Barcelona, March 2 (IANS) FC Barcelona routed lowly Sporting Gijon 6-1 in a game that was short on drama and was quickly overshadowed by the announcement that the Catalans' head coach Luis Enrique will be stepping down at the end of the season.
Barcelona were scarcely troubled at Camp Nou here on Wednesday by a team in danger of relegation, getting the opening goal from Argentine superstar Lionel Messi just eight minutes into the contest and a second goal three minutes later, reports Efe.
Sporting clawed one back in the 21st minute on a goal by striker Carlos Castro, but Barcelona quickly shrugged off that temporary setback when a mistake by defender Jean-Sylvain Babin set up Luis Suarez for a goal off a volley shortly before the half-hour mark.
Barcelona then piled on in the second half with three more goals, the most remarkable of which was a sublime free kick from a tight angle by Neymar in the 66th minute.
With the win, Barcelona moved into first place in the La Liga standings with 57 points and surprisingly were not leapfrogged by Real Madrid, who had to rally for a 3-3 draw Wednesday night against Las Palmas.
The Blancos, however, are just one point behind and have a game in hand.