Messi's double takes Barcelona back to the top

Striker scores a penalty and misses another but Barcelona maintain perfect start to La Liga.

    Messi's double takes Barcelona back to the top
    Messi and Neymar helped Barcelona go two points clear at the top [Reuters]

    Lionel Messi scored one penalty and missed another as his double helped Barcelona sweep Levante aside in the second half in a 4-1 victory to maintain their perfect La Liga start.

    Defender Marc Bartra showed composure to open the scoring by converting a Messi cross after 50 minutes with Barca having been frustrated in the first half by a well organised Levante side.

    With the game having opened up, Neymar finished clinically after 55 minutes and won a penalty on the hour which was converted by Messi.

    La Liga top-scorers
    5 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)   
    4 Nolito (Celta Vigo)               
    3 Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club)      
       Lionel Messi (Barcelona)          
       Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)       
       Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal)  

    At the other end, Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen flapped at a cross that allowed Victor Casadesus to slot the ball home after 65 minutes.

    Messi blazed a second penalty over the bar after he himself was fouled but the Argentine did score again with a drive from the edge of the area a minute from time.

    Last season's treble winners lead the standings with 12 points ahead of three teams, including arch rivals Real Madrid, on 10, having won all of their four games so far.

    Results:

    Deportivo Coruna 2-3 Sporting Gijon

    Barcelona 4-1 Levante 

    Las Palmas 0-1 Rayo Vallecano 

    Sevilla 1-2 Celta Vigo

    Villarreal 3-1 Athletic Club

    SOURCE: Reuters


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