Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas
Las Palmas 1 - 4 Barcelona

Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas

Neymar struck a hat trick as Barcelona stayed top of La Liga with a 4-1 victory away to Las Palmas.

Barcelona matched Real Madrid's victory over Sevilla to be level with their rivals on 87 points.

They remain top of the league by virtue of having a better head-to-head record in their meetings with Real this season.

But Real have a game in hand as they travel to Celta Vigo on Wednesday before the final round of matches next weekend.

Lionel Messi took a back seat for once as Neymar claimed a first Barcelona hat-trick since October 2015, with Luis Suarez also on target.

Defender Pedro Bigas had given the hosts hope when he made it 2-1, and Las Palmas were adamant that Barcelona should have been reduced to 10 men in the eighth minute.

The game burst into life when Las Palmas forward Jese latched on to a through ball and he was hauled down just outside the area by Lucas Digne.

The France full-back was the last Barcelona defender and a red card looked inevitable.

But to the dismay of furious Las Palmas supporters Digne was shown only a yellow card and stayed on the pitch.

Las Palmas' sense of injustice grew when Barcelona took the lead after 25 minutes, although Neymar's 17th goal of the season was superbly crafted.

Sergio Busquets' outrageous drag-back and back-heel found Andres Iniesta, and the midfielder set Suarez free with a pass from the outside of his right foot.

Suarez scampered through and drew goalkeeper Javi Varas to hand Neymar the simplest of tap-ins.

Neymar repaid the compliment two minutes later when his brilliant pass found Suarez, the Uruguayan nonchalantly lifting the ball over Javi Varas for his 36th goal of the season.

Roque Mesa brought a low save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal before half-time.

And Las Palmas continued to grow in confidence even though Messi might have extended the Catalans' lead after the restart.

Ter Stegen used his legs to foil Jese, but he had no answer when Bigas brought the ball out of defence and continued his run into the Barcelona penalty area.

Kevin-Prince Boateng cut his cross back into a dangerous area and there was Bigas to divert the ball home past Ter Stegen.

Barcelona had been guilty of taking their foot off the accelerator, but Las Palmas' goal shook them back into action within four minutes.

Ivan Rakitic's cross missed Suarez at the near post, but not the attentive Neymar who guided his header home past Javi Varas.

The Brazilian completed his treble after 71 minutes when he finished another sweeping move involving Rakitic and Jordi Alba from a tight angle.

Neymar and Messi almost added further goals in the closing stages, but Barcelona know the destiny of the title is out of their hands.

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