Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi both got on the score sheet as Neymar scored a goal in each half to have Barcelona cruise past Real Sociedad 4–0 on Saturday afternoon at Camp Nou.
It was another scintillating performance by the Trident, Barcelona’s ruthlessly effective forward line, which, after getting all four goals on Saturday, has now scored 30 of the team’s 33 league goals so far this season, an astonishing 91 per cent share, just one in an array of staggering figures being put up by the big three this season.
With the fans at Camp Nou hoping Messi would not be left off the score sheet, the Argentine, making his third appearance after a two-month spell on the sidelines gave them their wish in the 91st minute, when he slotted home from close range off a Neymar pass for the Catalans’ final goal of the game.
In what was billed as a homecoming for former Barcelona player and assistant coach Eusebio Sacristán, now at the helm of Real Sociedad following the dismissal of David Moyes, his ex-team did the football equivalent of pulling the welcome-back mat out from underneath his feet.
Barcelona opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, when Daniel Alves, working on the right wing, rolled a cross through the area to Neymar who got ahead of Real Sociedad defender Gorka Elustondo to unleash a one time shot from 6 metres into the upper right corner for his 13th league goal of the season.
With three minutes left on the clock, Alves again got his second assist by lobbing a beautifully arcing cross towards the far post that was met by Suárez who fired a bicycle kick volley into the back of the net for a 2–0 lead. Barcelona’s second was the Uruguayan’s 12th La Liga goal of the season.
Seven minutes after the break, Neymar made it 3–0 for his 14th of the season, tapping in from close range after defender Jérémy Mathieu rolled a cross from the left wing.
In the waning minutes Messi looked destined to be held scoreless, especially when he hit the crossbar in the 87th to the disappointment of the fans. Few minutes later, the crowd got their wish as the Argentina skipper struck the back of the net just steps from the goal line after he was picked out by Neymar.
The victory for Barcelona have provisionally stretched their lead over archrivals Real Madrid who are in third place and visit Eibar on Sunday to nine points. The Catalans now hold a four-point lead over second-placed Atlético Madrid who defeated Espanyol 1-0 to keep pace.