BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Barcelona snapped a four-match winless run in La Liga with a 4-2 victory at home to title rivals Sevilla on Saturday (Oct 20) to reclaim top spot although the triumph was marred by talisman Lionel Messi being forced off with an injured arm.
Record signing Philippe Coutinho put Barca ahead by curling a first-time shot into the top corner in the second minute and Messi doubled the lead 10 minutes later with a thumping strike into the far corner.
The Argentine was soon forced off with his right arm in a bandage following a challenge from Franco Vazquez, sparking fitness concerns a week ahead of the "Clasico" against Real Madrid next Sunday.
Luis Suarez further stretched Barca's lead by converting a penalty in the 63rd minute while Pablo Sarabia pulled a goal back for the visitors, only for former Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic to score Barca's fourth. Sevilla substitute Luis Muriel made it 4-2 in stoppage time.
Barca lead the standings with 18 points, one clear of Alaves, who won 1-0 at Celta Vigo on Friday, and two ahead of third-placed Sevilla. The Catalans are four points ahead of stuttering Real, whose problems deepened with a 2-1 defeat at home to Levante.