Barcelona crush Real Betis in La Liga opener


Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick and Lionel Messi added two more goals as Barcelona made a superb start to their Spanish league title defence by routing Real Betis 6-2 on Saturday.

Suarez and Messi netted 66 league goals between them last term and began the new campaign as they meant to go on, leading from the front and causing havoc as the Betis defence struggled to cope.

Barca’s star duo were without Neymar due to his involvement in the Olympics, but Arda Turan continued his renaissance in the Brazilian’s absence by opening the scoring – his third goal in two games after a brace against Sevilla in the Supercopa de Espana on Wednesday.

Suarez, who led scoring in La Liga with 40 goals last season, helped to put the result beyond doubt before halftime and struck twice afterward to complete the demolition.

Even better for the Catalan club, Messi destroyed any hopes of title rivals that a difficult summer could have affected his game.

Messi was found guilty in June of tax fraud in Spain — he is appealing — and lost another Copa America final with Argentina. But he was his normal brilliant self at Camp Nou.