CNN  — 

A Lionel Messi brace guided Barcelona to victory over rivals Espanyol in Saturday’s Catalan derby.

Messi has now scored 41 goals this season, with 32 of them having come in just 29 league games.

The Barca star floated in a free-kick in the 71st minute and then delivered a deft finish after being set up by Brazilian Malcom in the game’s closing stages.

Barca’s 2-0 win extended their lead at the top of the La Liga table to 13 points over Atletico Madrid, who play later on Saturday.

Messi's free-kick decided the Catalan derby.

READ: Why Messi is the world’s best player

Messi has now scored eight goals in his last four games for Barca. Such is his goalscoring form at the moment that his Barca teammate Luis Suarez is the second top scorer in La Liga, but he is 13 goals behind Messi.

This was Barca’s sixth successive win and as Ernesto Valverde’s team extended their unbeaten league run to 17 matches.