Football

Neymar scores twice on return for Barcelona

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Neymar marked his return from injury with a brace in Barcelona’s 6-0 romp over Mexican side Club Leon to win the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Nou Camp.

The Brazilian was playing for the first time since breaking his vertebra in the FIFA World Cup quarter-final, and provided two deft finishes, while youngster Munir El Haddadi also bagged a double.

Suarez bow

Luis Suarez made his premature bow for the Catalan Giants in the 76th minute, but his return was overshadowed by a comprehensive display from Luis Enrique’s new side in their only pre-season encounter on home turf, which saw Lionel Messi and another B team player in Sandro Ramirez round off the scoring.

Ivan Rakitic was one of three new signings in the starting XI, along with keeper Claudio Bravo and Jeremy Mathieu, and the Croatian was involved in the opening goal as Barca took just three minutes to break the deadlock.

The goals

He laid the ball off for Messi, who found Neymar, and the Brazilian's deflected square ball across the area was met by the Argentine ahead of the Leon goalkeeper.

Messi thought he had his second four minutes later, but was ruled out for controlling the ball with his hand. But Neymar doubled the lead soon after, latching onto a crisp through ball from Andres Iniesta before delicately lifting the ball over the keeper.

Rafinha also made a start after spending last season on loan at Celta Vigo, and was only denied by a brilliant last-ditch block on the half-hour mark. But his fellow countryman got his second just before half-time, rounding the keeper after Messi’s lofted pass before cheekily backheeling the ball home.

Barca old boy Rafael Marquez was appearing for the Mexicans for the final time before linking up with Serie A side Verona, and he received a standing ovation when he was substituted seven minutes into the second half.

And the Nou Camp was on its feet again three minutes later when Rakitic’s diagonal long ball found Dani Alves in the area, and his square ball presented an easy finish for substitute Munir.

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Suarez appearance

Suarez was brought on with 14 minutes remaining a week after winning his appeal in allowing him to train with his new team, but it was Munir again who made a significant impact as he swept home Sandro’s lay-off.

And the latter completed the rout in the final minute and matched the scoreline from Barca’s previous outing against HJK Helsinki, as he latched onto Sergi Samper’s through ball before his shot was too hot to handle for the goalkeeper.

Very, very comfortable for Enrique’s men as they build towards next weekend’s La Liga kick-off, and some of the youngsters certainly staked their claim for a key role in their quest to regain the domestic title.

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Topics:
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Neymar
Football

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