Messi-less Barca cruise past Gi­jon

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Barcelona didn't show any signs of miss­ing Lionel Messi yes­ter­day, cruis­ing past Sport­ing Gi­jon 5-0 to pro­vi­sion­ally take the Span­ish league lead in its first game with­out the in­jured play­maker.

Ney­mar and Luis Suarez took over in Messi's ab­sence, Ney­mar scored two goals and Suarez one, while Rafinha and Arda Tu­ran added the oth­ers at El Moli­non Sta­dium in Gi­jon. BARCELONA 5, SPORT­ING GI­JON 0

Messi hurt his groin in the draw with Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou last week, and will miss one La Liga game, one in the Cham­pi­ons League, and Ar­gentina's World Cup qual­i­fiers against Peru on Oct. 6 and Paraguay on Oct. 11.

Coach Luis En­rique filled the mid­field with Tu­ran, Rafinha, and An­dre Gomes, rest­ing An­dres Ini­esta and Ivan Rakitic. He also didn't play Javier Mascher­ano and Jordi Alba ahead of the Cham­pi­ons League game in Ger­many on Wed­nes­day.

Sport­ing played with 10 men from the 74th as cap­tain Al­berto Lora was sent off for a sec­ond yel­low card after a hard slid­ing tackle on Sergi Roberto. By then, the re­sult was al­ready known.

Barcelona strug­gled in the first 30 min­utes but took con­trol of the match after the first two goals, and the game opened up even more for the Cata­lan club after Lora's red card.

"The score was a bit ex­ag­ger­ated," Luis En­rique said.

Sport­ing, which dropped to 12th in the stand­ings, also lost 5-0 at Atletico Madrid two rounds ago. STRONG SUP­PORT Barcelona's vic­tory came a day after Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger paid a visit to the squad. The ac­tor and for­mer Cal­i­for­nia gover­nor was in town for a body­build­ing event, and met with play­ers such Ney­mar, Ser­gio Bus­quets, and Javier Mascher­ano. OTHER AC­TION

Eibar de­feated Real So­ciedad 2-0 at home to move to fourth place.

Fifth-place Atletico Madrid hosts De­portivo La Coruna today.

In the late game lead­ers Real Madrid dropped two points when they wer held to a 2-2 by Las Pal­mas, with Asen­sio and Karim Ben­zema net­ting Real’s goals.

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