Messi, Suarez score as Barcelona regain five-point lead

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored as leaders Barcelona regained their five-point lead at the top of La Liga by beating 10-man Villarreal.

Barcelona were facing a third successive league game without a win after Suarez and Gerard Pique hit the woodwork.

The game was goalless when Villarreal midfielder Daniel Raba was shown a straight red card for an ugly 60th-minute challenge on Sergio Busquets.

Suarez rounded the keeper to score 12 minutes later before Messi made it 2-0.

Villarreal, who are sixth in the table, made Barca work hard for their 12th league win in 15 matches this season.

It required a fine one-handed save by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to keep out Roberto Soriano when the game was goalless.

However, Barcelona made their extra man count with two goals in 11 minutes.

Valencia are second in the table, while Atletico Madrid are third, six points behind Barcelona, after Saul scored their winner in a 1-0 victory at Real Betis earlier on Sunday.

Real Madrid, who hammered Sevilla 5-0 on Saturday, are fourth – eight points behind Barcelona, who they host on the 23 December.

Elsewhere, Napoli missed the chance to go top of Serie A after playing out a goalless draw with Fiorentina.

Maurizio Sarri’s side failed to take advantage of leaders Inter Milan’s 0-0 draw with title rivals Juventus on Saturday, remaining one point behind.

The hosts went closest to a goal when Piotr Zielinski’s shot was saved onto the post by Marco Sportiello.

Fourth-placed Roma drew 0-0 at Chievo and Benevento lost 2-0 to Udinese.

It was a return to losing ways for Serie A’s bottom side, whose dramatic 2-2 draw with AC Milan last Sunday is their only point from 16 games.

SPAL battled back from 2-0 down in the 86th minute to hold relegation rivals Hellas Verona 2-2.

 

  

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