Messi (2), Suárez, Neymar and Rafinha score the goals that get Barça’s Liga campaign right back on track with a riveting display in Madrid.FC Barcelona have put the shock home defeat to Alavés well behind therm.
After pumping seven past Celtic midweek, they continued their relentless charge with a five-goal spree on their first ever trip to newly promoted Leganés. But despite the wide margin of the victory, it was a gripping lunchtime encounter in southwest Madrid.
When Lega boss Asier Garitano promised a fearless approach to the visit of Barça he meant it. There was nothing cagey about his team as they came onto the pitch to the sound of AC/DC and threw themselves into a pulsating first half in front of an excited full house at the Butarque Stadium.
High voltage football.
But such ambition against a side like FCB always spells danger. A 15th minute counter attack left the blue-and-whites seriously exposed at the back – and in a three-on-three when one of those trios is the world famous trident there can only be one outcome. Luis Suárez slipped the ball into the box where both Leo Messi and Neymar Jr were waiting unmarked. The Argentinian popped it home and Barça were off to an early lead.
Leganés looked unshaken.
They battled fast and they battled hard – just the kind of game that makes Barça uncomfortable. But the second quarter of an hour ended just like the first – with Barça finding the net. Messi did the hard work, riding a number of challenges on a heatseeking run into position to play the ball to Luis Suárez. A simple tap-in for the Uruguayan and that was 2-0.
Trident a touch too much.
Not even that would make Leganés lie down. They would have been off the mark themselves had Ter Stegen first and Samuel Umtiti a split-second later not been hard as rocks in denying what looked certain goals for Venezuelan Darwin Machis.
But this was a battle of spirited upstarts against the big guns. The trident unleashed its full potential once more before the half was up, and again Leganés were powerless to find an answer. Messi played the big ball through, and Suárez had all the time in the world to decide whether to shoot or lay off to Neymar.
He opted for latter, and all three of the MSN could head for the half-time refreshments with a goal in their accounts.
Rafinha shoots to thrill.
Ten minutes after the interval and Barça had another. A blatant tug by Bustinza on Neymar’s shirt had the referee pointing straight at the spot. Moments later Messi pointed the ball straight into the top right corner of the net – and that was 4-0.
But it wasn’t all about the trident. Rafinha reminded us of that on 64 minutes, working his way into position to blast a thunderous strike into the top corner of the net. The goal of the game.
Neither was it all Barça, and Gabriel did some reminding of his own with an absolute beauty of a free kick with ten minutes left on the clock.
Leganés finally had the goal they craved, but there was only ever going to be one winner in this game. After the setback a week earlier, this was the performance that Luis Enrique needed. Barça are back in business – and in good time for the crunch game with Atlético on Wednesday.
Report by club website