Barca back on winning ways

Dhaka,  Monday,   2016-09-17
Published : 17 Sep 2016, 19:05:20

Barca back on winning ways

Barca back on winning ways
Lionel Messi turned in a performance of the highest order, netting a brace and inspiring Barcelona to a 5-1 La Liga win at Leganes on Saturday.

The Catalans were keen to avoid any upsets similar to their 2-1 home loss to Alaves and Luis Enrique put out the strongest starting XI at his disposal.

His decision to field his best paid off as Barcelona dominated from start to finish – Messi opening the floodgates in the 15th minute before Luis Suarez doubled the lead.

Neymar put the result beyond question right before the break, but that did not stop Messi netting his second via a penalty in the second half.

Rafinha rounded off the scoring right after the hour mark, rendering Gabriel Appelt's consolation for Leganes inconsequential.

Leganes' ambition early on taking the game to their illustrious opponents left their high defensive line exposed and, after Messi had a shot blocked by Diego Rico, he was on hand to slot home when Suarez crossed having left Unai Bustinza in his wake.

Suarez then rampaged down the left, with a last-ditch challenge from Pablo Insua almost resulting in a remarkable own-goal.

The frantic nature of the contest remained but now to Leganes' detriment and they were 2-0 behind when Unai Lopez rolled a pass into Messi's path for Barca's talisman to glide past some uncompromising challenges and cut across goalkeeper Jon Serantes for Suarez to enjoy an unguarded net.

Darwin Machis looked to find a response, scooting round Javier Mascherano and drawing a sharp stop from Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Samuel Umtiti blocked his follow-up on the line.

But, to continue a theme a minute before the break, Leganes' porous backline was ruthlessly unpicked once more and, following great work from Messi on halfway, Suarez decided it was Neymar's turn to enjoy a tap-in.

There was little the home defence could do to counter a sumptuous pass from Suarez, arrowed through with the outside of his right boot, to put Neymar through on goal in the 54th minute.

The hapless Bustinza hauled the Brazil star to ground and Messi whipped the spot-kick high into the right corner.

Insua hacked out of his own goalmouth to deny Messi his hat-trick and Paco Alcacer – on for Suarez – had a first Barca goal ruled out for offside after Serantes saved from the Argentine.

The final Barcelona goal came from a more unfamiliar source and in glorious fashion as Rafinha strode forward, ushering Messi out of his path, before cutting inside to pick out the top corner left-footed from 20 yards.

There was a similarly brilliant consolation finish from Gabriel's 80th-minute free-kick but the headlines belonged to MSN.

After the Celtic match, Neymar said they wished to better a dizzying collective tally of 131 goals from last season. They are on to 17 already, following 10 in a prolific week, according to goal.com. - IH

 
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