NEWS
Saturday November 18 2017
Suarez back with a brace

Luis Suarez's first League goals in over a month fired Barcelona to a 3-0 victory over Leganes on Saturday.

See how the action unfolded at Butarque with our liveblog!

Suarez's brace and a fourth goal of the season for Paulinho sent Barca 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid before the Derbi, although they had Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for keeping Leganes at bay.

Paco Alcacer kept his place on the right of the Catalans' front three after his brace against Sevilla a fortnight ago, but Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti were preferred to Thomas Vermaelen in central defence, despite both being one yellow card away from one-match bans.

Nordin Amrabat, meanwhile, passed a late fitness test to lead Leganes' forward line, having returned from helping Morocco qualify for the World Cup with a knock.

Los Pepineros had La Liga's joint-best defence until two games ago, and it was them who had the better chances in the first half.

Amrabat skipped past Nelson Semedo down the left, before teeing himself up for a shot on the edge of Barca’s penalty area, but he couldn’t keep his curler down.

Jordi Alba – on the back of his two goals for Spain during the international break – got in behind down the left, but his cutback at the byline was blocked for a corner, which Lionel Messi slashed over from only a few yards out.

Nonetheless, Ivan Cuellar could only spill a cross directly in front of Suarez, who made no mistake from a yard out to end his five-game drought in La Liga.

Pique appeared to engage in a 50-50 with Amrabat, but the decision went the Moroccan’s way and the defender harshly saw yellow, ruling him out of the Blaugrana’s next League game against Valencia.

Amrabat’s movement and vision proved a real handful for Barca as he slipped Alexander Szymanowski in behind, with only Ter Stegen to beat, but the winger’s curling finish was majestically turned around the post by the goalkeeper.

Claudio Beauvue, on for the second half, was immediately sent away in the clear with only Ter Stegen to beat after he sped through Barca’s offside trap, but his half-volleyed finish was straight at the goalkeeper.

If the miss wasn’t bad enough, Alcacer soon ran on to Messi’s perfectly-weighted through ball down the left of Leganes’ box, but despite his shot being parried away by Cuellar, Suarez volleyed in the rebound.

At the other end, Amrabat shook off Pique in Barca’s box, but Ter Stegen positioned himself perfectly once more to keep out the winger’s one-on-one finish.

The Uruguayan, meanwhile, was denied his hat-trick by a block on his goal-bound shot in Lega’s penalty area, but Aleix Vidal scuffed the rebound wide.

Suarez then conjured up a curler from the left after Messi had drilled a low strike at Cuellar, but it was batted away by the custodian.

However, he could do nothing about Paulinho poking home in stoppage time, the Brazilian having been expertly teed up by Messi, who plugged away at Cuellar’s near post.

Leganes 0-3 Barcelona

Suarez 28, 60, Paulinho 90

Leganes: Cuellar; Zaldua, Munoz, Siovas (Raul Garcia 79), Diego Rico; Ruben, Gabriel; El Zhar, Eraso (Beauvue 46), Szymanowski (Gumbau 66); Amrabat

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Vidal 59), Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Paulinho 59); Alcacer, Messi, Suarez (Alcacer 82)

Referee: Undiano Mallenco

Football Italia website