BARCELONA (Sporting Alert) — A Neymar brace carried Barcelona to a 2-1 win over Villarreal in La Liga action on Saturday inside the Camp Nou.
With star forward Lionel Messi still out with an injury, Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino trusted Neymar with the freedom to lead the attack.
And the Brazilian opened the scoring from the penalty after a Villarreal player was called for a hand ball inside the 18-yard box in the 28th minute.
He stutter step in his run-up to the ball before firing past the goalkeeper to give the league leaders the advantage.
However, the visitors pulled level at 1-1 through Mateo Musacchio, three minutes into the second half to setup an interesting game.
Neymar was called on again the forward, playing in a more central role, answered with another goal, this time tapping home from close range after being played in by Alexis Sanchez, who beat the offside trap to pick off a pass from Cesc Fabregas in the 68th minute.
The win sees Barcelona going to 43 points, three more than second place Atletico Madrid which plays on Sunday.