BARCELONA (Sporting Alert) — A brace by star forward Neymar guided Barcelona to a comfortable 5-0 victory over Elche in their Spanish Copa del Rey last 16 first leg matchup at Camp Nou on Thursday.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba were also on the scoresheet as Luis Enrique side cruised to the comfortable win on the night.
After a slow buildup to the game, Barcelona exploded with three goals before the halftime interval, as Neymar, Suarez and Messi netted five-minutes apart in a busy last 15 minutes of the first half.
Neymar opened the scoring for the home side in the 35th minute when he finished off a buildup play that had also involved Messi and Suarez.
Five minutes later Suarez fired home Barca’s second goal of the contest after he picked up a through pass from midfield, turned his marker and then slotted home.
Messi made it 3-0 just before the break after sending goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Neymar was brought down inside the penalty area on a one-and-one break-away and Messi made no mistake.
By the end of the first 45 minutes, it was evident the game was all but over, as the Barcelona defenders had little work to do on the defensive end.
Nevertheless, the hosts went in search of more goals and were rewarded in the 56th minute when Messi found Alba with a delightful through ball and the Spanish left-back cut inside and then fired under the keeper for a 4-0 lead.
Neymar wrapped things up on the hour mark with a stunning strike from outside the 18-yard box.
The Brazilian was later replaced by Pedro, who missed a glorious chance to add to the score in the second half.
Barcelona, who looks well set to move into the quarterfinals, will meet either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in that round.
Atletico leads the tie 2-0 after their win at home on Wednesday night.