Barcelona maintained momentum in the title race in La Liga, hammering Sporting Gijon 6-1 at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Playing a couple of hours before Real Madrid took on Las Palmas, Luis Enrique’s side proved far too strong against his hometown club to move top of the standings, at least momentarily.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez netted either side of a Juan Rodriguez own-goal, although Barca’s recent dalliance with a confusing set up at the back led to a disjointed defensive display, which opened up space for Carlos Castro to score.
Barca’s backline routinely transitioned between a three-man and four-man assembly, with Sergio Busquets particularly being found out for the Sporting goal.
Suarez’s bulleted finish put the strugglers back in their place however, with Paco Alcacer, Neymar and Ivan Rakitic finding the net in the second half as Barcelona cruised to victory.
Barca have now won five home games on the spin in La Liga – their best run in a year – and their surge in form bears similar hallmarks of the title win in Luis Enrique’s tumultuous first season in charge.