Barcelona kicked off their Liga title defence in stunning fashion as Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick and Lionel Messi bagged two in a 6-2 win over Real Betis.
The impressive Arda Turan, who scored two goals in the Super Cup triumph one week ago, broke the deadlock after just six minutes. However, the visitors grabbed an unlikely equaliser just 15 minutes later courtesy of an unstoppable Ruben Castro free-kick.
Normal service was resumed shortly after though as the league champions scored twice within five minutes to take a two-goal advantage into the half-time break. First Messi scored a trademark goal from 20 yards and Suarez further extended the lead with an angled finish from just outside the penalty area.
Luis Enrique’s side continued to play at a high intensity and were rewarded with a fourth goal on 55 minutes when Suarez scored his second of the evening with a simple tap-in after a vintage team move. The fifth goal of the game came just a minute later when Messi struck once again with a shot from just inside the penalty area.
Suarez completed his treble in spectacular fashion as his free-kick from around 20 yards curled into the top corner on 82 minutes. Betis’ reaction was immediate as Castro breached Claudio Bravo’s goal two minutes later with another impressive goal to complete the scoring on an exciting evening at Camp Nou.
Luis Suarez has now scored 17 goals in just six games for Barcelona. Stop for a moment and let that sink in. If the former Liverpool man can somehow maintain that kind of form over the season then records will tumble.
Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Sergi Roberto celebrate a goal against Real Betis
Image credit: Reuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Luis Suarez (Barcelona): It’s almost impossible to cope with the Uruguayan forward in this form. How many will he score this season? He grabbed 40 last term and only a fool would bet against him breaking that record come May.
Betis: Adan 5; Bruno 4, Mandi 4, Pezzella 4, Durmisi 4; Jonas 4, Petros 4, Felipe 4; Cejudo 4, Castro 7, Sanabria 4. Subs: Musonda 5, Ceballos 4, Pena 4.
6’ - GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Real Betis: It's taken just six minutes for the league champions to take the lead! Arda Turan continues his rich vein of form with a well-taken goal. Messi plays a diagonal pass to Alba at the back post, it's cut back to Turan who applies the finish.
21’ - GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Betis: Castro's sensational free-kick levels the scores! from 20 yards! He steps up and hammers it into the top corner, leaving Bravo with no chance!
37’ - GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Real Betis: The hosts are back in front and guess who scores? Of course it's Messi. The Argentine wizard is given far too much room and he punishes Betis' carelessness with a trademark goal from distance!
42’ - GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Real Betis: Suarez further extends the home side's lead with a great strike. He's picked out by Roberto from 15 yards out and his angled, instinctive shot is beyond the reach of Adan.
56’ - GOAL! Barcelona 4-1 Betis: Suarez grabs his second of the match to further extend the lead for the hosts. He completes a vintage Barca goal and is left with a simple tap in after being played through by his partner in crime, Messi.
57’ - GOAL! Barcelona 5-1 Betis: Provider Messi turns goalscorer! He is given too much space, the Betis players back off and allows the forward to pick his spot, delivering the ball into the bottom corner just inside the penalty area.
82' GOAL! Barcelona 6-1 Real Betis: Simply unstoppable! Suarez curls the ball around the wall and into the top corner for his hat-trick. He celebrates with Messi before telling him, 'See what I can do when you allow me to take the free-kick?'
84’ - GOAL! Barcelona 6-2 Real Betis: The visitors have one back and it's Castro once again. It's another well-taken goal, the Betis forward smashes a first-time effort past Bravo and high into the net.
Barcelona's Turkish midfielder Arda Turan (L) celebrates with teammates
Image credit: AFP
Arda Turan has scored more goals in his last two Barcelona games (3) than he did in his previous 27 (2, all competitions).
Ruben Castro is the 1st player to score a direct free-kick goal vs Barcelona at the Camp Nou in La Liga since Duda in 2011.
Lionel Messi has now scored seven goals in his last seven competitive games for club and country.
Lionel Messi has scored at least two more goals from outside the box than any other player in the last four La Liga seasons
Luis Suarez has now scored 17 goals in just six games for Barcelona.
Luis Suarez has scored more hat-tricks than any other player in Europe's top five leagues since last season.