European Football round-up: Barca score five

Sport360 staff 20:34 24/09/2016
Neymar scored a brace for the defending champions.

The hosts enjoyed the better of the opening half-hour, but were hit by a two-goal Barca burst in three minutes as Suarez rounded Ivan Cuellar to slot home the opener before Rafinha headed home a second.

Sporting were reduced to 10 men 16 minutes from time when Alberto Lora saw a second yellow card and Barca made their man advantage count as a Neymar double and Arda Turan rounded off the scoring in the final 10 minutes.

Real Madrid can regain a three-point lead over Barca with victory when they travel to Las Palmas later on Saturday.

Barca coach Luis Enrique made five changes to the side that started Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid as Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba joined the injured Messi in dropping out.

The champions looked unsettled in the early stages and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was lucky to escape further punishment when he gave away a free-kick for handling outside his area with the score still level at 0-0.

However, one moment of Suarez magic turned the game in Barca’s favour as he raced onto Turan’s through ball and flicked the ball past the onrushing Cuellar before slotting into an empty net.

A fine team goal put the game beyond Sporting moments later as Neymar freed Sergi Roberto down the right and Rafinha met his cross with a powerful near-post header.

Barca appeared to have eased up in the second half ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League as Sergio Busquets and Suarez were replaced by Denis Suarez and Paco Alcacer.

However, the goals flowed after Lora dived in on Roberto to leave his side a man light.

Alcacer was denied his first Barca goal when he smashed the ball off the underside of the bar, but Neymar mopped up the rebound to make it 3-0.

Roberto was the provider once more for the fourth as Turan powered home his cross at the back post four minutes later.

Denis Suarez then teed up Neymar to sweep home his second of the game two minutes from time.

And the Brazilian could even have had a hat-trick when he curled another effort off the post in stoppage time.

A substituted Cristiano Ronaldo cut a disconsolate figure as Real Madrid conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Las Palmas on Saturday.

Ronaldo was replaced moments after helping Madrid go 2-1 in front when Karim Benzema slotted home the rebound after the Portuguese’s initial effort was saved.

However, he watched on as Sergio Araujo took advantage of some soft Madrid defending to level as the European champions dropped points for the second time in four days.

Stung by a poor first-half performance in a 1-1 draw with Villarreal in midweek that snapped a 16-game La Liga winning streak, Madrid pressed high from the off and had 17 shots in a wide open first 45 minutes.

Las Palmas ‘keeper Javi Varas repelled Alvaro Morata’s powerful header before Ronaldo fluffed his lines when presented with a glorious chance from Morata’s cut-back.

Eventually Real made the breakthrough just after the half-hour mark when Varas made another fine save from Nacho’s low effort, but Marco Asensio followed up to head into an empty net.

The lead lasted just five minutes, though, as Raphael Varane’s poor defensive header fell at the feet of Tana, who slotted past the helpless Kiko Casilla.

More Varas heroics denied Gareth Bale either side of half-time as the Welshman saw two fierce drives beaten to safety.

Varas also saved from Ronaldo midway through the second half, but substitute Benzema was on hand to turn home the loose ball.

Ronaldo was then replaced by Lucas Vazquez, but didn’t acknowledge coach Zinedine Zidane as he sulked off the field.

And the three-time World Player of the Year’s mood worsened when Araujo slotted home the equaliser five minutes from time.

Elsewhere, Joshua Kimmich’s late winner preserved Bayern Munich’s 100 percent Bundesliga record in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Hamburg, but the leaders saw Mats Hummels limp off with a knee injury.

With Bayern facing Atletico Madrid away in the Champions League on Wednesday, Germany international Kimmich converted a superb Franck Ribery cross in the 88th minute.

“We had three or four clear chances in the second-half and we struggled before the break before sorting things out,” admitted Kimmich, who has scored four goals already in Bayern’s midfield.

Kimmich’s goal leaves Carlo Ancelotti’s Munich as the only team in Germany’s top flight with five league wins from five. They also have eight wins from eight matches in all competitions.

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