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Barça stroll to comfortable victory with title on the brink

Pin Luis Suarez scored the penalty to make it 2-0. AFP
Luis Suarez scored the penalty to make it 2-0. AFP

Barça stroll to comfortable victory with title on the brink

Tom Master by Tom Master @besoccer_com - 0 3,413

Barcelona will win La Liga on Wednesday if Atletico Madrid lose to Valencia after a 2-0 victory over Alaves gave them a 12-point lead at the top of the table. Goals from Carles Aleña and a Luis Suarez penalty in the second half gave Barça a comfortable win.

Lionel Messi started on the bench against Alaves as Barça ease to another La Liga title.  its conclusion surely now only a matter of when rather than if.  Messi did come on as a substitute in the 61st minute shortly after his team had scored twice, Carles Aleña guiding one into the corner before Luis Suarez scored a penalty after a VAR review. 

Barça are right to have one eye on the Champions League tie against Liverpool next week, as the title is in the bag. 

Liverpool, still jostling with Manchester City in the Premier League, are unlikely to feel the same sort of confidence when they face Huddersfield on Friday.

Other players were preserved too. Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet and Arthur Melo all began on the bench allowing Samuel Umtiti more minutes as he recovers from a knee injury while the struggling Philippe Coutinho started in a front three with Ousmane Dembele and Suarez.

Alena, the 21-year-old Spaniard, scored his second La Liga goal and showed again why many believe he could be a key figure for Barcelona in the years to come.

Suarez's goal, meanwhile, was his 21st in the league and marks the fourth consecutive season in which he has passed the 20 mark for Barca. He might have scored earlier but shot straight at Fernando Pacheco, who had a superb game for Alaves, making several good first half saves. 

Barça had many chances, with Sergi Roberto, Coutinho and Suarez all missing, as well as Messi, who hit the bar from close range. 

After a neat exchange with Arturo Vidal, Sergi Roberto played inside, through the legs of Suarez and to the feet of Alena. It was controlled well and slotted home into the bottom left corner. 

Six minutes later, and one before the introduction of Messi, Suarez doubled the lead from the spot. Umtiti bundled in on the line and as VAR checked him for offside, Alaves' Tomas Pina was shown to have handballed moments before. Suarez scored the penalty, despite Pacheco getting a hand on the ball.

Even if Atletico do defeat Valencia tomorrow night, a victory for Barça against Levante will give the Catalan side the league title. In fact it could be all over before kick off if Atletico fail to get 4 points frm their next 2 games, with the Madrid side playing Real Valladolid next.  Real Madrid, who play their game in hand against Getafe on Thursday, sit 16 points adrift. Alaves stay eighth, their hopes of a Europa League spot fading fast as they sit 6 points behind Valencia and Sevilla in the Europa League spots.

Tom Master

Tom Master

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