A brilliant effort from Leganés as they kept their foot on the gas for the duration of the ninety minutes. But Barcelona's vastly superior class shone through. The out-of-the-world trio that is MSN were magical (especially Messi and Suarez) in the first half; and they went on autopilot for the second half. The three first-half goals showcased MSN at their unselfish best and showed the world just what makes them so great. Rafinha's rocket and Gabriel's freekick were magnificent individual efforts.
Leganés can be proud of their effort, and they should do well if they keep up this level of energy for all their matches. They may have lost, but the Cucumber Growers ought to hold their head up high. Many a times Barcelona beat opponents before they even set foot on the field, but that certainly wasn't the case here.
Despite the five goals - and this isn't nit-picking here - Luis Enrique still has quite a few troubles to sort out. Without Busquets, the midfield lacked control, and panicked easily under the home side's high press. Mascherano at the right of a back three was an unmitigated disaster as well. Whatever happens at the back, they still MSN to count on to put games to bed; and boy did they do that today. When they are in this kind of form, Barca are simply irresistible.
Great goals, Great skills on show, Full-blooded tackles, a wonderfully loud crowd and some fantastic fighting spirit from the quintessential underdogs - It was a pleasure covering this match with you guys! Thank you!
SK out \m/
Peep! Peep! FULL TIME
91' Gabriel causing confusion again, and a quick snapshot flies just wide.
90' Messi floats the freekick inches wide.
89' Barca go on the attack again. Neymar brings out the showboating tricks and flicks and toys with the defence. A cross from Turan is cleared but it all ends with a very dangerous free kick in the same kind of territory Gabriel scored from.
86' YELLOW for Omar Ramos as he bundles Neymar unceremoniously into the Leganés turf. He's been asking for that booking ever since he came on.
85' Tremendous closing down from Kone, as he bullies the much bigger Samuel Umtiti off the ball. This truly is something else. Without sounding patronising, it's brilliant to watch a team continue to fight - and ATTACK - despite their obvious limitations
82' Haaaaandnoooo! It looked very uncomfortable from Pique, but the ref has adjudged it to be all within legal limits, and no whistle. The crowd are displeased, to put it politely
The crowd is loving it! Them cucumbers are going to taste much better after that!
The ex-Juve player Gabriel shows his class as he curls a beautiful free-kick right into the top corner. Un-saveable from the Brazilian!
80' YELLOW Neymar Jr. has been booked for dissent
79' A freekick in a promising position for Leganés. Just outside the box - traditional David Beckham territory if you will
77' The tackles are still flying in, Neymar wisely opts out of going into a fifty-fifty with the powerfully built Victor Diaz. As has been happening throughout though, Leganés can't do anything with the ball in the final third
76' A brilliant tackle from Unai Bustinza prevents Barca from having another tap-in. Paco would have been the grateful recipient, but it wasn't to be.
74' Pique jumps into a tackle and gets penalised. Could have been a yellow there. The free-kick is utter rubbish and floats straights into ter Stegen.
73' Neymar that elegant waif of a footballer floats in behind the Leganés defence and almost makes enough space for himself to pull a shot out. Gets bullied off the ball at the end though - and the penalty appeals are more perfunctory than anything else
72' Kone is still full of running, and chases and harries Umtiti into a tough spot. But he fouls him as the Frenchman stays strong under considerable pressure
70' another great chance for the home team, but it's blazed over yet again. Leganés needs to improve their finishing if they need to even begin to compete with the likes of Barca. Can not fault their spirit though.
Leganés are still going for it - there are three up front now; Kone, Ramos and (liveblogger's nightmare) Szymanowski all staying forward
Barcelona have now scored 51 goals in their last 13 games. Phenomenal stuff!
A couple of Leganés substitutions i missed before the fifth goal went in - the impressive pair of Machis and Unai Lopez off, Szymanowski and Omar Ramos on.
65' Substitution - Iniesta (who was quieter than usual) off and Denis Suarez on in his place. Leo Messi takes over the captain's armband
Having done not much the whole game, Rafinha Alcantara jinks inside from the right and absolutely blooters an unstoppable shot into the top left corner. BRILLIANT GOAL.
62' DISALLOWED GOAL!! Neymar rolls a square ball to Leo Messi who places the ball aiming for the bottom left corner - Serantes pulls off a great save. Paco is offside as he rolls the rebound into the empty net.
61' Just as I type that, Gabriel dribbles his way through the Barca right and hammers a shot straight at ter Stegen
60' Arda Turan has added bite to the Barca midfield and it really doesn't look likely that Leganés have anything to ook forward to for the next half hour.
58' Leo Messi hammers one straight at Serantes in the Leganés goal. He could have squared it to Paco but is uncharacteristically selfish and tries the shot himself from a narrow angle
The Butarque is as loud as it was in the first half, the Castilians are truly enjoying their time in the sun!
56' Substitutions for Barca - Luis Suarez off for Paco Alcacer and Ivan Rakitic off for Arda Turan.
An unstoppable kick into the top left corner. Superb penalty from Leo Messi
Suarez releases Neymar down the left and the Brazilian wafts through to goal, and is pulled down. The ref shows no hesitation to blow his whistle
A substitution i missed updating you on occurred at the beginning of the half. The Iranian Medjani who had caused considerable bother in the first half (to Barca's midfield and the referee's whistle) is off and Ruben Perez is on.
49' Barca's midfield still looks deeply uncomfortable with Leganés' high pressing. They are missing Sergio Busquets calming influence here. Mascherano may well be asking why he isn't playing in that hole.
47' CHANCE for Leganés!!! Kone does very well to make some space for himself, but shoots straight at ter Stegen. Samuel Umtiti caught a forearm flush in the throat during Kone's space-making process, and goes down. He's back on after an application of some magic spray
46' Barcelona are killing the game already - in their very own inimitable way, knocking the ball around like they're on a pass-by-pass bonus. But again, a Tony Pulis-esque lob gifts the ball back to Leganés
|11||Celta de Vigo||27||11||5||11||-5||38|
|16||Deportivo La Coruña||28||6||9||13||-12||27|