Madrid, Nov 5 (IANS) Reigning European champions FC Barcelona assured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a comfortable win to Belarusian team, BATE Borisov. With Leo Messi still absent, Luis Suarez and Neymar once again led the Catalan side to their win on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported. With an important game at home to Villarreal at the weekend, Barca coach Luis Enrique decided to rest Gerard Pique, while Thomas Vermaelen returned to action following his latest injury.
Andres Iniesta also started alongside Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic in the Barca midfield, although Rakitic only lasted 19 minutes on the pitch before he was forced out due to injury and was replaced by Munir. By then, Barca had enjoyed but wasted a pair of chances to score by both Suarez and Neymar. They took the lead against a defensive rival on the half hour after Munir’s shirt was pulled in the BATE penalty area and Neymar stepped up to score from the penalty spot.
The half ended with Barca keeper Ter Stegen showing his defensive skills by seeing the ball out of play by the corner flag The second half saw Suarez and Iniesta both going close with shots which defected wide by defenders, but Suarez was not to be denied on the hour when the ball was touched on by Neymar for him to lose his marker and fire home from just inside the penalty area. Neymar almost added a third before Enrique decided to rest Iniesta, replacing him with Marc Bartra and the Brazilian did indeed seal the win when he netted Barca’s third goal on the break after Suarez had left him with a simple finish.
Here are the higlights of the match: