Barca rely on Neymar and Suarez

Published 10/29/2015, 6:51 AM EDT
Barcelona’s Luis Suarez (L) and Neymar celebrates a goal against Eibar during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, October 25, 2015. REUTERS/Albert Gea


By Tim Hanlon

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REUTERS – A stuttering Barcelona have had to rely on the devastating duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez to fire the goals and keep them on track as the joint La Liga leaders with Real Madrid now prepare to face Getafe away on Saturday.

The Catalan side are missing injured talisman Lionel Messi but the other members of the attacking trident that hit a Spanish record 122 goals between them last season have been able to dig them out of trouble when necessary.

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Last weekend it was Suarez who celebrated a year since his Barca debut with a hat-trick as they had to come from behind to beat a determined Eibar at the Camp Nou.

It was a difficult start for the Uruguayan following his ban for biting during the World Cup in Brazil but he went on to be an integral figure in their treble success last season and now has a return of 35 goals from 57 games.

“I never thought I would win the treble. It is something you would never expect and it has been an incredible year,” Suarez told reporters.

“While Leo is recovering it is good to be scoring and helping the team to win without him.

“This year there is a lot of expectation on the team which is normal because we always want more but to win you need to overcome a lot of obstacles.”

Neymar has been playing in a deeper more creative role and the pair have papered over the cracks with the team lacking their usual slick football and looking fragile at the back.

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Along with Messi, Andres Iniesta and Rafinha are also among the injured while the squad has been stretched by the FIFA transfer ban over the last two windows for illegally signing minors.

The poor display of a second string in a 0-0 draw away to third tier Villanovense in the first leg of their King’s Cup Last 32 tie on Wednesday was further indication that the back-up is unconvincing for coach Luis Enrique.

Meanwhile, Real, who are level with Barca on 21 points from nine games, are also having to overcome injury problems.

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They now face Las Palmas at home hoping that Karim Benzema and Pepe are ready to return but James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal are all set to remain in the treatment room.

(Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by Patrick Johnston)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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