Neymar, Suarez keep Barca flying with ‘Clasico' romp

REUTERS
MADRID
Published 23.11.2015 01:04

When Lionel Messi injured his knee it understandably set off alarm bells at Barcelona but the Spanish and European champions have coped comfortably with his two-month absence thanks to Neymar and Luis Suarez. The in-form South American pair were the architects of Saturday's stunning 4-0 win at Real Madrid in the La Liga ‘Clasico', with Suarez striking twice and Neymar netting one and setting up Andres Iniesta to score a stunner. Neymar and Suarez have hit 20 of Barca's last 21 goals in La Liga and Saturday's drubbing of Real put the Catalan side six points clear of their arch rivals after 12 matches. Barca are top of Champions League Group E and can secure their place in the last 16 when they host AS Roma on Tuesday, with Messi likely to start after coming on as a substitute midway through the second half at the Bernabeu.

If Barca can maintain anything like the form they showed on Saturday, when they humiliated the world's richest club, a second consecutive treble of Champions League, La Liga and King's Cup trophies may be within their reach. Coach Luis Enrique, who played for both Real and Barca and won the treble with the Catalan side in his first season in charge in 2014-15, was euphoric. "A glorious and memorable victory," he told reporters.

"They are our eternal rivals and we both want to win the same trophies," added the former Spain midfielder. "It really feels good to have played so much better. We did what we set out to do." The Barca players had simply been better on the night, Luis Enrique said. "We were solid at the back and I think it was more a case of us playing very well than Madrid playing badly," he said. Luis Enrique had particular praise for versatile midfielder Sergi Roberto, a product of Barca's youth academy who has been one of their most reliable performers this term. "He keeps the ball well and has excellent control," Luis Enrique said. "He can become a great player."

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