Two for Messi in empty Camp Nou

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October 02, 2017
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (second left), takes on three defenders during a Spanish La Liga match between Real Madrid and Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. (AP Photo)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP):

Lionel Messi scored two second-half goals as Barcelona defeated Las Palmas 3-0 for its seventh straight Spanish league victory in a game played behind closed doors amid the disputed referendum over Catalonia's independence yesterday.

Sergio Busquets opened the scoring with a header early in the second half. Messi added his goals seven minutes apart toward the end of the game at the empty Camp Nou, Europe's largest stadium with a capacity of nearly 100,000.

The victory gave Barcelona a five-point lead over Sevilla, which defeated visiting Malaga 2-0 on Saturday.

Third-place Atletico Madrid could not manage more than a 0-0 draw at Leganes, dropping six points behind Barcelona.

Defending champion Real Madrid beat Espanyol 2-0.

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