Barca one step closer to title

Barcelona moved to within touching distance of the Spanish Liga title with a 2-0 win over Alaves that saw Carles Alena and Luis Suarez find the net.

However, a Valencia win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday (yesterday) evening will see the Catalans claim their eighth league title in 11 years, with Ernesto Valverde’s men now holding a 12-point lead at the top of the table.

Barcelona struggled to get going in the first half, although Suarez and Philippe Coutinho both spurned good chances to put the away side ahead. It took until the second half for Barca to break the deadlock, though, with Alena converting a low finish following a wonderful passing move and dummy from Suarez.

The advantage was doubled just minutes later after some VAR confusion. Gerard Pique had initially looked to have made it 2-0 only for the goal to be chalked off for offside, then a penalty awarded for handball. Suarez duly converted from 12-yards.

Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi were brought off the bench, but the game had already been won by that point. Now, Barcelona must wait to find out whether or not they will be crowned champions before their next fixture against Levante on Saturday.

Valverde has made the call to rest Messi at various points over the course of the season. On almost every occasion, Barcelona have needed the Argentinean to come off the bench and rescue them.

However, this time, 2-0 up with 30 minutes left to play, they did not need Messi to bail them. And yet Valverde still chose to throw him on when it surely would have been wiser to rest his best player ahead of some big Champions League fixtures.

– Eurosport

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