Suarez nets in Barca stroll

Barcelona ended 2014 in spectacular style courtesy of a 5-0 victory over Cordoba in La Liga on Saturday.

After missing La Blaugrana's last two games against Getafe and Huesca with an ankle injury, Neymar was fit enough to make the bench. Elsewhere it was a much-changed XI from the Barca team which thrashed Huesca 8-1 in the Copa del Rey midweek, with only Martin Montoya, Javier Mascherano and Pedro Rodriguez retaining their places.

With barely a ball kicked in anger, the hosts broke the deadlock through Pedro, who flung himself onto Ivan Rakitic's inch-perfect lobbed pass in the box and half-volleyed a finish into the top corner of Juan Carlos' net.

Jordi Alba, a constant thorn in the Cordoba backline throughout the first half, worked his way towards the byline and sent a reversed pass into Luis Suarez's path, but the forward could only aim for the side netting.

Yet for all of Barca's dominance, Nabil Ghilas came a whisker away from drawing Miroslav Djukic's troops level, being released down the right channel, wrong-footing Javier Mascherano and powering a shot just wide of the target.

Claudio Bravo was then forced to spare his blushes, spilling a near-post cross when it seemed easier to gather before eventually smothering the ball amidst a crowd of Cordoba players piling up in the area.

Pedro and Pique then had two further chances to put Barca out of sight, but both players fluffed their lines, with Carlos pulling off a fine stop to fingertip the defender's bouncing header over the bar.

Lionel Messi endured a quiet opening to the match, but he exploded into life shortly after the restart with a surging run forward, evading a series of challenges in the process, but saw his shot closed down.

Barca eventually got their just rewards of a second goal seven minutes shy of the hour mark, Luis Suarez scoring his first goal in La Liga after brilliantly meeting Pedro's low cross in the box and poking the ball beyond Carlos.

Rakitic then fired a missile of a long shot from 25 yards out, crashing the ball onto the crossbar with Carlos well beaten, but the Barca goal machine was about to swing into full flow.

Luis Enrique's side continued to pummel their opponents, and they were rewarded for their persistence when Xavi whipped a free kick into the danger zone, which was met by a towering Gerard Pique.

Messi then wrapped up the points with a pair of trademark finishes, first picking up Xavi's loose corner and driving the ball into the back of the net, before hitting another terrific effort home, this time on the volley.

Barcelona 5-0 Cordoba

Pedro 2, Suarez 52, Pique 80, Messi 84, 90

Barcelona: Bravo; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Xavi 72), Iniesta (Rafinha 76); Pedro, Messi, Suarez

Cordoba: Carlos; Campabadal, Inigo Lopez (Pinillos 65), Pantic, Crespo, Deivid; Luso (Rossi 72), Ekeng, Borja Garcia (Lopez Silva 75); Fede; Ghilas

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

Tags Cordoba Gerard Pique Luis Suarez Pedro Rodriguez