Madrid: Barcelona's star front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar brought up a century of goals in all competitions as the Catalans moved five points clear at the top of La Liga with a 6-0 humbling of Getafe on Tuesday.
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos Junior (L) and Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) celebrate after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Getafe at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. Pic/AFP
All three were on target inside 28 minutes as Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot before teeing up Suarez to volley home and Neymar was left with the simple task of registering the 100th goal between the trio from Suarez's pass. Xavi Hernandez then curled home a stunning fourth before Suarez made it 5-0 with a similar finish into the far corner and Messi rounded off the scoring in typical style on his favoured left foot early in the second-half.
Real Madrid can close the gap at the top back to two points when they host Almeria on Wednesday. "Luckily the first shots on goal we had went in, the team played very well in the first-half and that is the most important thing," said Suarez. "I don't know if there is a key to our success. There is total commitment among the team and the fans. We are obliged to win important things and we are entering the most important stage of the season."
Barca boss Luis Enrique had resisted the temptation to rest any of his front three despite making four changes from the side that won 2-0 at Espanyol on Saturday with one eye on next week's Champions League semi-final, first-leg against Bayern Munich. That decision was richly rewarded in a stunning first-half display that tore the helpless visitors to shreds.
Messi put his recent yips from the penalty spot behind him as he opened the scoring by chipping the ball straight down the middle of the goal in the style made famous by Czech legend Antonin Panenka in the 1976 European Championships after Suarez had been felled by Alvaro Arroyo. Getafe nearly drew level moments later when Claudio Bravo made a brilliant recovery save to claw Fredy Hinestroza's lob to safety to make up for his original poor positioning.
Suarez put the result beyond doubt with a sumptuous volley from Messi's inviting cross and the Uruguayan then turned provider for Neymar to bring up the century. Moments later Xavi scored what could well be his final goal at the Camp Nou with the veteran expected to move to Qatar at the end of the season by curling the ball high into the far corner.
Xavi's flick then set up Suarez to finish in similar style to register his 21st goal of the season before the break. Despite the upcoming date with former coach Pep Guardiola and Bayern in eight days time there was little let up from the hosts after the break. However, the goals did dry up after Messi had curled home his 38th league goal of the campaign to move within one of Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to be La Liga's top goalscorer two minutes into the second period.
The four-time World Player of the Year came close to a seventh hat-trick of the season six minutes from time, but Vicente Guaita made a fine save to turn his free-kick to safety. Elsewhere, David Moyes's Real Sociedad salvaged a point in the Basque derby away to Athletic Bilbao despite playing most of the second-half with 10 men.
Aritz Aduriz put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot after he had been brought down inside the area by Mike Gonzalez, who saw red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. But a wonderful finish from left-back Alberto de la Bella on his weaker right foot seven minutes later earned Sociedad a point. At the bottom, Levante moved six points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over the doomed Cordoba thanks to David Barral's first-half winner.