Barca’s ‘MSN’ smash Alaves for six

MADRID: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona went top of La Liga for the first time since October with a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday. In a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final, Alaves paid for their semifinal exertions against Celta Vigo in midweek as Barca moved two points ahead of Real Madrid. However, Madrid have three games in hand, starting with a visit to Osasuna later on Saturday.
Barca’s success was overshadowed, though, by violent clashes between fans outside the ground before kick-off which left one supporter in hospital with serious head injuries.
Both sides later released statements condemning the violence. And in another blow to the Catalans, Aleix Vidal was stretchered off with a horrible looking ankle injury just three minutes from time.
“I go away with very good feelings from the football perspective, for the result and the way we achieved it,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique.
“But I am upset by Aleix’s injury, the way it came about and what it means for him.”
Vidal had only recently established himself back in the team after being sidelined by Enrique for the majority of the season. “It is something serious, but we have to wait until the doctors see it and can say,” added Enrique.
On the field, Enrique rotated his squad once more with six changes from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid that secured their place in a fourth consecutive Cup final.
However, despite a trip to Paris Saint-Germain upcoming on Tuesday, Messi, Suarez and Neymar were all included and ran riot.
The visitors had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for not going behind early on with a brilliant one-on-one save from Theo Hernandez. — AFP