Two goals in five minutes late on from Neymar gave Barça a deserved win in an exciting game against Bilbao at the Camp Nou this afternoon. The Brazilian came on for Munir, who again gave a solid performance, just after the hour mark and his skill, speed and understanding with Messi tipped the scales Barça’s way against the determined and lively Basques.
It was clear from the start that Bilbao hadn’t come with any intention to park the bus and they were keen to take the game to Barça, which made for an exciting beginning as both teams pushed forward. Munir, Messi and Pedro all looked bright for Barça and Iraizoz was soon working hard in the Bilbao goal. As the half wore on, Barça began to look closer to opening the scoring with Rakitic, Munir and Messi all having chances, but Bilbao held out and the teams went in 0-0 at the break.
Bilbao continued to look dangerous on the break in the second half, but when Luis Enrique took off Munir – who again had a good game and was unlucky to see a goal disallowed for offside – and brought on Neymar, the Brazilian’s speed and skill was always likely to turn things way. First he saw a shot go just wide and then on 68 minutes he recovered a pass from Iniesta Neymar to set up Messi, only for the defence to close in before the Argentinean could get his shot away.
Ten minutes later, the roles were reversed and Messi split the Bilbao defence with a through ball for the Brazilian to slide wide of the keeper. As Bilbao tired, Neymar then doubled his haul, with Messi again the provider, after some brilliant control on the right crossing into the box to find the Barça number 11 unmarked near the penalty spot.
So that’s three games and three wins for Luis Enrique’s Barça, with six goals scored and none yet conceded. Next up is the opening game of the Champions League against Apoel on Wednesday night.