Lionel Messi scored twice as ten-man FC Barcelona sealed a 3-0 home win over Elche in their first La Liga match under coach Louis Enrique. Flats
As expected, the hosts were without their injured Brazil superstar Neymar and the banned Luis Suarez, presenting an opportunity for 18-year-old Munir El Haddadi to make his mark at the Camp Nou.
Messi’s masterclass shined in three minutes to the break, turning outside Elche box to blaze a shot into the bottom corner of goal after marauding the defenders.
His Argentina compatriot Javier Mascherano got his marching order a couple of minutes later, after hacking down the visitors’ striker Garry Rodrigues as he races through on goal.
Teenager Munir latched on to a lofted pass by summer signing Ivan Rakitic and cleverly flicked it over goalkeeper Tyton.
Few minutes after one hour, Messi evaded four Elche defenders to round off scoring, lashing across Tyton into the bottom corner.
Elsewhere, Celta Vigo eased to a 3-1 win over Getafe at Balaidos.
Winger Nolito opened scoring in the 20th minute, before Fabian Orellana added the second after the break.
Jogge Sammir pulled one back to give the hosts something to shout about, but Joaquin Larrivey wrapped up a stylish win in the 70th minute after neat link-up play with Nolito.
Little-known Elber got off to a dream La Liga start after earning successive promotions from the third division to the top-flight.
Javi Lara scored the only goal of the home win over Real Sociedad on the stroke of half-tme, when the midfielder’s brilliant free-kick from an acute angle crashed into the net.
Later on Sunday, second-half strikes by Nigeria international Ikechukwu Uche and Denis Cheryshev helped Villarreal secure an opening day 2-0 win at Levante.