Barcelona 6-1 Roma: Messi nets two on return to starting XI

Luis Enrique's side demolished their Italian opponents at Camp Nou to continue their fine run of form, with Luis Suarez scoring twice and Gerard Pique and Adriano chipping in.

Lionel Messi scored twice on his return to the Barcelona starting XI as the European champions cruised to a crushing 6-1 victory over Roma and secured top spot in Group E.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring after 15 minutes of the match at Camp Nou on Tuesday and Messi struck three minutes later to put the hosts in complete control.

The game was over as a contest just before half-time when Suarez scored a stunning volley, before Messi, Gerard Pique and Adriano added gloss to the scoreline in the second half.

BATE Borisov's draw with Bayer Leverkusen earlier in the day meant Barca were already sure of a place in the last 16, but their victory means they have wrapped up top spot ahead of their final game against the Bundesliga side.

Despite only having five points from as many games after a harrowing 90 minutes which also saw Edin Dzeko miss a late penalty before then netting a consolation, Roma are still in pole position to qualify in second place.

The Italians now have to better Leverkusen's result against Barca when they play BATE to reach the knockout stage.

After making his return from two months out injured as a substitute in El Clasico, Messi started as captain, with Andres Iniesta on the bench, and could have had a hat-trick within the first 10 minutes.

The Argentina star saw one shot saved by Wojciech Szczesny, had another effort ruled out for offside and then shot just wide after latching on to a brilliant through ball from Sergio Busquets.

Roma had a great chance of their own to take the lead when Dzeko looped a header over a stranded Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the striker saw his attempt drift just over the crossbar.

Barca went in front when Dani Alves surged down the right to latch on to Neymar's excellent pass and squared for Suarez, who tucked the ball into an empty net at the far post.

It was two for Barca just three minutes later. Messi exchanged two passes with Neymar, Suarez's chip sent the skipper through and he dinked the ball over Szczesny to cap a wonderful move involving the front three.

Barca dominated possession for the rest of the first half and when Neymar's cross was headed out by Seydou Keita, Suarez unleashed a lethal volley into the far corner which had Thomas Vermaelen applauding.

The home side made a fast start after the break, with Szczesny getting up to push Neymar's effort away from the top corner.

Ter Stegen impressively saved a low effort from Iago Falque in a rare Roma foray forward and soon enough Barca had scored two more in quick succession.

On 56 minutes, Neymar and Suarez combined to feed Messi and he squared for Pique – who was still up from a corner – to tap home before the defender was substituted.

The fifth came three minutes later. Neymar found Suarez from the left and the Uruguayan's shot was helped towards goal by Messi. Szczesny did well to save, but the returning star converted the rebound.

A twisting run from Neymar resulted in him curling a shot just off-target as he was denied what would have been a deserved goal, while Maicon was fortunate not to concede a penalty after clipping Suarez as he drove towards goal.

Neymar only had himself to blame for not scoring on 77 minutes after winning a penalty himself but seeing his poorly struck spot-kick saved by Szczesny. Luckily, Adriano was on hand to slam the rebound into the roof of the net.

Ter Stegen then matched Szczesny by denying Dzeko from 12 yards after he had been fouled in the box by Vermaelen, but the striker finally broke his resistance by heading in Lucas Digne's cross late on.

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