Neymar-Messi show starts in Thailand
BANGKOK - Agence France-Presse
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (L) and his team mate Neymar clap for their new coach Gerardo Martino before the Joan Gamper trophy soccer match against Santos at the Nou Camp in Barcelona August 2, 2013.Brazilian wonderkid Neymar scored his first goal in Barcelona colours as the Catalan giants swatted aside Thailand 1-7 in a friendly in Bangkok on Wednesday. Spain international Pedro notched a neat hat-trick, while Argentine superstar Lionel Messi scored a brace -- including one from the penalty spot -- in a first half appearance that draw screams of adulation from the near 50,000-capacity crowd at Bangkok’s Rajamangala stadium.
Alexis Sanchez scored the visitor’s seventh and final goal as a second half substitute as new manager Gerardo Martino watched his charges cruise to a routine win over a plucky but callow Thai side. Thailand’s star striker Teerasil Dangda scored a consolation penalty in the last minute of the first-half following a bungled recovery tackle by young Cameroonian centre-half Frank Bagnack. But all eyes were on Barca’s flamboyant new signing Neymar, who was this week reportedly diagnosed with anaemia, and his partnership up front with four-time world player of the year Messi.
‘They complete each other’
Martino said the pair will compliment each other, as Barca look to a reshaped front line to spearhead a defence of their La Liga crown and banish last season’s Champions League humbling by Bayern Munich. “They are different players but I think they showed a good understanding today,” the former Paraguay coach said. “They found each other well.” The Blaugrana’s 57 million euros headline summer signing showed no sign of his apparent blood illness in a lively 45 minutes, the highlight of which was his landmark goal from close range on 12 minutes, sparking the rout as Barca cruised to a 5-1 half-time lead.