It had been a long break, but there were no signs of rustiness in Barcelona, who bagged a commendable victory against the weak Mallorca. Such a victory was evident and it was expected, the Catalans would boost their confidence by toying with the opponents. The match ended according to the script.

Barca’s away form has been a problem this term and they arrived at Son Moix having won just one of their previous five La Liga games on their travels, conceding 10 times across those games.

But no mess this time around.

It took just 65 seconds for Barcelona to open the scoring.

Frenkie de Jong robbed Real Madrid loanee, Takefusa Kubo, in midfield and the ball was delivered into the box by Alba, with Vidal running onto the cross and directing his header into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Barca threatened to put the game to bed early on as Braithwaite and Messi both came closer.

Before the interval, Braithwaite clinically dispatching the ball home after a scrappy build-up that included headed flick-ons from De Jong and Messi.

Quique Setien brought on Suarez – out since January because of a knee injury – and that seemed to galvanize Messi, who set up Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo for efforts that were stopped by Manolo Reina and the post respectively.

Then cleverly flicked the ball over the top for Alba, who just managed to stay onside and finish at the near post.

Finally, it was time for Messi to join the party – he kept his balance in the box before working space and firing right-footed high into the net. It was his seventh straight goal against Mallorca.

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It was a Messi without beard and took his assist tally to 14 of the season while 20 La Liga goals for 2019-20. He is the only player to score 20 or more goals in Spain’s top flight in 12 consecutive seasons.

Then the inclusion of center-back Araujo added the much-needed bit at the back as Barcelona recorded their first away clean sheet of 2020 and extend their lead at the top.