Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Barcelona won 8-0 away to Cordoba to stay in charge of the Liga title race. Lionel Messi scored twice and passed up the chance to complete his hat-trick when he allowed Neymar to take a late penalty.
Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique added the other goals in a rout that confirmed Cordoba’s relegation from La Liga.
Cordoba held out for 41 minutes but folded after Ivan Rakitic broke the deadlock – Barca scored four in 11 minutes either side of half-time to move five points clear of Real Madrid, who play their game in hand on Saturday evening.
Suarez’s prolific form has brought the Uruguayan 17 goals from his last 16 games in all competitions while Messi is now top scorer in the league with 40 goals — one less than Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rakitic volleyed into the roof of the net to give Barca the lead after 42 minutes at Cordoba and then Suarez slotted home in first-half stoppage time.
Messi headed in straight after the restart, with further headers from Suarez and Gerard Pique as Barcelona hit their stride. Messi scored into an open net with 10 minutes to go and then Neymar hit a penalty after he was brought down by defender Adrian Gunino.
Barca showed no mercy with Suarez striking again two minutes from the end to seal a resounding win with three games to go.
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