Abuja – FC Barcelona rode further away from their crumbling title rivals on Sunday as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored twice each in a 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis.
The emphatic win opened up an 11-point gap at the top of the La Liga standings.
A strike from Ivan Rakitic broke the home side’s resistance in the 58th minute.
Top goalscorer Messi and the in-form Suarez took turns in adding to the scoring to cap a sixth successive league win for Ernesto Valverde’s imperious team.
Barca, the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues, lead the way with 54 points.
This was after capitalising on second-placed Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Girona on Saturday and third-placed Valencia’s 2-1 defeat at Las Palmas.
Betis went into the game having scored eight goals in their last two league matches but had few opportunities against Barca.
The league leaders turned on the style in the second half as they have done so often in this dominant campaign.
It took a clever rolled pass from Suarez to release Rakitic for the opening goal, which the Croatian dispatched confidently.
Messi then took full advantage of a slack Betis offside trap to slot the second.
The Argentine’s second strike moved him on to 19 league goals while Suarez’s brace took him to 15, 10 of them coming in his last seven La Liga games.(Reuters/NAN)