Barcelona continue their great streak this season and (at least until the end of the Madrid derby later tonight) are incredibly eleven points ahead of Los Blancos. Luis Suárez scored a double to ease the pressure that has been mounting on him for some lackluster performances this season.
Barcelona were without Sergi Roberto, Dembele, Rafinha, Gomes, Vidal, Turan and Mascherano. The Argentinian had picked up a hamstring injury during international dury last Tuesday and will be out for a month. Meanwhile, Leganes were missing Serantes and Omar.
Paco Alcácer who had earned a well-deserved start considering his positive performance against Sevilla before the international break was instrumental in the BlauGrana breakthrough. The first goal came in the 28th minute. Alcácer’s right-wing cross was blocked by Leganés goalkeeper Ivan Cuéllar, but right into the path of a waiting Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan was happy to tuck it in for an opening goal.
Leganes again proved they are no pushover and they came close to equalizing with a curling shot from Szymanowski. Ter Stegen’s save proved why he is the goalkeeper who has conceded the least goals this season in La Liga. Symanowski created a few chances in the last minutes of the first half and it looked like Leganés might be able to stay in the match.
After the break, Leganés continued to be the ones pressuring the visitors. Beauvue found himself one-on-one with Ter Stegen but was unable to pass it through the keeper’s legs. Barcelona slowly started to dominate the match and ten minutes later they had their second goal.
On the hour, Messi chipped the ball into the box for Alcácer. The Spanish striker managed to get a good left-footed shot at Cuéllar considering the awkward bounce, but once again the parry fell to an eager Suárez. His acrobatic shot ended up in the back of Cuéllar’s net. It was clear to see the relief that Suárez felt from his performance today. He has been under immense pressure to improve his goal scoring this season.
Messi was involved in the assist again during the third goal. He passed to Paulinho in the final moments of the match who slot it past Cuéllar to make it 0-3.
After the match Leganes coach Asier Garitano commented, “We are fighting with the big teams, we are doing well but we want more.” He lamented, “it is not enough to have good sensations, we have conceded too many goals, eight in three matches.”
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was also not happy with his team’s performance. “Our game was not bright today, but we had to take the three points and we did that. We can definitely improve.”
As far as the eleven point gap between Barcelona and their el Clásico rivals? Valverde ignored the hype saying, “11 points difference? Nothing special. There are a lot of games left.” The ball is now in Real Madrid’s court as they battle their local rivals in the capital tonight for a chance to stay in the title race.