MADRID: Atletico Madrid jumped to the top of La Liga after thrashing Cadiz 4-0, while Lionel Messi entered the second half to save Barcelona against Real Betis.
Atletico overtook Real Sociedad on goal difference, with Joao Felix blasting twice for Diego Simeone’s squad.
Luis Suarez and Marcos Llorente also found a target for Atletico who are currently recording five wins and two draws from the first seven games of La Liga this season.
They scored 17 goals and only conceded twice in the league this season.
After the international break, Atletico will host Barcelona, where Suarez and Antoine Griezmann will face their old club.
Suarez started brilliantly for Atletico with five goals scored so far, while Griezmann continued to struggle under Messi’s shadow at the Camp Nou.
Messi was rested by Ronald Koeman but had to be included after Griezmann missed a penalty, before Betsy Antonio Sanabria offset Ousmane Dembele’s opening goal.
Four minutes after being put in, Messi opened the door for Griezmann to score a goal and blasted twice for himself including a penalty kick after the ball hit Aissa Mandi’s hand.
Loren Moron closed the gap for Betis but Messi’s second goal as well as a late shot from Pedri allowed Barcelona to end a four-game drought without a win.
“Leo ended the match against Kiev with little trouble. He was not fully fit to start the game.
“He did not mind starting on the bench and said he would come in if there was no problem.
“He’s a player who always wants to play, but today he doesn’t play full because of small problems,” Koeman said.