Double delight for Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic came off the bench to score twice, both times via Neymar assists, as Barcelona dispatched BATE Borisov in Belarus.

Rakitic, a first half substitute for the injured Sergi Roberto, eventually broke the deadlock shortly after half time following a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the visitors.

He added his and Barca’s second just after the hour when he was found unmarked by Neymar in the BATE penalty area, having led a break from the edge of Barca’s penalty area.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen took the gloves from Claudio Bravo and Javier Mascherano went into midfield as Luis Enrique explored his options, Munir El Haddadi starting alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez in attack.

It was Neymar who had the first shot on goal, cutting inside and putting an effort in Syarhey Chernik’s midriff, closer than Sergio Busquets’ managed with the second, screwing a drive wide after being teed up by Neymar.

A couple of Neymar corners also produced chances, first for Luis Suarez and then Munir, as Barca exerted their dominance over the encounter.

Barca’s superiority continued but the chances didn’t flow, Busquets hooking a deep free kick towards goal and it seemed to be floating into the far corner, but instead drifted wide.

Rakitic met a Dani Alves cross at the far post and, unmarked and on the stretch, could only head over as Barca started to struggle to create meaningful chances, Neymar firing over from the edge of the box the last of them almost on the half time whistle.

It was Neymar central again in practically Barca’s first attack of the second half and this one produced a goal as Rakitic sent a devilish effort high into the back of the net.

Neymar could have gotten himself on the score sheet shortly after but he scuffed a volley the wrong side of the post but instead he later created Rakitic’s second.

The Brazil international drew the attention of the BATE defensive, then slotted the ball across the box to Rakitic, who clipped a delicate effort past the goalkeeper.

BATE’s best moment came as the final 10 minutes approached, a long run from Filip Mladenovic causing trouble and finding Nikolai Signevich, but Ter Stegen made the save, Barca content with a two-goal win and seven points from nine.

BATE 0-2 Barcelona

Rakitic 47, 65

BATE: Chernik; Gaidchuk, Milunovic, Mladenovic, Polyakov; A. Volodko, Nikolic (Yablonski 65), Stasevich; M. Volodko (Karnitski 62), Signevich (Mozolevski 80), Gordeichuk

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Mascherano, Sergi Roberto (Rakitic 18), Sergio Busquets (Gumbau 72); Munir (Sandro 70), Suarez, Neymar

Referee: De Sousa [POR]

Tags BATE Borisov Ivan Rakitic Neymar
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