Suarez double, Messi magic hand Barca big win
|Source: The Hitavada Date: 20 Dec 2016 09:20:15|
LUIS Suarez celebrated his bumper new five-year Barcelona deal in style with a double as the champions defeated Espanyol 4-1 in the Catalan derby to move to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
However, it was Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi’s skills that stole the show as Barca took advantage of Real’s duties in winning the Club World Cup (on Sunday) to cut the gap at the top ahead of La Liga’s three-week winter break. Iniesta teed up Suarez for an early opener before both Iniesta and Messi showed sublime touches for the second eventually finished off by Suarez.
Messi created Barca’s third as well for Jordi Alba before David Lopez pulled a goal back for Espanyol as their 10-game unbeaten run came to an end.
The five-time World Player of the Year wasn’t to be denied, though, as Messi got the goal his performance deserved a minute from time.
Barca’s upturn in form in recent weeks has coincided with the return of veteran playmaker Iniesta from a six-week injury layoff and the Spanish international was to the fore as the hosts dominated throughout.
Iniesta sparked a sweeping counter-attack on eight minutes involving all three of Barca’s star-studded front-line as he fed Suarez, who spun away from the Espanyol defence, before picking out Neymar and the Brazilian’s low cross was fired inches wide by Messi.
Barca had to wait just 10 minutes more to open the scoring as another sumptuous Iniesta pass was expertly controlled by Suarez and he bore down on goal before slotting into the far corner.
For all their dominance in possession, the champions had to wait till the start of the second period to enjoy more clear chances as Messi curled wide from the edge of the box before he teed up Suarez with a brilliant defence splitting pass.