Luis Suarez completes smash and grab raid for Barca
Real Madrid also rely on late goals at home to secure first league win in six games
Luis Suarez celebrates scoring the winner. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Late goals from Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez allowed La Liga champions Barcelona to snatch a 3-2 win away to struggling Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, ensuring they remain top of the standings.
Suarez slotted in a cross from Jordi Alba from close range to give Barca a deserved lead in the 11th minute after they had made a flying start but Rayo, 19th in the table, fought their way back into the game and midfielder Jose Pozo smashed an equaliser in off the post in the 35th minute.
Rayo winger Alvaro Garcia then sent the raucous home fans into delirium by stabbing his side in front early in the second half but substitute Dembele got Barca out of trouble with a perfectly struck half volley in the 87th minute.
Suarez, who had scored a hat-trick in last week’s drubbing of Real Madrid, completed the comeback three minutes later by arriving at the far post to steer in a cross from Sergi Roberto, keeping Ernesto Valverde’s side clear at the summit with 24 points.
Earlier on Saturday, Real Madrid ended their long wait for a La Liga victory by beating Real Valladolid 2-0 with two late goals in interim coach Santiago Solari’s first home game in charge of the struggling European champions.
Brazilian teenager Vinicius Jr gave the new coach and an impatient Bernabeu crowd a lift in the 83rd minute by cutting in from the left and firing a shot which was heavily deflected into the net off Valladolid’s Kike Olivas and awarded as an own goal to the defender.
Real had been very fortunate not to go behind on two occasions in the second half when Ruben Alcaraz and Toni Villa hammered the crossbar, but the home side sealed a first win in six league games when captain Sergio Ramos converted a penalty in the 88th minute.