Suarez hat-trick inspires Barca, Atletico beat Valencia
Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Barcelona came from behind in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi to beat Basque minnows Eibar 3-1.
Victory takes Barca level with Real Madrid on 21 points, but Los Blancos remain on top thanks to their superior goal difference. Atletico Madrid moved up to third, two points behind the leaders, thanks to goals from Jackson Martinez and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in a 2-1 win over Valencia on Sunday.
The on-form Borja Baston fired Eibar into a shock lead just 10 minutes in at the Camp Nou, but Suarez restored parity with a bullet header and then put Barca in front just after the break. Eibar were handed a lifeline when Javier Mascherano saw a straight red card for protesting with the referee seven minutes from time. But Suarez promptly sealed his hat-trick and a vital three points with another fine finish from Neymar’s pass to celebrate a year since he made his Barca debut. “You celebrate wins like this in a different way. It is special because I made my debut a year ago,” Suarez told Canal Plus. “We went behind again, which complicated the game and it is something we have to start looking at.” Barca youngster Sandro Ramirez has struggled with the unenviable task of standing in for Messi during the four-time World Player of the Year’s absence.
However, the 20-year-old had a major role to play in a controversial equaliser 11 minutes later as he brilliantly volleyed Busquets’s ball over the top back across goal for Suarez to power home a header from close range.