2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Arda Turan (6')
  • Lionel Messi (37', 57')
  • Luis Suárez (42', 56', 82')
  • Rubén Castro (21', 84')

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sparkle as Barcelona score six

Luis Suarez was on target with a hat trick as Barcelona began their LaLiga title defence with a convincing 6-2 defeat of Real Betis.

Their pursuit of a third successive Spanish championship began in typically one-sided fashion. A goal from Arda Turan, two from Lionel Messi and Suarez's treble secured all three points from their opening league fixture of the 2016-17 season.

Manager Luis Enrique handed starts to summer signings Samuel Umtiti and Denis Suarez. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo also retained his place amid reports of a potential transfer to Manchester City, while a further summer recruit Lucas Digne was among the substitutes.

The in-form Turan's opening goal came in only the sixth minute. Messi found Jordi Alba with a diagonal pass to the back post, and the full-back played a cut-back to set Turan up for a routine, close-range finish.

It represented a third goal for Turan in three appearances, having managed just two in his previous 27 for the club.

Betis' initial response was positive. They won a free kick after a period of pressure, which Ruben Castro impressively curled into the top corner beyond Bravo's reach.

Barca again threatened almost instantly. First Suarez was brought down in the area when his appeals for a penalty were dismissed, and then Messi struck the crossbar from 25 yards.

The Argentinian then restored Barca's lead in the 37th minute with his sixth goal from his past seven competitive fixtures for club or country. Gifted too much space from the edge of the area, he comfortably finished into the bottom corner.

Suarez doubled Barca's deficit five minutes later. After receiving possession from Sergi Roberto, he produced an instinctive 15-yard finish beyond Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan and his 15th goal from his past six Barca appearances.

The hosts' assault continued straight after half-time. Turan had had a goal disallowed in the 56th minute when Messi played in Suarez for a close-range tap-in.

Messi added his second a minute later with a finish similar to his first. Again amid a lack of pressure from the Betis defence, from just inside the area he shot into the bottom corner.

Suarez was presented with the chance to score his hat trick in the 82nd minute after being fouled by Betis summer signing Antonio Sanabria from 20 yards out. From the resultant free kick, he classily curled around the Betis wall and into the top corner.

Castro added a further goal for Betis in the 84th minute, powerfully shooting beyond Bravo with another fine finish, but it was little more than a consolation for his well-beaten team.

The one-sided nature should ensure Barca follow their recent Spanish Super Cup victory over Sevilla by finishing the opening weekend of the season in first place.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Barcelona 19 +43 51
2 Atletico Madrid 19 +20 42
3 Valencia 19 +21 40
4 Real Madrid 18 +15 32
5 Villarreal 19 +5 31
6 Sevilla FC 19 -5 29
7 Real Betis 19 -3 27
8 Eibar 19 -7 27
9 Getafe 19 +5 26
10 Girona 19 0 26
11 Celta Vigo 19 +6 25
12 Athletic Bilbao 19 +1 25
13 Leganes 18 -2 24
14 Espanyol 19 -6 24
15 Real Sociedad 19 -1 23
16 Levante 19 -11 18
17 Alavés 19 -13 18
18 Deportivo La Coruña 19 -16 16
19 Málaga 19 -20 11
20 Las Palmas 19 -32 11

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