Sport Barca wins 3-0 before Coutinho arrival; Messi, Suarez score

Barca wins 3-0 before Coutinho arrival; Messi, Suarez score

FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored first-half goals in a 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday, restoring Barcelona’s nine-point lead of the Spanish league while it awaits the arrival of Philippe Coutinho.

Messi opened the scoring with his league-leading 16th goal of the season before Suarez doubled the advantage before halftime.

Messi set up Paulinho to round off the win in stoppage time.

Barcelona said Saturday that the 25-year-old Coutinho will sign a contract for the rest of this season plus five more seasons. Barcelona did not reveal the cost of the deal for the 25-year-old Liverpool playmaker but a person familiar with the details told The Associated Press on Saturday that the transfer is worth 160 million euros ($192 million). The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about the deal, which would be a club record for Barcelona.

Atletico Madrid remained in a distant second place after it had temporarily closed the gap by beating Getafe 2-0 on Saturday.

The win took Barcelona’s unbeaten streak to 27 straight matches dating back to its loss to Real Madrid in the curtain-raising Spanish Super Cup in August.