Morocco's Nabil El Zhar Scores in Leganes Defeat to Barcelona

Barcelona team predicted line up Leganes

Messi struck twice in quick succession during the first half to put Barca in charge at the Nou Camp and he completed the 45th treble of his career late on after Nabil El Zhar had pulled a goal back for Leganes.

Ernesto Valverde's charges continued to dominate in the second half although they did not have much joy in the final third as Leganes were intent on shutting shop at the back.

Messi clearly proved his fitness to Valverde and then went on to show he is still in peak form. He secured the three points after 87 minutes, controlling a pass from Dembele and dinking it past the goalkeeper.

He always seemed to have that X-factor about him but Ousmane Dembele has taken some time to groom himself into the Barcelona philosophy.

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Barcelona kept their quest for becoming the La Liga king this season and are doing so in an invincibility manner having not lost any game this season. He will now hope to play a part in the club's second Champions League semi final second leg against Roma, with La Blaugrana 4-1 up from the first meeting. Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic has also gained greater influence in the team under the new coach, playing more league minutes than every outfield player except Messi.

Barca have now gone 38 top-flight matches without defeat, levelling the previous best mark by Real Sociedad which has stood since 1980.

Claudio Beauvue twice threatened with headers and El Zhar was narrowly wide with his headed effort following Darko Brasanac's cross.

Leganes nearly threw a spanner in the works early in the second half when El Zhar's cross from the right met by Claudio Beauvue's powerful header, which only just cleared Marc-Andre ter Stegen's crossbar. They host Celta Vigo in their next encounter on April 14.

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