Luis Suarez’s scored his 17th LaLiga goal of the season and helped Barcelona return to winning ways with a hard-earned 2-0 win at 10-man Eibar.
On the back of consecutive league draws against Espanyol and Getafe, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde resisted the urge to shuffle his pack and named an XI it would be no surprise to see line up for Tuesday’s Champions League match at Chelsea.
It was just as well, with Barca forced to repel wave after wave of attacks from Jose Luis Mendilibar’s relentlessly high-pressing side.
Respite arrived courtesy of Suarez’s well-taken 16th-minute goal, which was beautifully created by Lionel Messi’s left boot.
Messi hit the post after Eibar’s Fabian Orellana, although the gifted but temperamental Chilean right-winger undermined the hosts’ efforts by receiving his third red card in 12 appearances against Barca midway through the second half.
Remarkably, that did not check Eibar’s ambition but Jordi Alba was able to seal the points a minute from time.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Eibar: Dmitrovic, Orellana, Diop (Escalante 74), Ramis (Lomban H-T), Inui, Pena, Dani Garcia, Cote, Kike Garcia, Arbilla, Jordan (Charles 83)
Bookings: Orellana (2), Diop
Red Cards: Orellana 66
Subs not used: Riesgo, Capa, Alejo, Leon
Barcelona: ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto (Semedo 90), Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Paulinho (Aleix Vidal 74), Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta (Coutinho 63), Suarez, Messi
Goals: Suarez 16, Alba 87
Subs not used: Cillessen, Dembele, Digne, Yerry Mina
Valverde’s team have now equalled a club record by going 31 LaLiga games unbeaten and enjoy a 10-point lead at the summit, at least until Atletico Madrid host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.