Luis Suarez and Neymar lead Barca to win at Granada
La Liga, Nuevo Los Cármenes - Granada 1 (Boga 50) Barcelona 4 (Suarez 44, Alcacer 64, Saunier, OG, 83, Neymar 90)
The score hints at a routine victory for Luis Enrique’s side, but they were pushed all the way by the home side who had a chance of claiming something from the match until the sending off of Uche Agbo with just 10 minutes left to play.
That allowed Barcelona to score twice late on after opening goals from Luis Suarez and substitute Paco Alcacer, with Neymar and an own-goal rounding off the result.
Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Alberto Suarez (L) celebrates with defender Jordi Alba after scoring during the Spanish league football match Granada FC vs FC Barcelona at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on April 2, 2017.AFP
Now Enrique’s side prepare to face Sevilla on Wednesday evening with the Spanish title race coming into the final stretch. Messi will be back for that fixture as Barcelona return to something nearing full strength.
Will Paco Alcacer be a key figure for Barcelona this month? Barcelona face nine games in a hectic April as the final stretch of the season starts to come into sight. That strain will take its toll on Enrique’s relatively small squad and so rotation will be required. It was required this evening, with Alcacer coming on to replace Rafinha after only 15 minutes. The striker contributed a goal and an assist, so could he come in handy this month with so many games to be played?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Neymar (Barcelona) With Messi sidelined through suspension it was up to Neymar to inspire Barcelona, and that’s exactly what he did. The Brazilian was at the heart of everything the Catalans did well, grabbing a goal of his own in stoppage time to distinguish his performance. The question of how Barca would cope without Messi was answered by Neymar - quite well.
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva (C) celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Granada FC vs FC Barcelona at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on April 2, 2017.AFP
15’ RAFINHA INJURY! Now another Brazilian seems to have picked up a problem and Barcelona are going to have to make a change here. Alcacer has been told to get ready.
44’ GOAL! Granada 0-1 Barcelona: Barcelona finally have the lead that their first half performance warrants! Suarez is played in behind and makes no mistake in chipping a finish over Ocho, who was off his line.
50’ GOAL! Granada 1-1 Barcelona: Granada are back on level terms! Boga gets on the end of a pass in behind the Barcelona backline and slides a low finish past Ter Stegen and in off the far post. 1-1!
63’ GOAL! Granada 1-2 Barcelona: The away team have regained the lead! Alcacer gets in behind the Granada backline following an excellent pass from Suarez and slides a finish underneath Ochoa to make it 2-1 to Barcelona.
81’ SENT OFF! Granada have been reduced to 10 men, with Agbo shown a second yellow card. Such a shame. They were right in this contest.
83’ GOAL! Granada 1-3 Barcelona: And that will be that for Barcelona. Rakitic controls the ball after a Suarez run and shoots at goal, with the effort carried into the net by a Granada defender.
91’ GOAL! Granada 1-3 Barcelona: This scoreline is rather harsh on Granada now! Alcacer sends the ball to the back post where Neymar is completely unmarked to finish from close range and put some real gloss on this result.
Luis Suarez is the first player to reach double figures for both goals (23) and assists (10) in Europe's top five leagues this season.
Guillermo Ochoa made nine saves against Barcelona, his highest tally ever in a Spanish Liga game.
Neymar became the third Brazilian player to score 100 goals for Barcelona after Rivaldo (130) and Evaristo (105).