Just Like Old Times In Landmark Match For Messi, Suarez & Neymar
The Argentine scored a free-kick for the third game running as the Uruguayan reached 100 goals and the Brazilian ended his scoring drought
As responses go, this one was pretty emphatic. Barcelona had been below par in their first two games so far this year, with Neymar and Luis Suarez particularly under the spotlight. Against Athletic Club, however, it was just like old times for the MSN.
Neymar had not netted since October 19 prior to this game and midway through the first half, he had gone 1,000 minutes without a goal. He has been contributing, though, and averaged almost an assist per match (0.8) before this cup clash.
He looked to have added another when he put through Luis Suarez for the Uruguayan to slot home in the first half, but the strike was wrongly ruled out for offside. Minutes later, however, the same combination put Barca in front. Neymar crossed and Suarez volleyed home his 100th Barca goal - in only his 120th appearance for the Catalan club.
It was also the 300th goal scored by Lionel Messi (124), Suarez (100) and Neymar (76) since the trio started playing together at the start of the 2014-15 campaign. Three hundred goals in two and a half seasons.
Early in the second half Neymar then won a penalty which he converted himself. It was no more than he had deserved in a bright showing and now 2-0 up on the night and 3-2 ahead in the tie, Barca seemed safe.
But a lapse in concentration at the other end by Sergi Roberto allowed Barcelona-born Enric Saborit to head home for Athletic and as extra-time loomed large, there was also the need for caution - because if the Basques scored, Barca would need two.