as the defence was opened up before Messi finished with a powerful left-foot drive.
Barca moved through the gears and it was clear a third goal was coming as Riesgo saved in quick succession from a Suarez header, and shots from Coutinho and Messi.
The threatened goal duly came just before the hour as Suarez raced onto a quick ball from Roberto and flicked past Riesgo with the outside of the boot.
Riesgo denied Messi another soon afterwards and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen saved from Pablo De Blasis as Eibar fought on but the result was beyond doubt.