After 60 scoreless minutes, goals from Xavi, Neymar and Lionel Messi in rapid succession pushed Barcelona past Eibar for their third straight victory Saturday at Camp Nou.
Eibar goalkeeper Xabi Irureta provided an exemplary performance with nine saves off a flurry of 27 Catalans shots, 12 of which were on target, but couldn’t hold off La Liga’s first place squad for long.
With Real Madrid notching five goals earlier in the day and moving up to second, Barcelona needed the three points and several goals to keep their rival at bay. The Catalans now have 22 goals compared to 30 for Madrid on the term.
Eibar had the chance to move into the top 12 of the table with their third victory of the season, but couldn’t matchup against Barcelona’s ceaseless attacking might.
In the 60th, Messi slipped his seventh assist of the term to the right of Irureta’s net to Xavi, who slotted it past for the 1-0 lead and his first goal on the year.
Twelve minutes later, the Catalans exposed the middle of Eibar’s backline with Dani Alves flipping a ball to Neymar for a deflection and some breathing room. However, despite their efforts on defense, Eibar had very little chance to threaten the Catalans with two shots on target.
Messi capped the scoring with his seventh La Liga goal in the 74th minute, starting and ending a fastbreak by working the give-and-go with Neymar and flicking his patented left-footed strike across the Eibar net into the corner.