Barcelona issue title warning to rivals Real Madrid with compelling six-goal thrashing of Sporting Gijon

Barcelona 6 Sporting Gijon 1: The home side's front three all found the back of the net as Luis Enrique's men recorded a comprehensive victory at the Nou Camp

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Barcelona have issued a title warning to fierce rivals Real Madrid with a six-goal rout of Sporting Gijon on Wednesday night.

The home side's front three all found the back of the net as Luis Enrique's men swept past the relegation strugglers to move top of La Liga and keep the pressure on Los Blancos.

Real play later tonight and, with two games in hand, have the chance to reclaim their spot at the top. Nonetheless, Barca's compelling victory at the Nou Camp keeps the side firmly within the title race as they bid to capitalise on Madrid's recent dropped points.

Neymar vies with Sporting Gijon's midfielder Xavi Torres (Getty)

Lionel Messi headed home Barca's opening goal after just nine minutes - his 36th goal in 36 games across all competitions for the club this season.

An own goal by Juan Rodriguez doubled the score before Sporting Gijon's Carlos Castro made it 2-1.

Luis Suarez and substitute Paco Alcacer extended the lead before Neymar's sublime free-kick made it five, with Ivan Rakitic completing the rout.

The current La Liga champions now move two points clear of Real who have the chance to respond tonight as they take on Las Palmas.paco-alcacer

Alcacer celebrates his goal (Getty)

Barca boss Luis Enrique began his career with Sporting and holds them in his affections.

But there was no room for sentiment as Barca took control of the contest with two goals in three first-half minutes.

Javier Mascherano found Messi, who was played onside, and the Argentina forward looped a header over Sporting's advancing goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar.

Suarez doubled the lead shortly afterwards after being found by Neymar's pass.

Luis Enrique started his career at Sporting Gijon (Getty)

The former Liverpool striker rounded Cuellar and squeezed the ball goalwards, only for Sporting's Rodriguez to get the final touch and be credited with the goal.

Sporting pulled a goal back when Castro reacted first after Sergio Alvarez had hit a post.

Suarez swiftly restored Barca's two-goal cushion, netting six minutes later. The Uruguayan struck a vicious volley past Cuellar after Sporting's Jean-Sylvain Babin failed to clear.

Suarez was risking a suspension which would rule him out of the next match with Celta Vigo, so he was replaced at the interval, with Alcacer introduced.

Suarez strikes for Barcelona (Getty)

Messi forced Babin into an error and found the substitute, who struck a fine left-footed shot into the left corner.

Messi clipped a free-kick inches over before himself departing and next Neymar found the net with a set-piece.

From the 'wrong' side for a right-footed strike, Neymar curled the ball over the wall and inside the near post.

Rakitic added a late sixth after combining with Sergi Roberto and finishing emphatically beyond Cuellar.

Additional reporting by PA