Barcelona, March 5 (IANS) FC Barcelona thrashed Celta Vigo 5-0 to regain top spot of the La Liga football championship from Real Madrid, who won 4-1 over Eibar, although the capital club has played a match less than the Catalans.
Barcelona on Saturday came on strong in the first half, perhaps their best in months, when the impenetrable centre field of their 3-4-3 formation stymied Celta's attacks, reports Efe.
But in the 19th minute, Celta had the chance to take the lead when Samuel Umtiti made a clumsy defensive move and set up a shot for Facundo Roncaglio, which turned out to be a near miss. For the Galicians, that was all they created.
Lionel Messi in the 25th minute got the ball rolling for Barcelona, forgetting teamwork and with an individual maneuver got past Sergi Gomez, and with a straight-on shot, slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Then in the 42nd minute, Messi took a pass from Rakitic before making a lethal diagonal shot into the area that Neymar netted with a deft chip shot, boosing the score to 2-0.
The killer goal for Celta came when the save off another Messi shot fell at the feet of Rakitic, who made it 3-0.
With the match now out of control for Celta and full speed ahead for Barcelona, Messi controlled the ball in the rival box and centred it to where Umtiti registered his maiden goal for Barcelona.
Messi was at it again in the 65th minute as he scored the final goal of the game.
The win took Barcelona's points tally to 60, one more than Real Madrid. Forward Karim Benzema scored twice to lead his side to a 4-1 rout of Eibar away.
Real Madrid scored three goals in the first half hour at Ipurua Stadium in the northern Spanish city of Eibar even without the services of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Welshman Gareth Bale.
Benzema opened the scoring just shy of the 14-minute mark before notching the second goal just 11 minutes later.
The French star striker also assisted on Colombian James Rodriguez's goal in the 29th minute that stretched the Blancos' advantage to 3-0.
Real Madrid attacking midfielder Marco Asensio scored the fourth goal in the 60th minute, while Spanish right-winger Ruben Peña clawed one back for Eibar 12 minutes later.