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Suarez and Rakitic help Barcelona to climb to the top of the table in La Liga

Photo: Getty Images
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Luis Enrique’s men were dominant in the Catalan derby against Espanyol and goals from Suarez and Rakitic puts them back to the top.

Barcelona had to win to stay in the title race with Real Madrid, as the Los Blancos had won their match against Valencia. Luis Enrique’s men had the pressure of winning the match as Real Madrid has played a match less than them.

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But Messi and Co. were eager for a victory to reach the top of the table in the Catalan derby. Suarez’s brace a Rakitic’s cool finish gave a 3-0 win for Barca and it puts them right at the top of the table.

1st half

Espanyol had a decent start and they could have had they lead within 6 minutes into the match as Jurado could not hit the target from 10 yards from a perfect Caicedo pass.

Although Espanyol had a better start but Barca was soon up to the task as Neymar who was in the starting XI after the 3- match ban created space, but his goalbound shot was blocked by David Lopez.

Barca characteristically dominated possession but Espanyol’s defence was pretty organised and rock solid, and hence in spite of having the ball for longer periods of time they could not find a way to score.

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Neymar was the shinning light for Barca in the first half. As the best chance, they created when Neymar’s perfect cross reached Roberto, who was unmarked at the far post but unfortunately he could only direct his header to the side netting.

Neymar continued his brilliance when he tried a first-time shot from Suarez’s clever pass but his shot went wide.

2nd half

Espanyol’s defence was broken 5 minutes into the 2nd half when Jurado’s needless back pass was intercepted by Suarez and he calmly sends it past Diego Lopez.

Espanyol’s defence was again wide opened when Neymar dribbled past several defenders and had a shot from the by-line but Diego Lopez produced a fabulous save to prevent the Brazilian from scoring.

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Jurado looked to compensate for his mistakes earlier but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was up to his task when he reacted quickly to save a stunning volley from the Espanyol midfielder.

The Host lost all the hopes of a comeback in the 76th minute when Messi showed his class and with his quick feet, he tore past the Espanyol defence and pushed it to Rakitic. The Croat calmy hits it past Diego Lopez to double the lead for Barca.

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Things were not over yet, as the tough night for Quique Sánchez Flores’ men was made even tougher when Suarez was alert to react to Aaron Martin’s mistake and he scored the 3rd goal for Barca in the dying minutes of the match.

Barcelona ended the match on a high, as things are looking good for them. Suarez with a brace was good this evening. But the pick of the players were mainly Messi and Neymar as gave all sorts of trouble to the Espanyol defenders.

All in all, the title looks open and Barca after this win are back to the top of the table but Real Madrid will certainly look to capitalise on the extra game they have in hand.

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