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Luis Suárez scored once in each half as FC Barcelona got back into the victory column with what turned out to be a costly 2–1 victory over UD Las Palmas at Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. Despite the win — which put the Catalans back at the top of the league table pending the outcomes of the rest of Saturday’s matches — Lionel Messi left the game after ten minutes of play and did not return.
Jonathon Viera got one back for Las Palmas in the 87th minute, depriving both Barça and goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen of a clean sheet.
The game was barely underway when Messi’s third-minute run ended in a saved shot and some fortuitous knee-to-knee contact. The striker left the field briefly only to return moments later. But in the 10th minute the Argentinian decided he could no longer continue, and promptly took a seat on the grass at midfield, an ominous sign that his day was over. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner abandoned the pitch under his own power, however, with nary a limp nor any other sign of a serious injury, and was replaced by Munir El Haddadi.
Following the game analysis revealed a torn medial collateral ligament in Messi’s left knee. The injury is expected to keep him out between seven and eight weeks.
Unaware of the bad news awaiting them, Luis Enrique’s eleven forged ahead. Suárez’s first goal of the day got FC Barcelona on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when the striker outleaped a pair of defenders and nodded home a gorgeous cross, served up courtesy of Sergi Roberto. Munir astutely dragged a pair defenders away from the back line, thereby opening up space for Roberto. The wing-back took Munir's drop pass and sent the killer cross to Suárez, who made it count.
Although Suárez put Barça up in the first half, it was the striker’s second goal of the day that ended up providing the difference.
Less than ten minutes after halftime Munir got involved again, rolling a cross through the penalty area, where an open Sergio Busquets cleverly let it roll straight through his legs and on to Suárez, who was waiting alone on the far side. And boy did Suárez clean up, one-timing a blast out of the reach of Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas and into the upper left corner of the net for a two-goal lead.
Ten minutes later, in the 64th, Barça had a golden opportunity to put the game away but couldn’t convert. Suárez was tripped up in the Las Palmas area but Neymar, who was tasked with the spot kick rocketed the ball over the bar.
With the clock ticking down and Barça looking primed for the shutout, Viera got Las Palmas on the board with a shot that deflected off defender Gerard Piqué and into the goal, a helpless Ter Stegen looking on from his seat on the goal line.
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