Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Barcelona show no mercy

Published:Sunday | September 18, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish La Liga match between Leganes and Barcelona at the Butarque stadium in Madrid, Spain yesterday.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP):

Lionel Messi and Barcelona gave newly promoted Leganes a ruthless welcome to the Spanish league yesterday.

Messi repeatedly combined with Luis Suarez and Neymar as Barcelona eased to a 5-1 victory in its first-ever visit to Leganes, a small club from southern Madrid playing their maiden campaign in the first division.

The more than 10,000 blue-and-white clad fans who packed Butarque Stadium witnessed the cold, hard truth of playing against the best of the top flight.

cHEERS diminished

Messi scored twice, once from the penalty spot, giving him five goals in two matches in a five-day span.

The win came before Barcelona clashes with AtlÈtico Madrid, who matched the defending champion's win with a 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Gijon.

Boisterous at kickoff, the cheers from the Leganes crowd diminished with each goal until Gabriel Appelt gave them reason to celebrate when he scored from a free kick with 10 minutes remaining.

By that time, the result was long beyond doubt, following additional goals from Suarez and Neymar that Messi played a part in setting up before Rafina struck Barcelona's fifth from distance.