Barcelona beat Las Palmas 2-1 in an entertaining game in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.
The Catalan side took the lead after five minutes through Suarez but Willian Jose equalised moments later. On the stroke of half-time Barcelona restored their lead through Neymar – with his goal eventually proving to be the match winner.
Barcelona went into the match six points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga, and seven points clear of Real Madrid.
Las Palmas, who were only promoted back to the top-flight last summer after 14 years in the second division, were in 18th place, just one point behind Espanyol and safety.
Given Barca are in Champions League action in midweek, it was perhaps a surprise that Luis Enrique picked a full-strength side, especially with Las Palmas being a three-hour flight from the Catalan capital. Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Neymar, and Mascherano were all named in the eleven.
Las Palmas fielded two players who will be familiar to Premier League fans, as former Liverpool player Nabil El Zhar and ex-City defender Javier Garrido took to the pitch.
The hosts started the better, but Barcelona took the lead through Suarez after just five minutes. Iniesta played a wonderfully incisive pass to Alba and his cross was inch-perfect, giving the Uruguayan an easy tap-in at the back post.
Las Palmas were not disheartened, and five minutes later they were level.
They worked the ball across the edge of the Barcelona area, and a clever flick from Jonathan Vieira gave Willian Jose the space to fire under the on-rushing Claudio Bravo.
The goal gave Las Palmas a new-found confidence, and they continued to surge forward. Barcelona’s passing was sloppy and the passionate home support clearly had them rattled.
El Zhar and Viera both went close, but Bravo was alert to the danger.
Suarez should have restored Barca’s lead on the half hour mark, but sent his free header wide of the post from no more than two yards out.
In the 38th minute Barcelona restored their lead via Neymar. A Suarez cross found Messi, and although Las Palmas keeper Javi Varas made a great save, the Brazilian was on hand to smash home the rebound. It was harsh on the hosts, who had worked incredibly hard throughout the entire half.
The first real chance of the second half came after an hour. Barca failed to clear the ball and it eventually dropped to Vieira. His effort was well-saved by Bravo, but Jose could only fire the rebound into the side netting. He should have scored.
Vieira’s game was over five minutes later as he went off with an injury. It was a big blow for Las Palmas – he had been their most dangerous player by some distance.
Las Palmas started to visibly tire in the final twenty minutes. Barcelona began knocking the ball around and the hosts were chasing shadows. There were a couple of half chances, but neither keeper was really tested.
The results leaves Barcelona nine points clear at the top of the league. The two Madrid sides aren’t in action until Sunday. La Palmas, meanwhile, remain inside the relegation zone.
Next up for Barcelona is a trip to the Emirates to play Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, then they welcome Sevilla to the Nou Camp in the league next weekend.
Las Palmas are in action against fellow minnows Eibar next Friday.