NEWS
Sunday January 22 2017
Barca show class to beat Eibar

Goals by Denis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar gave Barcelona a comfortable win over Eibar.

Despite a spirited first half showing by the hosts at Ipurua, the Camp Nou side eventually showed their class to run out easy winners.

Luis Enrique made four changes to the team that lined-up in the Copa del Rey win over Real Sociedad in midweek, the most high profile of which was Arda Turan coming in for the injured Andres Iniesta.

Sergi Enrich, meanwhile, returned to the Eibar attack to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

No clear chances were created in the opening stages, but Sergio Busquets lasted just five minutes before he was felled by a heavy Gonzalo Escalante challenge just outside the home penalty area. The midfielder was clearly in pain and could not continue, making way for Denis Suarez.

Messi sent the resulting free-kick over the bar, before Luis Suarez had the game's first real chance. Latching onto the end of Messi's delightful ball, the Uruguayan uncharacteristically blazed off target.

Jose Mendilibar's team then came into the game and fashioned opportunities of their own. Escalante could only scuff straight at Marc-Andre Ter Stegen when well positioned, before Adrian forced a good save out of the Barca keeper.

At that stage, Eibar were looking the more likely to open the scoring, with the Catalans struggling to match the hosts' intensity. However, the away side took the lead when a loose ball fell at the feet of Denis Suarez, who lashed the ball low and hard into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

The goal took the wind out of Eibar's sails as Barca then took control of proceedings. Neymar and Arda Turan both went close to adding a second, before Luis Suarez struck the post just before the half time whistle.

The second half continued in much the same way as Mendilibar's team perhaps paid the price for their early exertions. Messi doubled Barca's lead just five minutes after the restart, tapping past Yoel after meeting Luis Suarez' cross from the right.

Eibar thought they had pulled a goal back when Adrian expertedly headed home Pedro Leon's cross, only for the offside flag to be raised. Replays, however, showed the officials had made the wrong call.

Any hope of a home comeback ended there, with Uruguayan forward Suarez then getting on the scoresheet himself, robbing Florian Lejeune of possession before coolly slotting the ball past Yordi at his near post.

The goalkeeper then had to tip over to prevent an own goal, while Neymar was wrongly flagged for offside as Barca threatened to run riot.

With less than five minutes remaining, Pedro Leon's thunderbolt from 30 yards cannoned back off the bar as Eibar chased a consolation, before Neymar did finally get his goal with a confident close range finish.

All in all, it was a good night's work for Enrique's side, who are now just two points behind leaders Real Madrid at the half way point of the season.

Football Italia website