Suarez, Neymar open up nine-point Barca


Madrid—Barcelona moved nine points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to first-half goals from Luis Suarez and Neymar despite an unconvincing display in a 2-1 win at Las Palmas.
Suarez opened the scoring early on with his 41st goal of the season, but Willian Jose deservedly levelled for the hosts inside 10 minutes.
Neymar restored the lead from close range before the break, but the European champions had to withstand a late onslaught from the Canary Islanders to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 games. Barca’s closest challengers Atletico Madrid can cut the gap when they host Villarreal, whilst third-placed Real Madrid, who are now 10 points adrift of Barca, travel to Malaga on Sunday.
“To win titles you have to suffer and we’ve now had a couple of games away from home where we have struggled,” Suarez told Canal Plus.
“It is always nice to play in a different way and win games easily, but these are the games which win you the league.”
Despite facing Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique rested only Gerard Pique, whilst Sergio Busquets was also suspended from the side that is expected to start at the Emirates. The star trio of Lionel Messi, Suarez and Neymar started once more and bore fruit after just six minutes as Suarez extended his lead over Cristiano Ronaldo as La Liga’s top scorer with his 25th Liga goal of the campaign.
Andres Iniesta’s perfectly weighted pass freed Jordi Alba down the left and his low cross was fired into the roof of the net by Suarez at the back post.
However, just as in their win at Sporting Gijon in midweek, Barca conceded minutes after scoring the opener as Jonthan Viera’s brilliant backheel teed up Jose to drive home the equaliser.
Unlike the majority of Barca’s opponents, Las Palmas were determined to take the game to the visitors, but in doing so left themselves exposed at the back against the most feared attacking trio in the world.—AFP

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