Neymar hat-trick lifts Barca spirits | sports | Hindustan Times
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Neymar hat-trick lifts Barca spirits

sports Updated: Dec 13, 2013 00:57 IST

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said his side produced their best display in his time in charge as they ensured top spot in Champions League Group H with a 6-1 thrashing of Celtic on Wednesday.

Gerard Pique opened the scoring for the hosts early on, but thereafter Neymar took centre stage as the Brazilian set up the second goal for Pedro Rodriguez before going onto score his first Barcelona hat-trick.

A deflected effort from Cristian Tello and a late consolation from Giorgios Samaras rounded off the scoring.

Martino was delighted with how his side reacted to recent criticism following defeats away to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao.

"It was the best we have been in these four months in terms of the level of our play, our effectiveness and how we managed to maintain that level. Apart from the last five minutes, we were excellent," he said.

'Anti-football won'
Rome: Ajax coach Frank de Boer said, "Anti-football won," after his team was eliminated from the Champions League football following a 0-0 draw with AC Milan on Wednesday.

Ajax, who needed a win at San Siro to reach the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League, started well with a Christian Poulsen header hitting the post.

After Riccardo Montolivo received a red card for a tackle on Poulsen the home team was reduced to ten men, but Ajax was not able to profit and break the defensive block of Milan.

"It was like theater," Frank de Boer said. "Milan did anything to stretch time, they stretched twenty minutes I think, but referee Howard Webb only added five minutes of extra time. Even the ball boys wasted time, because they never had a ball in their hands. It's a shame. Anti-football won."