Suarez and Rakitic on form as Barcelona do enough to see off Granada

Luis Suarez starred for the second time in a week as Barcelona returned to winning ways in la Liga on Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win away at Granada. 

Sam Marsden

They'd already followed up last weekend's surprise defeat to Malaga with a win at Manchester City in the Champions League, but it was vital not to concede any more ground to Real Madrid in the title race.

Suarez, along with Ivan Rakitic, was involved in all three goals, scoring one, with Rakitic and Lionel Messi adding the other two.

Granada's goal came via Fran Rico's penalty after Marc Bartra had brought down Lass Bangoura. 

The home side were previously unbeaten in six matches at Nuevo Estadio los Cármenes, but Barça's away form has been good since they lost at Real Sociedad at the beginning of January. 

Since then, Luis Enrique's side have now won all seven of their road trips

Coming off the back of the win in Manchester, plus with Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final with Villarreal around the corner, there were subtle changes to the lineup.

Marc Bartra came in for the suspended Gerard Pique, while Jeremy Mathieu took Javier Mascherano's place, who in turn pushed forward into Sergio Busquet's space.

Xavi Hernandez came in for Andres Iniesta and Claudio Bravo returned for Marc-Andre ter Stegen. 

It was an open game to begin with, with both teams creating chances, although neither side were able to take advantage of the space they were both enjoying. 

The first real moment of danger came from Xavi, whose lashed shot was tipped over by former Barça stopper Oier Olazabal. 

Moments later, Barça led. 

Suarez burst into space on the left, but his tame shot was probably dragging wide. 

However, Juan Cala made a mess of the clearance and teed up Rakitic, who arrived on time to drive the ball into the back of the open goal. 

Bravo had to be alive to deny Javi Marquez an equaliser and Messi saw a volley dip over, but it was the Suarez-Rakitic connection which brought the game's second goal

This time Rakitic was the provider, weighting a perfect ball for the Uruguayan to latch on to and stub home his 10th goal of the season

Almost immediately, Granada were handed a penalty, which Rico converted.

Lass had skipped inside Dani Alves too easily, leaving Bartra exposed, and the Guinean took full advantage of Bartra's outstretched leg.

Neymar was then booked -- meaning he'll miss next weekend's game with Rayo Vallecano, but will not need to worry about missing El Clasico -- and then Messi sealed the points

Although it wasn't a goal Messi will particularly remember. 

Suarez sprinted onto Raktic's pass, again, rounded Oier and then turned down an empty goal, instead rolling the ball to Messi, who was marginally offside, to tap home. 

Messi and Pedro both had chances to make it four late on, but Oier stood tall to ensure the Catalans didn't grab a scoreline which would have flattered them. 


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