2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Luis Suárez (50', 87')
  • Ivan Rakitic (76')

Luis Suarez ends goal drought to lead Barcelona past Espanyol

Luis Suarez scored twice to help Barcelona overcome Espanyol. Getty

Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona moved back to the top of La Liga after a 3-0 derby win at Espanyol.

With Real Madrid having produced a late victory over Valencia earlier, the pressure was firmly back on Luis Enrique's side.

Barcelona moved back level on points with Real Madrid, top on head-to-head record, but having played a match more than their title rivals.

Unlike at Malaga earlier this month, there was no slip up as Suarez latched onto a stray backpass to put Barcelona ahead early in the second half.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic made sure of the points with 15 minutes left when he slotted in on the break before Suarez rolled in a late third following more shambolic defending from the hosts.

Barcelona were without captain Andres Iniesta through a groin injury, but had Brazil forward Neymar available again following his suspension.

Suarez returned to lead the attack after being an unused substitute for the 7-1 trashing of bottom club Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

Espanyol, meanwhile, were looking to respond against their local rivals following two La Liga matches without a victory as they aimed to cement a place in the top 10.

The home side created an early opening when Jose Manuel Jurado was played into the Barcelona area, but shot wide.

Barcelona slowly grew into the game, and as the half-hour passed Suarez cut inside, but could not find either Neymar and Lionel Messi in the Espanyol penalty area before Sergi Roberto sent a header into the side netting.

Suarez ended his five-game, 540-minute goal drought in all competitions -- the longest of his time with Barcelona -- with a sublime near-post finish.

Midfielder Jurado decided to play a long diagonal ball back towards his goalkeeper from the right, which allowed Suarez to race clear and fire past the exposed Diego Lopez.

Neymar was close to adding a second on the hour with a curling shot which Lopez tipped over.

At the other end, Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was finally called into some meaningful action when he smothered Jurado's angled drive.

With quarter-of-an-hour left, Rakitic made it 2-0 after Lionel Messi charged into the Espanyol penalty area before rolling the ball sideways for the Croatian to slot inside the far post.

On 85 minutes, Espanyol pressed the self-destruct button again as Aaron Martin completely missed his attempted clearance in the six-yard box, with the ball spinning to the feet of Suarez who sidestepped the keeper before tapping into the net.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Real Madrid 20 +25 43
2 Barcelona 19 +26 40
3 Atletico Madrid 20 +8 35
4 Sevilla FC 20 +5 35
5 Getafe 20 +9 33
6 Real Sociedad 19 +8 31
7 Valencia 19 +4 31
8 Athletic Bilbao 19 +7 29
9 Villarreal 19 +7 28
10 Granada 19 0 27
11 Levante 20 -4 26
12 Osasuna 20 +1 25
13 Real Betis 19 -6 24
14 Alavés 20 -8 23
15 Real Valladolid 20 -6 22
16 Eibar 20 -9 22
17 Celta Vigo 19 -13 15
18 Mallorca 19 -15 15
19 Leganes 20 -17 14
20 Espanyol 19 -22 11