Lionel Messi scores double against Real Sociedad

Lionel Messi scored twice as below-par Barcelona laboured to a win over Real Sociedad to keep their La Liga title hopes alive.

Barca then restored their two-goal lead two minutes later as Messi turned provider to play in Paco Alcacer, who slotted home from close.

The visitors refused to give up, though, and they pulled one back shortly before the break when Umtiti was unfortunate to divert Inigo Martinez's cross past his own goalkeeper.

Messi wasn't done, as he would double Barcelona's lead 20 minutes later, though this one was of the less spectacular variety.

Rulli saved Suarez's angled shot at the near post, with the rebound falling into Messi's path - and the ball hooked off his trailing leg into an empty net.

However Barcelona scored nearly immediately, as Paco Alcacer restored their two-goal advantage when Paco Alcacer netted just his fourth goal of the season, with a well-taken left footed strike into the bottom corner.

Jose clipped an angled pass across to Prieto who had ghosted into the right side of the penalty area and dispatched a cool sidefoot finish into the bottom corner.

Catalan giants Barcelona are preparing for a huge summer of business as they try to address this season's inconsistent form, according to reports in Spain.

Luis Enrique opted for a change on 70 minutes as Andre Gomes made way for Andres Iniesta.

In stoppage time, Rulli denied Suarez in a one-on-one as Barcelona put themselves back into a winning mindset ahead of next week's key matches.

  • Stacy Allen