Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Neymar scores four goals in Barca rout

REAL DEAL:Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 11th goal of this season and his 324th goal for the club, overtaking Raul Gonzalez as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer

AP, MADRID

Barcelona’s Neymar celebrates after converting a penalty against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid during their La Liga match at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Neymar on Saturday scored four goals and set up another in Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano de Madrid in La Liga, while Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid with a goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory over Levante UD.

The results left the Spanish powerhouses provisionally atop the league standings with 18 points from eight matches, with Madrid ahead on goal difference.

Neymar converted penalty kicks in the 22nd and 32nd minutes after twice being brought down inside the area, then added two more from close range in the 69th and 70th minutes after assists by Luis Suarez. The Uruguay striker netted Barcelona’s fifth goal with a shot from inside the area after a cross by Neymar in the 77th minute.

Javi Guerra had opened the scoring for the visitors at the Camp Nou in the 15th minute, and Jozabed Sanchez scored Rayo’s second goal in the 86th.

Neymar said it was one of his best games with Barcelona since joining the Catalan club two years ago.

“I am very happy because of the victory and because of the way we played,” the 23-year-old Brazil star said. “It is never easy to play against a quality team like Rayo. We did our job and it was a great victory.”

Neymar now leads La Liga scoring chart with eight goals, two more than Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema.

Ronaldo set up a goal and scored another in a three-minute span at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He set up Marcelo’s goal in the 27th minute and scored his own with a well-placed right-footed shot from just outside the area in the 30th. Substitute Jese Rodriguez closed the scoring in the 81st minute.

Barcelona, still without Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta because of injuries, had lost two of their last three league games and needed the victory to avoid losing ground to Real Madrid and Villarreal.

Real also won, despite playing with a depleted squad due to injuries. Coach Rafa Benitez was without defender Sergio Ramos, midfielder Luka Modric and striker Benzema, who has scored six goals in as many league games this season.

“We can take a lot of positives out of today’s game,” Benitez said. “We won 3-0, despite all the problems that we were facing.”

Real were coming off two consecutive draws in La Liga.

Ronaldo scored his 11th goal in all competitions this season.

According to UEFA, it was Ronaldo’s 324th goal for Real, allowing him to surpass Raul Gonzalez’s mark as the club’s all-time leading scorer, but Real credited its player with the feat when he scored in a game last month.

Sociedad Deportiva Eibar held Sevilla to a 1-1 draw, halting the visitor’s two-game winning streak, while Valencia beat Malaga 3-0 and RCD Espanyol won 3-1 at Real Betis Balompie.

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