LEGANES, Spain – Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez delivered an inspired performance to lead FC Barcelona to a 3-0 away win on Saturday over Leganes in La Liga action.
The Catalans struggled to break through their opponent’s defensive wall during the first 20 minutes of the match at Butarque Municipal Stadium in this Madrid suburb.
Leganes, meanwhile, missed out on two chances to score on the counterattack, with Moroccan forward Nordin Amrabat firing one shot over the crossbar and midfielder Gabriel sending a second attempt wide of one of the uprights.
The Catalan club, however, took the lead when Leganes goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar failed to clear a shot by Paco Alcacer and the ball ended up at the feet of Luis Suarez, who made no mistake at close range.
The goal ended the Uruguayan star’s five-match scoreless drought.
Despite conceding that score, Leganes kept fighting in the first half and threatened Barcelona’s goal with a powerful shot by Argentine Alexander Szymanowski that net minder Marc-Andre ter Stegen managed to save.
Suarez scored a second goal just 15 minutes into the second half after Cuellar once again deflected a shot by Alcacer, this time leaping into the air to send a right-footed blast into the back of the net.
With nothing to lose, Leganes moved forward on the attack but failed to convert several chances.
Brazilian midfielder Paulinho then scored the third goal of the match shortly before stoppage time to put the icing on Barcelona’s 11th league win in 12 matches.
With the victory, Barça strengthened his grip on first place with 34 points, seven more than second-placed Valencia, while Leganes holds the ninth spot with 17 points.
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta became the sixth player to win 300 or more league matches in La Liga history.
He trails only Iker Casillas with 334 wins, Andoni Zubizarreta (333), Raul Gonzalez (327), Xavi Hernandez (322) and Manolo Sanchis (312).
Iniesta’s teammate, Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, is seventh on the list with 299 wins.