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scored two goals and set up another
yesterday to help mark the debut
of Neymar and Barcelona coach
Gerardo Martino in a 7-0 thrashing
of Levante, ensuring the Spanish
champions start their title defence
With signature signing Neymar
watching from the bench, Messi
almost single-handedly dismantled
the overmatched Levante.
After Alexis Sanchez opened the
scoring, Messi claimed Barcelona s
second goal, stole possession to cre-
ate the third, and passed for Pedro
Rodriguez to score the fourth.
Messi scored his second goal from
the penalty spot before Xavi Her-
nandez made it 6-0 against the
demoralized visitors just before half-
Neymar, who has been recovering
from anemia since his €57 million
move from Santos in the offseason,
went on in the second half in time
to see Pedro strike again and polish
off the lopsided victory.
The applause Neymar received
when warming up grew to a standing
ovation when he went on for Alexis
in the 64th for his first official min-
utes in Barcelona s burgundy and
Those eager to see Neymar and
Messi together were disappointed,
however. The two were only on
together for seven minutes before
Martino sent Andres Iniesta on for
The 21-year-old Neymar was
active on the left flank but couldn t
find his new teammates with crosses.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved his
best chance before he was booked
Later, Carlo Ancelotti will take
charge of a Real Madrid team
embarking on a new era after three
seasons under Jose Mourinho in a
match against Real Betis. Also, Atleti-
co Madrid visits Sevilla and Osasuna
Martino was hired in a rush last
month to replace Tito Vilanova after
he announced he was stepping down
to focus on his fight against a recur-
rent throat tumor. But despite a hec-
tic preseason and little preparation
time, Barcelona s talented squad
made the Argentine manager s first
game in Europe an easy stroll.
Barcelona made a bright start by
scoring in the third minute through
one of its trademark passing com-
binations that turned the flatfooted
Levante defence into onlookers.
After Javier Mascherano recovered
possession, Xavi used one touch to
redirect Pedro s pass through the
defence to Cesc Fabregas, who gen-
erously laid off for Alexis to tap into
the open goalmouth.
Messi netted the hosts second
goal in the 12th after Fabregas started
the move with a nifty chested pass
to free up Messi to work a one-two
with Pedro before slotting the ball
home. Messi s defence produced the
third in the 24th. The four-time
world player of the year chased down
David Navarro and stole the ball near
the corner flag to begin another
weave of passes that ended with
Dani Alves knocking in a rebound.
Far from done, Messi showed off
his passing skills two minutes later
by serving a perfectly weighted long
ball for Pedro to fire beyond Navas.
Levante couldn t help but add to
its own demise when Pedro Lopez
fouled Adriano just inside the area,
letting Messi drill in the spot kick
in the 41st. Xavi poked in the sixth
goal in the 45th. Barcelona appeared
to be on course to break its record
for a biggest win---10-1 over Gim-
nastic in 1949-50---but had to settle
for seven with Fabregas squaring for
Pedro to record his second goal of
the night in the 73rd.
Messi does it all in Barca romp
substitute Jonas Hofmann scored
one goal and earned a penalty in
an unconvincing 2-1 win over pro-
moted Eintracht Braunschweig in
the Bundesliga yesterday.
Seven minutes after coming on,
Hofmann broke the deadlock with
15 remaining when he played a one-
two with Mats Hummels and scored
off the far post from a tight angle.
The 21-year-old midfielder went
down under Ermin Bicakcic s chal-
lenge to earn the penalty. Marco
Reus converted the spot kick in the
Braunschweig s consolation in
the 89th came from Kevin Kratz,
though his effort from Mirko
Boland s corner took a deflection
off Robert Lewandowski.
"Give it gas and have fun," Hof-
mann said about his instructions
from Juergen Klopp, who celebrated
his 100th victory as Dortmund
It was the first time since Klopp
took over in 2008 that Dortmund
started the season with two wins.
Offseason signing Henrikh Mkhi-
taryan made his Bundesliga debut,
but was twice thwarted on the line
by Braunschweig goalkeeper Daniel
Davari in the second half.
"The most important thing today
was that we won the game," Mkhi-
Dortmund started well, domi-
nating possession and not allowing
Braunschweig any space or time on
the ball, but once the visitors had
weathered the storm, Klopp s side
seemed to run out of ideas.
Indeed, Norman Theuerkauf
nearly scored in a rare burst forward
for Braunschweig in the 33rd, when
his volley from a rebound flew nar-
rowly wide of the right post.
Braunschweig remained well-
organised defensively after the
break, but Dortmund increased the
pressure and the breakthrough,
when it came, was deserved.
Braunschweig was left to rue the
second defeat in as many games on
its return to the Bundesliga after
Earlier, Japan midfielder Hiroshi
Kiyotake struck late to salvage a 2-
2 draw for Nuremberg over Hertha
Berlin, denying the newly promoted
visitors two wins from two games.
Kiyotake scored with a free kick
in the 89th minute, 10 minutes after
a penalty from substitute Ronny
looked to have given Hertha its first
win in Nuremberg for a decade.
Nuremberg striker Josip Drmic
opened the scoring in the 40th,
when Daniel Ginczek did well to
hold off two defenders and set him
up. Ginczek had already struck the
post with a header.
Sami Allagui equalised with a
deflected effort in the 61st, when
his shot bounced off Berkay Daban-
li s chest beyond Nuremberg goal-
keeper Raphael Schaefer .
Hertha midfielder Alexander
Baumjohann had the chance to
make it 2-1 minutes later, only to
shoot straight at Schaefer.
Baumjohann was somewhat for-
tunate to be on the pitch, after
shoving Javier Pinola in the face in
retaliation as the two went head-
to-head in disagreement. Both play-
ers were shown yellow cards in the
53rd. They were involved again for
Hertha s penalty, as Baumjohann
went down under Pinola s chal-
Dortmund beats Braunschweig 2-1 in Bundesliga
Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer, center, and Dortmund's Kevin Grosskreutz, right, and Braunschweig's Marcel Correia
of Portugal challenge for the ball during a German soccer Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and
Eintracht Braunschweig in Dortmund, Germany, yesterday. AP PHOTO
FC Barcelona's Daniel Alves, from Brazil, left, reacts after scoring with his teammates Adriano, from Brazil, second
left, Gerard Pique, second right, and Lionel Messi, from Argentina, against Levante during a Spanish La Liga soccer
match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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