Barcelona maintained their grip on the UEFA Champions League group E lead with a convincing 2-0 victory over BATE Borisov at the Borisov Arena on Tuesday.
Two second half strikes from Ivan Rakitic was all Barcelona needed to see off their host for their second victory after three games as they push to defend a title they won last season.
Barcelona had almost all of the ball against BATE Borisov but the sides remain level at half time as the defending Champions failed to break down their hosts.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen took the gloves from Claudio Bravo and Javier Mascherano went into midfield as Luis Enrique explored his options, Munir El Haddadi starting alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez in attack.
It was Neymar who had the first shot on goal, cutting inside and putting an effort in Syarhey Chernik’s midriff, closer than Sergio Busquets’ managed with the second, screwing a drive wide after being teed up by Neymar.
A couple of Neymar corners also produced chances, first for Luis Suarez and then Munir, as Barcelona exerted their dominance over the encounter.
There was though a dark cloud as Sergi Roberto lasted barely 18 minutes before he had to be replaced by Ivan Rakitic, further adding to Enrique’s injury worries.
The visitor’s dominance continued but the chances didn’t flow, Busquets hooking a deep free kick towards goal and it seemed to be floating into the far corner, but instead drifted wide.
Rakitic met a Dani Alves cross at the far post and, unmarked and on the stretch, could only head over as Barcelona started to struggle to create meaningful chances, Neymar firing over from the edge of the box the last of them almost on the half time whistle.
Rakitic, a first half substitute for the injured Sergi Roberto, eventually broke the deadlock shortly after half time following a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the visitors.
He added his and Barca’s second just after the hour when he was found unmarked by Neymar in the BATE penalty area, having led a break from the edge of Barca’s penalty area.