Lionel Messi scored a goal and set up another to help Barcelona beat Villareal 3-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa dey Rey semifinal.
It was Messi’s 11th goal in Barcelona’s ten game winning streak and his 34th in 32 games this season as Luis Enrique’s team put one foot in the final.
Luis Enrique’s men started brightly, passing the ball around with plenty of intent, but Villarreal’s defence held firm in the early going. Barcelona finally had the breakthrough when Luis Suarez had won the ball and setup Messi to pounce on the square play to give the host the lead.
The visitors started the second half the better team and got their equalizer in the 48th minute of play when substitute Trigueros blistering strike weaved its way past Marc-Andre ter Stegen but Andres Iniesta responded immediately after a nice interplay with Suarez before gerard Pique headed in Messi’s corner kick in the 64th minute to make it 3-1.
Neymar could have extended the lead but failed to convert his sport kick after Villareal’s Mateo Musacchio handled the ball in the area.
Barcelona now have a comfortable advantage heading into the return fixture on March 4th.