China / Sports

Barcelona cruise past Sporting, without Messi

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-26 08:07

Luis Suarez broke the deadlock in the 29th minute and Neymar scored two late goals as Barcelona beat 10-man Sporting Gijon 5-0 with Lionel Messi sidelined through injury on Saturday.

Barcelona, held 1-1 by Atletico Madrid on Wednesday when Messi sustained a groin injury that ruled him out of action for three weeks, joined Real Madrid on 13 points at the top of the table after the game.

Real went a point clear at the top after their draw at Las Palmas in the later game.

After a slow and dull start by Barca, Arda Turan set up Suarez with the Uruguayan rounding Sporting goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar to tap in the opener.

Rafinha headed in Sergi Roberto's cross at the near post for the second three minutes later.

Sporting lost captain Alberto Lora to a second yellow card for a late challenge on Sergi Roberto in the 74th minute.

With nine minutes remaining, substitute Paco Alcacer hit the crossbar but Neymar pounced on the rebound and tapped in.

Sergi Roberto came up with his second assist of the game when his cross found Turan who headed Barca's fourth in the 85th minute, and Neymar got his second two minutes from time with a close-range strike past Cuellar.

"It's an exaggerated result and I didn't see the game (as being) over until Lora's sending off," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique told reporters. "This game was by no means easy. We lacked intensity and we need to improve."

Luis Enrique, citing the need earlier in the week to use all of his players during the club's busy schedule, including Wednesday's Champions League match at Borussia Moenchengladbach, made five changes to the side that started against Atletico.

Turan started with Neymar and Suarez in attack while Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta were left on the bench.



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