Madrid, Feb 18 (IANS) FC Barcelona made sure they will retain their seven-point lead at the top of the Liga Santander whatever happens during the rest of the weekend when they won a tough game 2-0 away to Eibar.
Eibar had suffered just one defeat in their last 12 games, but had lost their previous seven meetings against Barca and that trend continued thanks to goals from Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba in the Ipurua Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.
The game on Saturday had promised to be one of Barca’s toughest away trips between now and the end of the season and Eibar provoked a series of early corners, the last of which saw Ter Stegen getting hold of an Ivan Ramis header.
Barca took the lead in the 16th minute when the Leo Messi/Luis Suarez combination worked again as Messi set up Suarez to net his 17th league goal of the season. It was the 11th time Messi has given an assist to his team-mate this season.
Fabian Orellana was inches away from equalizing minutes later with a long range shot that rattled the Barca crossbar, while Joan Jordan and Dani Garcia both went close for the home side and Paulinho responded for Barca.
The second half started with Suarez firing over when once again set up by Messi and Barca’s task was made a lot easier in the 65th minute when Fabian Orellana, who had already been booked, saw a second yellow card for punching the ball away in protest at a decision and Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar followed him into the dressing room for his protests less than two minutes later.
The loss of a key player took a lot of Eibar’s attacking capability away from them, but it was not until the 88th minute that Alba secured the points as he popped up at the far post to score from an Aleix Vidal pass.