Barcelona hit five to go joint top

86186093_neymar_penalty_getty-620x330Neymar scored four times, including two penalties, as Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano to go level on points with La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Barca recovered from going behind to an early Javi Guerra goal as they won for the second time in four league games.

Neymar made up for the absence of the injured Lionel Messi as he was twice fouled and scored from the spot.

He then netted twice in two second-half minutes before Luis Suarez tapped in ahead of Jozabed’s late reply.

Neymar, 23, now has eight goals for the season to make him the leading scorer in La Liga.

The Brazil international could have added even more after missing a number of first-half chances and being denied two further strong penalty claims.

That all happened after former Cardiff striker Guerra had side-footed the visitors in front after 14 minutes from a cross from ex-Manchester United forward Bebe.

Rayo created plenty more chances of their own and finished the game having had more possession than the home side – repeating the feat they managed as the last team to do similar in a league fixture against Barca two years ago.

Barcelona were indebted to goalkeeper Claudio Bravo for making a number of crucial saves early in the second half when they led just 2-1.

But Rayo had conceded six goals on their last two visits to the Nou Camp and the Madrid side were swamped again after Neymar followed up a shot from Suarez to drive the ball into the roof of the net and complete his hat-trick with 20 minutes to go.

He quickly added a fourth from Suarez’s pass before returning the favour for the former Liverpool striker to side-foot home his seventh goal of the season as the defending champions’ attacking power made up for their on-going defensive deficiencies.


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