Lionel Messi netted once each on either side of a Philippe Coutinho strike to fire Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Alaves on Saturday at Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde’s men dominated the proceedings as expected, but were frustrated by the visitors’ disciplined rearguard and as a result, had to wait till the 64th minute to break the deadlock. Messi, after having struck the woodwork in the first period, opened the scoring with a cheeky free-kick under the defensive wall.

Substitute Philippe Coutinho made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute with a trademark finish cutting in from the left-side, before Messi added the third, deep into stoppage time to add more gloss to the scoreline.

In the process, Messi achieved a unique feat, as he scored Barcelona’s 6,000th La Liga goal. The little magician had also scored the Catalans’ 5,000th Liga goal nine-and-a-half years ago. As expected, fans took to celebrating the genius of the Argentine forward;

Coutinho, left out of the starting line-up by Valverde, managed to make a great impact coming on in the second half. His goal killed off the game and ensured Barcelona’s title defence was off to a winning start.

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