Barcelona were back to full strength for the second leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie against Celta Vigo after drawing 1-1 a week ago and Lionel Messi demonstrated the difference in levels with a dazzling display in Barça’s 5-0 victory on Thursday.
Within 15 minutes Lionel Messi had scored twice to seize advantage in the tie and just as it has so often this season it was the combination with full-back Jordi Alba that proved so devastating.
Alba’s left wing cross was swept in from the edge of the box by Messi after 13 minutes and almost immediately after the pair exchanged passes again for the Argentinian to double the lead.
Messi then returned the favour before the half hour mark with a defence splitting pass from deep that few players would have had the vision to see let alone pull off, allowing Alba to make it three.
Luis Suárez punished some poor defending to give Barcelona a four-goal lead at the break before Ivan Rakitic headed in a late fifth.
Jorge Sampaoli, currently in Europe to speak with several Argentina players, will have been watching and longing for a full-back like Alba, who has now assisted Messi seven times this season.
Elsewhere in the Copa del Rey, Sevilla booked their place in the quarter finals with victory over Cadiz. It was a far from convincing victory for Vincenzo Montella’s side but helped by the contribution of Joaquín Correa, Sevilla progressed.
Correa’s blocked shot allowed Wissam Ben Yedder to open the scoring on the rebound in the first half and shortly after half time, an excellent header by the young Argentinian doubled the lead.
Cadiz pulled a goal back late on but couldn’t prevent the 4-1 aggregate defeat.