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Barca cut gap to Atletico

Barca cut gap to Atletico

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona overcame an uninspiring first half to beat struggling Elche 3-0 at home in La Liga on Wednesday and keep the leaders Atletico Madrid in their sights.

Lionel Messi soared past Luis Suarez to become La Liga's top scorer on Wednesday (Feb 24) by adding his 17th and 18th goals of the season in a much-needed 3-0 victory for F.C. Barcelona over Elche. 

Barca had followed up last week's crushing Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain by drawing at home to Cadiz on Sunday but eased the strain with a comfortable win at the Camp Nou. 

Messi's double owed much to a pair of superb assists, with a supreme dribble by Frenkie de Jong coming after a sublime flick from Martin Braithwaite, who also set up Jordi Alba to score a third. 

After failing to take full advantage of league leaders Atletico Madrid's defeat by Levante on Saturday, this victory puts Barcelona back in third, five points off the top, having played a game more than Atletico.