Millennium Post

Barca trounce Elche 5-0

Barca trounce Elche 5-0
Despite the speculation surrounding his future in recent days, Lionel Messi captained the side on his return to the starting line-up and scored from the penalty spot after goals from Neymar and Luis Suarez had already put the hosts in command.

Jordi Alba added a fourth after the break before Neymar rounded off the scoring in style with a powerful drive from 20 yards out. Barring a meltdown in the return leg on January 15, Barca will face the winners of the tie between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in the last eight. Messi and Neymar were among eight changes made by under fire coach Luis Enrique from the side that lost 1-0 at Real Sociedad on Sunday. Neymar was unlucky to see a penalty appeal turned away 10 minutes in when he was bumped to the ground by Damien Suarez.

Barca finally made the breakthrough 11 minutes before half-time when an enticing low cross by Suarez was smashed home at the far post by Neymar. The Uruguayan found the net himself moments later with a brilliant individual effort as he rolled his marker before cutting inside and fooling Tyton with a near post finish. Messi added his name to the scoresheet from the spot after Neymar had been upended by Enzo Roco.

The one way traffic continued after the break as another sumptuous pass from Messi freed Alba inside the area to fire low past Tyton to make it 4-0. Yet, the best was still to come from Enrique’s men when Neymar cut inside onto his favoured right foot and thumped home his second of the night off the underside of the bar from 20 yards. The Brazilian was denied the chance to grab his second hat-trick of the season, though, as he was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez with 23 minutes remaining after suffering another heavy challenge from Suarez.

Earlier, Sevilla took a big step towards securing their place in quarters with a 2-1 win over Granada. Gerard Deulofeu and Kevin Gameiro scored on either side of the half-time.
Agencies

Agencies

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