Luis Suarez influential in Barcelona win at Granada

Sunday 1st March , 2015 8:57 am

Luis Suarez scored one and created two goals as Barcelona cut the gap to La Liga leaders Real Madrid with victory at Granada.

The Uruguayan’s cross-shot allowed Ivan Rakitic to turn into an empty net for the opener and he doubled the lead, poking home after half-time.

Fran Rico’s penalty gave Granada hope but Suarez rounded the keeper to create a tap-in for Lionel Messi.

Barca are just a point behind Real, who host Villarreal on Sunday at 20:00 GMT.

A win would restore Los Blancos’ four-point cushion and they visit Barcelona on 22 March.

All Luis Enrique’s side can do between now and then is win to keep their title-hopes alive and in facing a Granada side with just one victory in 21 matches, such an outcome was expected.

Granada – 19th in La Liga – have managed just 16 league goals in the campaign, 11 fewer than Messi alone.

But the diminutive Argentine was outshone as Suarez, who scored twice in Barca’s midweek win at Manchester City, took his tally to 10 goals and 14 assists in 24 games since joining the Catalan club.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have scored 49 of Barcelona’s 70 league goals this season

His well-timed run and wild volley across goal gifted Rakitic the first and the goalscorer returned the compliment after the break, sending Suarez clear to stab the ball past the on-rushing keeper.

This was not vintage Barcelona but with Luis Enrique resting key players such as Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Villarreal, his side did enough.

Despite some criticism of Enrique, not least after defeat to Malaga last weekend, his side are still in the hunt for three trophies.

Though Rico’s penalty – awarded when Marc Bartra fouled Lass Bangoura – briefly posed questions, Rakitic and Suarez combined decisively.

The former Liverpool striker raced onto the Croatian’s reverse pass and rounded Granada keeper Oier Olazabal before unselfishly presenting Messi with a tap-in to settle the contest.

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique: “Ever since he arrived, Suarez has been playing top-class football and working very hard. He may look more spectacular now and people are seeing more of him, but he has always been a special player that does a lot for the team.”

Elsewhere in La Liga on Saturday Alberto Bueno scored four goals in 16 minutes as Rayo Vallecano beat Levante, who remain in the bottom three.

Relegation-threatened Almeria and Deportivo La Coruna played out a goalless draw, while Malaga overcame Getafe 3-2.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez volleyed left-footed across goal to create the opening goal for Ivan Rakitic

Oier Olazabal and Luis Suarez

Granada goalkeeper Oier Olazabal could not stop Luis Suarez from rounding him, allowing the striker to create Lionel Messi’s goal

Source: BBC Sport