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FC Barcelona resumed their LaLiga campaign with a 3-0 away victory against Leganés on Saturday in their second ever visit to the Butarque. Ernesto Valverde’s men maintained their lead over the chasing pack with an impressive victory secured thanks to a poacher’s brace from Suárez and a Paulinho goal late on. Barça have now played twelve, won eleven and drawn one.
The first half kicked off with a spell of possession for the blaugranas. This settled them down quickly and they looked strong in the tackle and confident on in possession. Suárez had the ball in the back of the net within the first five minutes but Jordi Alba was deemed to be fractionally offside. Leganés were finding it hard to cope with the fluid movement from Barça’s front three of Álcacer, Messi and Suárez.
Amrabat had a good chance following a lapse in concentration from Rakitic. Leganés’ player squeezed past the back-pedalling Piqué and Rakitic but he ended up sending his curling effort high and wide.
Umtiti responded with a surging run from central defence which ended up fizzling out but Barça once again swarmed around the home side and regained possession almost immediately. Soon after, the productive Alba probed dangerously and won a corner which came to nothing.
Suárez gets his reward
In the 28th minute, a penalty appeal was turned down as Iniesta won the ball in his own box. Then Barça broke rapidly, Busquets played a magnificent ball over the defence to Alcácer who fired in a cross-shot. The keeper Cuellar could only palm it out and Suárez was there to rifle into the net from close range for his side’s opener which was richly deserved following his excellent start to the match.
The Uruguayan scored for the first time since his goal against Atlético on 14 October. He ended a goal-scoring drought lasting 479 minutes, which is the longest he had gone without finding the back of the net since he joined the Club.
Almost immediately after, Piqué picked up a card which rules him out of Sunday’s crucial game against Valencia. Leganés responded well to falling behind and they looked for an equaliser. Szymanowski had a go but his effort was well saved by the impressive Ter Stegen.
Uruguayan at the double
The game was tight with little to choose between the two in the opening fifteen of the second half. There were plenty of niggly challenges. Valverde saw the need to shake thing up with Aleix Vidal and Paulinho replacing Semedo and Iniesta.
The substitutions paid off immediately as FC Barcelona doubled their lead with Suárez scoring his second of the night. Paco Álcacer was involved once again as Cuellar parried another one of his shots and Suárez reacted sharply to finish acrobatically, with the help of a deflection, in the 60th minute.
Barça looked comfortable following the second goal as they deflated the home side’s purposeful start to the second half. La Masia product Gerard Gumbau came on for Leganés as the home side looked to get back in the game.
The blaugranas should have had a third but Paulinho and Messi’s intelligent build up play was spurned as Aleix Vidal snatched at a great chance with his effort going high and wide from close range. Paulinho made no mistake as he poked home a scrappy third following Leganés’ inability to clear the ball as Messi came to life in the dying minutes set the Brazilian up.
Barça head into a crucial week, with Wednesday’s Champions’ League group stage clash against Juventus in Italy at 8.45pm CET and a league game against high-flying Valéncia at 8.45pm CET on Sunday, in a positive frame of mind as they sit top of the table in both La Liga table and Group D.
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