Messi double takes Barcelona back on top of La Liga

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MADRID: Lionel Messi scored twice and missed a penalty as Barcelona extended their 100 per cent record in the league four games with a 4-1 win over Levante on Sunday.

The European champions take on Real Madrid, Villarreal and Celta Vigo two points with Atletico Madrid a point adrift in fifth.

Levante club foiled an experimental side stripped of Luis Suarez from the start for 50 minutes before Marc Bartra nerves of the Catalans was installed after a cross from Messi.

The gates open as Neymar then doubled the advantage before Messi scored his first effort from the point.

Victor Casadesus Levante pulled one back 24 minutes from time when he pounced on an error from Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then missed a penalty for the second time this season, but made amends with a stunning individual effort to round out the scoring.

“He is not human because he scored two goals and provided an assist,” Barca boss Luis Enrique joked when asked if Messi struggles from the point proved to be fallible.

“There is very little that makes him seem human.”

Suarez lost Henry lineup for the first time this season while handing young Sandro and Munir El Haddadi a rare start.

However, both failed to impress as Levante remained comfortably Barca at bay during the first period and might even have taken the initiative to clash took Nabil Ghilas kept his composure rather than far from half of fate through the media flames.

In the absence of Suarez and Andres Iniesta, Messi was playing a role in the deepest center field and was his creativity that finally got rid of Levante as controlled Bartra perfect pinpoint cross Argentine Ruben Martinez before slotting past.

Neymar added a second on 56 minutes when he squeezed the ball between the legs of two defenders Levante in line for his second goal of the season.

Messi then confidently sent his first effort from the penalty spot after Neymar had been shot by Angel Trujillo.

Ter Stegen was delivered to his place in the side of the injured Claudio Bravo, but the recent struggles of the Germans continued while stirring in a corner of Levante gift Casadesus one goal back.

Normal service resumed when Messi seemed to be overturned by Zou Feddal, but this time the ball over the bar opened to take account of career Barca lost 15 of the 65 penalties he has taken.

However, from open play Messi remains the world’s most dangerous player and he shrugged drip to miss two defenders before breaking Levante in fourth night club than a minute remaining.

Earlier, dreadful start Europa League holders Sevilla for La Liga season continues as Celta Vigo got into fourth with a 2-1 win at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Villarreal moved to third with a convincing 3-1 win over Athletic Bilbao depleted.

And Sporting Gijon won his first victory since returning to the top flight with a 3-2 win in a thrilling encounter away at Deportivo La Coruna.

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