Barcelona provisionally went top of La Liga for the first time since October after Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi scored in a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday although the win was overshadowed by a serious injury to Aleix Vidal.
Suarez turned in a cross from Vidal in the 37th minute to give Barca the lead over the Basques, who they will meet in the King’s Cup final, and Neymar pounced on an error from goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco in the 40th.
Messi hit the ball under a hapless Pacheco for the third in the 59th minute to complete a full house for the ‘MSN’ trident, while an own goal by Alexis Ruano, a thumping strike from Ivan Rakitic and a volley by Suarez completed the rout.
The Uruguayan, who was sent off at the end of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid which sealed Barca’s place in the King’s Cup final, move one goal ahead of Messi at the top of the league’s scoring charts with 18 strikes.
A brilliant outing for Luis Enrique’s side turned sour, however, when Vidal was left writhing in pain from a harrowing ankle injury sustained in a challenge from Theo Hernandez with five minutes remaining.
Barca top the standings on 48 points although Real Madrid, second on 46 and having played three games less than the Catalans, can return to top spot when they visit basement club Osasuna later on Saturday.