BARCELONA (SPAIN), Aug 30 (AP): Lionel Messi and Thiago Alcantara led Barcelona to a dominating 5-0 win over Villarreal on Monday to open the defending champion�s campaign for a fourth straight Spanish league title.
Despite a makeshift defense and coming off a European Super Cup victory just three days before, Barcelona responded to Real Madrid�s 6-0 rout of Zaragoza over the weekend with another display of its own beautiful game.
Thiago and Cesc Fabregas struck before halftime, Alexis Sanchez extended the lead and Messi capped the victory at Camp Nou stadium with a pair of late goals.
Barcelona has now gone undefeated in all competitions at home since last season�s home opener.
�We are very happy considering where we came from,� said coach Pep Guardiola, who has already added two pieces of silverware to Barcelona�s trophy case this summer. �This team has demonstrated that it always wants more. The win of the Spanish Supercup gave us an extra push to win more.�
With starters Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Adriano and Maxwell all out with injury, and Dani Alves serving a suspension from last season, Guardiola experimented with a three-man defensive line with Eric Abidal alongside reconverted midfielders Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets.
Even with the new system and Spanish internationals Xavi Hernandez and David Villa on the bench, Guardiola�s team continued to mesmerize with its possession-based attack.
Thiago broke through in the 25th when the 20-year-old Spain midfielder received the ball outside the area and coolly slid forward before picking his spot and slotting the ball through a pack of defenders into the right side of the net.
Reminiscent of Barcelona�s second goal in the European Super Cup on Friday, Messi and Fabregas continued to show the connection they developed as teenage teammates as the Argentine star left Fabregas with only goalkeeper Diego Lopez to round and tap home on the halftime whistle.