Neymar and Luis Suárez fire Barcelona past Bate Borisov as fans protest
A Neymar double and a clinical finish from Luis Suárez gave Barcelona a comfortable victory over Bate Borisov that put them on the verge of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League for the 12th consecutive season.
The Brazilian beat Sergey Chernik from the penalty spot following a foul on the substitute Munir El Haddadi by Filip Mladenovic. Neymar was the provider for Suárez who slotted into the corner after 60 minutes. Suárez then crossed for Neymar to slide the ball home after 83 minutes.
The pair have been the driving force behind Barcelona in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi and now have 13 goals between them from the last five games.
Barça lead Group E with 10 points from four games while Bate are bottom with three points.
Fans turned up carrying Catalan flags and their whistles drowned out the Uefa anthem before kick-off as they protested against a second fine for Barcelona for displaying political emblems.
Luis Enrique’s side moved the ball around swiftly but the first real danger came from Bate with the home goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen forced to beat away a fiercely struck free-kick by Ihar Stasevich on the edge of the area.
Andrés Iniesta made his first start since picking up an injury at the end of September but Barça were dealt a blow with Ivan Rakitic limping off and he was replaced by Munir. It was the youth product that was hauled down after combining with Suárez, and Neymar dispatched the penalty.
Adriano clipped the outside of the post and Neymar headed just over before half-time. After plenty of pressure Barça finally scored again with Suárez showing his prowess in front of goal before he found Neymar to wrap up the scoring.
Neymar said: “I’m very happy with the result. This is what we wanted, to win. We scored three times, which is something we needed to do. It was a good run for my third, but Luis Suárez was vital, he gave me a great ball.
“We must remain relaxed, we’re doing a good job at this stage of the season and scoring goals. I’m in a good moment and hope to continue that way.”
Rakitic will now be a doubt for el clásico with Real Madrid on 21 November. Luis Enrique said: “We have not had much luck with injuries and we want to have him back as soon as possible. He is definitely going to miss the Villarreal game and then we will see how it goes.
“The priority is not that he is ready for a specific game but that he recovers properly. He is an important loss as the match against Villarreal is more than difficult.”
Luis Enrique was happy with the side’s performance against Bate especially in the second half when Neymar and Luis Suárez wrapped up the scoring following the Brazilian’s opener from the penalty spot after 30 minutes. The Barcelona coach said: “Generally I think we played well, obviously we could have been better and a lot worse. Maybe we lacked better link-up play in the final third but at the same time the opposition did not cause us problems.
“We played better in the second half where we were moved the ball around well and put them under a lot of pressure.”