Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
Neymar powered Barcelona’s attack on Sunday, scoring a hat-trick as the Catalans beat Las Palmas 4-1 to keep the La Liga title race alive.
Luis Suarez and Neymar combined to give the Catalans a two-goal lead in the first half, converting some of the few chances the Blaugrana mustered.
Pedro Bigas pulled one back after the break, but two quick goals from Neymar secured the win.
Here’s a look at how both teams lined up:
UD Las Palmas @UDLP_Oficial
¡Nuestro once para el partido de hoy!
#LasPalmasFCB, ¡#VamosUD! https://t.co/RX9yyTLEYT
5/14/2017, 4:59:43 PM
FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona
🔵🔴 Barça XI:
5/14/2017, 4:44:39 PM
Javier Mascherano suffered an injury while warming up, with young defender Marlon replacing him.
Las Palmas have an excellent reputation at home―thanks to the vast distance between the island and the Spanish mainland―but Barcelona dominated from the opening kick on Sunday.
Lionel Messi had a good look on goal early and went close again after six minutes, powering a header over the crossbar. On the other side of the pitch, Lucas Digne was very lucky to escape with just a yellow card for a foul on Jese Rodriguez, who appeared to be through on goal.
DESIREE MARTIN/Getty Images
The resulting free-kick presented no problems for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, one of the few times the German was called into action.
Barcelona’s typical pressure gave the home defenders few problems, but they still fell behind after 25 minutes. Suarez took a pass from Sergio Busquets all the way to the goalkeeper before laying it off for Neymar, who easily tapped home.
Less than two minutes later, the Brazilian returned the favour, with Suarez doubling the lead with a chip. Per WhoScored.com, the Uruguayan added to his impressive tally of goals and assists in the same match with that finish:
Luis Suárez: Has now scored and assisted in eight separate La Liga matches this season, more than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues
5/14/2017, 6:34:38 PM
Barcelona slowed things down after the second goal and allowed Las Palmas space, with Kevin-Prince Boateng testing Ter Stegen again. The remainder of the half passed without too many incidents, however.
The Catalans were undoubtedly eager to learn how title rivals Real Madrid were getting on against Sevilla, prompting this tweet from Bleacher Report Football―Real led by two goals as well:
B/R Football @brfootball
Barcelona checking in on the Real Madrid score at half-time. https://t.co/Hks02wQl5W
5/14/2017, 6:46:49 PM
The Blaugrana pushed for more goals after the break, but the first chance fell to Boateng, who sliced an effort wide. Messi went close shortly after, but his shot took a slight deflection of Mauricio Lemos and just missed the mark.
Former Real star Jese perhaps should have scored after 60 minutes, but somehow, Ter Stegen denied him from close range.
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images
A goal was coming, and Bigas delivered for the hosts, starting the attack and finishing with a slide. But just as things looked up for the hosts and Real, Neymar restored the two-goal advantage.
Per WhoScored.com, the Brazilian is starting to find his shooting boots again:
Neymar: Has scored 2+ goals in a La Liga match for the first time since September (vs Sporting Gijon) #LasPalmasFCB
5/14/2017, 7:24:22 PM
And Neymar wasn’t finished yet. Just four minutes later, he completed his hat-trick with a deflected effort, making the score 4-1.
A series of substitutions followed, and fortunately for the hosts, they took the wind of Barcelona’s sails. The Catalans passed away the time, and Las Palmas were happy not to concede any more goals.
Barcelona finish their season at home against Eibar, while Las Palmas visit Deportivo La Coruna.