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Granada 1-4 Barcelona

Luis Suarez inspired a 4-1 Barcelona victory in Granada as Luis Enrique’s side stayed on Real Madrid’s shoulder in the Spanish title race despite the best efforts of Chelsea loanee Jeremie Boga.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder came on at half-time and ran Barcelona’s rearguard ragged to cancel out Suarez’s goal. But the Uruguayan teed-up up Paco Alcacer to put Barcelona back in-front.

Ivan Rakitic made it 3-1 and Neymar then added the fourth with his 100th goal for Barcelona.

They stay two points behind Real Madrid with nine games left to play although Zinedine Zidane’s men have a game in hand and the second Clasico of the season at home at the end of the month.

Barcelona took a while to get going in the first 45 minutes. Rafinha hobbled off after 16 minutes further weakening a side without the suspended Lionel Messi and rested Andres Iniesta.

This was always going to be a difficult game – Barcelona have failed to win any of their last three games following an international break.

But they still had Suarez and he almost put Barcelona ahead on 25 minutes. Neymar swept down the left on to a pass from Andre Gomes. The Brazilian fed Suarez and he went close with a delicate chip that came back off the crossbar. Neymar headed in the rebound but from an offside position.

Granada’s Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was in fine form and he twice denied Suarez from close range. Somehow Granada made it to the half-hour point without having conceded.

Ochoa saved again from Suarez who shot as he was being dragged to the ground by David Lomban. He stayed on his feet and let fire; had he gone down it would have been a penalty.

Barcelona had peppered Granada’s goal with 12 shots in the first half and when finally one of them went in it was predictably from the boot of Suarez. It was route one stuff from Barcelona but Jordi Alba’s long diagonal forward dropped perfectly for Suarez who let it bounce before dinking it over Ochoa who was off his line and helpless to stop it.

It was Suarez’s fifth goal at Granada’s Los Carmenes Stadium in three years. Last year he grabbed a hat-trick on the day Barcelona won the league. This was huge in terms of keeping them in the race.

Boga came on at half-time after a first half in which Granada had failed to force a single save from Marc Andre ter Stegen.

Within five minutes the Chelsea loanee had his team on level terms. The former France under-19 international raced away from a square back-four and slotted calmly past the German keeper.

Barcelona needed digging out of a hole again and Suarez came good for the second time in the game.

He had been in constant battle with Lomban throughout and they tangled again with the Granada defender fouling the Uruguayan and Suarez responding with a hand to the face of Loban. The referee penalized neither infraction and Suarez was clear to dink a pass over the top of Granada’s defence into the path of Paco Alcacer.

The former Valencia player had replaced the injured Rafinha in the first half and he took his chance shooting past Ochoa to score Barça second. There have been big questions over the 30m euros summer acquisition – this was his fourth goal of the season, his third in the league, and without doubt the most important.

Ivan Rakitic scored a deflected third after good work from Neymar and Suarez and with Granada now reduced to 10-men after Uche Agbo was sent off.

Neymar then bagged goal number four and it was his 100th for the club. Both he and Suarez had stood up to the plate in the absence of Messi who will be back on Wednesday as Barcelona take on Sevilla.

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