A Lionel Messi-less Barcelona claimed a 4-1 win over Granada to ensure the gap to leaders Real Madrid stays at two points.
The score hints at a routine victory for Luis Enrique’s side, but they were pushed all the way by the home side who had a chance of claiming something from the match until the sending off of Uche Agbo with just 10 minutes left to play.
That allowed Barcelona to score twice late on after opening goals from Luis Suarez and substitute Paco Alcacer, with Neymar and an own-goal rounding off the result.
Now Enrique’s side prepare to face Sevilla on Wednesday evening with the Spanish title race coming into the final stretch. Messi will be back for that fixture as Barcelona return to something nearing full strength.
Will Paco Alcacer be a key figure for Barcelona this month? Barcelona face nine games in a hectic April as the final stretch of the season starts to come into sight. That strain will take its toll on Enrique’s relatively small squad and so rotation will be required. It was required this evening, with Alcacer coming on to replace Rafinha after only 15 minutes. The striker contributed a goal and an assist, so could he come in handy this month with so many games to be played?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Neymar (Barcelona) With Messi sidelined through suspension it was up to Neymar to inspire Barcelona, and that’s exactly what he did. The Brazilian was at the heart of everything the Catalans did well, grabbing a goal of his own in stoppage time to distinguish his performance. The question of how Barca would cope without Messi was answered by Neymar - quite well.
Granada - Ochoa 8, Foulquier 6, Saunier 6, Lomban 5, Silva 5, Hector 5, Angban 6, Agbo 4, Wakaso 5, Pereira 6, Kravets 5. Subs - Ramos 5, Cuenca 5, Boga 7.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 5, Roberto 6, Mascherano 5, Mathieu 6, Alba 7, Busquets 5, Gomes 5, Rakitic 7, Rafinha 3, Suarez 8, Neymar 8. Subs - Iniesta 6, Alena 5, Alcacer 8.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Suarez and Neymar lead Barca to win at Granada