Barcelona: Holders Barcelona advanced to the European Champions League knockout round for the 12th consecutive season as Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi scored his first two goals after a two-month injury layoff and Luis Suarez netted a brace in a 6-1 rout of Roma.
Suarez on Tuesday got Barcelona rolling at the Camp Nou Stadium in the 15th minute. Three minutes later Messi scored his first goal in his second appearance since returning to the game from a left-knee injury, reports Xinhua.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez during the game. Pic/ AFP
Messi netted the hosts' fifth after Suarez and Gerard Pique scored. Adriano capped the demolition before Edin Dzeko got Roma's consolation.
Messi showed no rust from his time on the sideline recovering from a ligament he tore on September 26. But the Barcelona's all-time leading scorer said despite his strong return, he has yet to recover his peak form.
"It's tough to get back up to full speed," said Messi." I prepared well and trained but it's not the same as going out on the pitch and lasting 90 minutes. I will take it with calm and get my pace back."
Barcelona had already qualified for the next phase before kickoff after Bayer Leverkusen were held 1-1 against BATE Borisov, but the victory moved the defending champions onto 13 points and the top spot in Group E with a game to spare.
"When you see the players enjoy themselves in every phase of the game you have to be satisfied. They enjoy themselves on the training ground and when they are playing and that is great," Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique said.