NEWS
Wednesday December 11 2013
Barca hit Celtic for six

A Neymar hat-trick and goals from Gerard Pique, Pedro and Cristian Tello gave Barcelona an easy 6-1 win over Celtic.

With Cesc Fabregas suspended and Lionel Messi injured, Neymar played as the central striker for Barca. The Blaugrana went into the game knowing that a point would see them finish Group H in first position, but Tata Martino gave a chance to youngster Sergi Roberto in the middle of the park. The Scottish side meanwhile, threw caution to the wind giving strikers Giorgios Samaras and Teemu Pukki starts.

It was the home side who, predictably, got off to the brighter start – keeping the ball at will, and pressing high up the pitch. And it was that high intensity approach that almost resulted in the first goal inside four minutes, but Neymar’s lay-off for Xavi was slightly underhit and Virgil van Dijk was there to cover.

And it wasn’t long before the Catalans had opened the scoring. A shot from Alexis was saved well by Fraser Forster, but the parried effort found the feet of Pique, who prodded home from six yards.

The Scottish side looked happy to soak up pressure and try to hit Tata Martino’s men on the break – without the ball though, that was proving an almost impossible task. The Camp Nou outfit had a complete monopoly of possession, but with Neymar coming a little too deep at times, Barca couldn’t quite add to their lead.

Neil Lennon’s men were becoming increasingly sounder defensively, but it was a bit of Neymar brilliance that doubled Barca’s lead on 40 minutes. The Brazilian youngster did superbly to get past Efe Ambrose, before crossing for Pedro who tapped in from close-range.

And the former Santos youngster got in on the act himself on the stroke of half time – a chipped pass from Alexis found Martin Montoya, who squared for the 21-year-old, as he rolled into an empty net for his first Champions League goal.

After the interval, it didn’t take Neymar long to get his second ever European goal. After 48 minutes, the forward played a one-two on the edge of the area with Xavi, before curling an effort past Forster and into the top left-hand corner of the net.

It was quickly becoming the Neymar show, and he soon added to festivities by netting his hat-trick on the hour mark. The Selecao international wriggled past Ambrose inside the area before shooting low past the goalkeeper and, via Adam Matthews, into the back of the net.

The Blaugrana were clearly in the mood for more, and it was substitute Tello who got in on the act with 18 minutes left on the clock. A pass from the left-hand side found the youngster on the edge of the area, and his deflected shot beat the goalkeeper for a sixth.

The performance was blotted somewhat with just a minute to go though, as a Charlie Mulgrew free kick found the head of Giorgios Samaras, and then lanky Greek striker prodded the ball past Pinto for a consolation goal.

Barcelona 6-1 Celtic

Scorers: Pique 7 (B), Pedro 40 (B), Neymar 45, 48, 58 (B), Tello 72 (B); Samaras 89 (C)

Barcelona: Pinto; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets (Song 73), Sergi Roberto; Pedro, Neymar (Dongou 80), Alexis (Tello 63)

Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Ledley; Matthews (Stokes 82), Brown, Biton (Commons 69), Boerrigter; Samaras, Pukkki (Mulgrew 46)

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