Messi missed but Suarez steps up to keep Barca on Madrid’s heels

Messi missed but Suarez steps up to keep Barca on Madrid’s heels

The Argentine attacker was out through suspension, but the Uruguayan striker shone in his absence to inspire a vital victory for the Blaugrana

It was much more difficult than the scoreline suggests. Barcelona beat Granada 4-1 in Andalusia on Sunday night to stay on Real Madrid’s heels in the title race. And with Lionel Messi missing, it was Luis Suarez who stepped up at the Estadio Los Carmenes.

Messi was banned after picking up his fifth league booking of the season in the 4-2 win over Valencia prior to the international break, so many at Barca were looking to the on-form Neymar for inspiration. But instead it was Suarez who revelled in the Argentine’s absence.

That is nothing new. When Messi was out injured last season, it was the Uruguayan who assumed responsibility more than anyone else with goals and match-winning performances. And again this term, too, when the five-time Ballon d’Or was sidelined in the winter.

Suarez saw two decent penalty appeals waved away in the first half and also hit the crossbar with a delightful chip which had Granada goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa well beaten. Neymar was on hand to hit home the rebound, but the Brazilian was in an offside position.

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