??Barcelona got back to winning ways to move 10 points clear in La Liga after beating a valiant Eibar 0-2 at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium on Saturday.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring against the run of play when Lionel Messi played a defence-splitting pass which found the Uruguayan, who then rounded Eibar keeper Marko Dmitrovic to roll the ball into an empty net.
Eibar finished the game off with ten men after Fabián Orellana needlessly received a second yellow card for dissent after he punched the ball away after Papakouli Diop was penalised for a challenge on Sergio Busquets.
Jordi Alba decided to make sure that the Catalonian side took all the spoils after he doubled their advantage in the 89th minute, when he was in the right place at the right time to roll the ball into an empty net.
After two disappointing draws, Barcelona were hoping to get back to winning ways away at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium and looking to extend their lead by 10 points at the top of La Liga.
The Catalan giants had plenty of success at Eibar in the past, winning 4-0 in their last two visits, while the home side went into the game in fine form with six wins in their last ten La Liga games.
Eibar might even be a tougher game for Barcelona than Chelsea. The little Basque side has only lost once in #LaLiga since 5th November.
— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) February 17, 2018
Eibar were the quicker out the blocks, as they pressed the league leaders up the pitch right back as far as Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Barcelona goal.
Blaugrana’s first sight at goal came in the sixth minute when Lionel Messi played Luis Suarez through in the Eibar box, the Uruguayan went round Dmitrovic and laid the ball to Jordi Alba but his shot was expertly blocked by the home side’s defence.
Barca may have been taken aback by the intensity and force that Eibar played with, but it wasn’t enough to ruffle their feathers as they did what they do best and dismantled the Eibar defence to find the opening goal of the game.
They scored against the run of play when Messi played a defence-splitting pass straight through the Eibar backline to find Suarez, who rounded Marko Dmitrovic and rolled the ball into the open net.
The home side never looked like they were ever going to lie down for Blaugrana as just three minutes later they were agonisingly close to getting on level terms. Orellana picked the ball up on the edge of the box and unleashed a dipping effort, which clipped the top of the crossbar with ter Stegen well beaten.
The final chance of the first-half came when the Catalan side breached the Eibar defence once again through Suarez, who laid it on a plate for Messi. However, the Argentine’s shot was at an acute angle, but he still managed to strike the inside of the far post.
The start of the second-half saw both sides have an equal share of the possession, but neither side could find an opening to trouble ter-Stegen or Dmitrovic in their respective goals.
The first chance after the interval came on the 55th minute when Diop’s flicked pass played Orellana down the right flank and into space. His low pass found Inui who was in space in the Barca box, but his saw his effort roll just wide of ter-Stegen’s post.
The scoreline at this point didn’t reflect what was happening on the pitch because Barca couldn’t get a foothold on the game and were limited to few chances. Eibar’s intensity and fighting spirit was revived as they had the upper hand over the league leaders.
However, in the 66th minute they were sent down to ten men after Orellana received his second yellow card for dissent after he punched the ball away after Diop was penalised for a challenge on Sergio Busquets.
This event escalated in frustration from Eibar manager José Luis Mendilibar, who was furious with the officials and was ultimately sent off.
Eibar coach Mendilibar absolutely fuming as Suarez knocks ball away after whistle gone… easy to understand why he’s angry…
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) February 17, 2018
Barcelona secured what had been a hard-fought three points when Jordi Alba was on cue to double their lead. Substitute Philippe Coutinho switched the play to Vidal who fired a volley into the path of Messi. The Argentine looked to go round Dmitrovic but the Eibar goalkeeper blocked his attempt.
It fell kindly to Alba who rolled the ball into an empty net to see Barca go 10 points clear at the top of La Liga. They’ll be back in action on Tuesday when they face Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.