EIBAR: Barcelona got back to winning ways on Saturday after two consecutive draws, earning a 2-0 victory at Eibar thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba to move 10 points clear at the top of the Liga standings.
Suarez latched on to a pass from Lionel Messi to dribble round the home side’s goalkeeper and slot into an empty net in the 16th minute, while Messi hit the woodwork later in the game, as did Eibar’s Fabian Orellana, who was sent off with 25 minutes remaining for a second booking.
Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar was also dismissed later for angry protests against referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez.
Elsewhere in La Liga Valencia produced a quick-fire turnaround to win 2-1 at basement club Malaga and ensure they will end the weekend in third place, while Sevilla warmed up for their Champions League game with Manchester United next week by beating Las Palmas 2-1.
At Eibar Messi’s incisive ball to Suarez put him level with Real Madrid great Michel as the joint-top assist provider in the history of La Liga, with 147 goal-creating passes.
Messi was also involved when Barca finally made the most of their extra man in the 88th minute, running towards goal and into Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic, allowing Alba to sidefoot the loose ball into the near corner with his weaker right foot.
Alba’s goal, which he celebrated by sucking his thumb in dedication to his new-born son, sealed Barca’s first win in three games after surprise successive draws against Espanyol and Getafe, which had cut their lead at the top of the league from 11 to seven points.
The hard-fought win takes Barca on to 62 points for the season, 10 above nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, who play Athletic Bilbao at home on Sunday. Champions Real visit Real Betis the same day.