Football: Messi hits double in Barcelona's 6-1 rout of Roma

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Uefa Champions League Group E football match between Roma.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Uefa Champions League Group E football match between Roma. PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Luis Suarez hit a brace and set up a double for Lionel Messi in his first start after injury as Barcelona crushed AS Roma 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The win ensured Barca go through to the last 16 in first place in Group E with 13 points from five games, eight ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and Roma with BATE Borisov on four.

Barcelona are in the last 16 for the 12th consecutive season following another blistering attacking display that comes hot on the back of their 4-0 destruction of Real Madrid in La Liga last Saturday.

Gerard Pique and Adriano also scored for Barcelona with Roma striker Edin Dzeko, who had a penalty saved, netting a consolation goal in stoppage time. “Each player goes out to try and do what is asked of him. We played a perfect game,” Suarez told reporters. “Leo, Neymar and myself are team players and we look to help the team. Messi is the best in the world and I am very happy for him to have scored and played the full match.” Suarez walked the ball home following a slick team move after 15 minutes and then just three minutes later Barca cut through the Roma defence again.

Following a breathtaking 27 passes, Suarez found Messi who lifted the ball over keeper Wojciech Szczesny from the left of the area.

Suarez cracked a fine volley from the edge of the area a minute before halftime and after the restart Messi squared for Pique to slot the ball home.

Messi completed his double having been found by Suarez and while Szczesny blocked his first shot he bundled in the rebound after 60 minutes.

Szczesny saved a Neymar penalty after he was fouled by Salih Ucan but Adriano fired in the loose ball after 77 minutes.

A Dzeko penalty was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen after he was fouled by Thomas Vermaelen before the Bosnian striker finally found the net in the dying seconds. 

Messi, starting his first match since a knee ligament injury at the end of September, showed his appetite with a drive that was clawed away by Szczesny and a shot narrowly wide having been put through Sergio Busquets inside nine minutes.

Roma were missing the pace of Gervinho and Mohamed Salah going forward but Dzeko missed an excellent chance when he headed over from a corner before Barca made the breakthrough.