Luis Suarez’s derby double puts Barcelona back on top

Late Marcelo strike keeps Real Madrid title bid on track; Granada relegated

 

La Liga round-up: Barcelona moved back to the top of La Liga with a 3-0 derby win at Espanyol, where Luis Suarez scored twice.

A late goal from Marcelo had given Real Madrid a 2-1 win over Valencia at the Bernabeu to keep the pressure on their La Liga title rivals in Saturday’s evening kick-off.

However, unlike at Malaga earlier this month, there was no slip up from Luis Enrique’s side.

Suarez latched onto a stray backpass from Jose Manuel Jurado to put Barcelona ahead early in the second half.

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

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

Real Madrid’s Marcelo celebrates scoring with team-mate Sergio Ramos in the La Liga game against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters
Real Madrid’s Marcelo celebrates scoring with team-mate Sergio Ramos in the La Liga game against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Real had recovered from their El Clasico defeat by winning 6-2 at Deportivo La Coruna on Wednesday night and were in front against Valencia after 27 minutes through a close-range header from Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward, however, saw his second-half penalty saved by Diego Alves after Dani Parejo was ruled to have pulled down Luca Modric.

Valencia midfielder Parejo made amends when he crashed in an angled free-kick from 25 yards which looked to have earned the visitors a point with just eight minutes left.

However, there was still time for Real to conjure a winner as Brazil defender Marcelo surged to the edge of the penalty area before cutting back inside and curling a low shot into the bottom corner with four minutes remaining.

At the other end of the table, Granada’s relegation was confirmed following a 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Caretaker boss Tony Adams, the former England and Arsenal captain, had been parachuted into the dugout from his role as sporting director by Chinese owner Jiang Lizhang following a poor run under Lucas Alcaraz.

However, a fourth-straight defeat under the 50-year-old saw Granada’s fate sealed with three games of the season remaining.

Former Arsenal forward Carlos Vela had put Real Sociedad in front on the stroke of half-time, with Adrian Ramos heading in a 65th-minute equaliser.

The visitors needed to win all of their remaining games to have a chance of survival, but could not even hang on for a point as Juanmi scored the winner six minutes from time.

Atletico Madrid scored three goals in the opening 18 minutes as they romped to a 5-0 win at 10-man Las Palmas, which keeps them ahead of Sevilla in third place.

Diego Simeone’s side, who face city rivals Real in the semi-finals of the Champions League next week, made the perfect start at Estadio de Gran Canaria when Kevin Gameiro put them ahead inside two minutes as he swept in Saul Niguez’s cross from the left.

It was soon 2-0 when midfielder Saul headed in from a corner after 17 minutes, with Gameiro adding a third almost immediately from the restart following a break down the right.

Las Palmas managed to regroup for the second half, but then saw midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng sent off for a second caution after 65 minutes.

The hosts, though, managed to hold out until Atletico substitute Thomas Partey made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute.

Veteran forward Fernando Torres, who had replaced Gameiro just before the hour, completed the route with a close-range finish in stoppage time.

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