Barcelona battle back to beat Alaves

Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were on target once again as Barcelona came from a goal down to see off plucky Alaves 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

Barcelona 2 Deportivo Alaves 1

  • Ter Stegen denies Gomez early on
  • Guidetti gives Babazorros the lead
  • Pacheco makes a string of saves
  • Suarez equalises in second half
  • Messi nets late winner with free-kick

Match Summary

Ernesto Valverde’s side weren’t at their fluent best in the first half and were made to pay when John Guidetti fired the Babazorros in front midway through the first half.

But the La Liga leaders lifted their game in the second half and hit back through Luis Suarez before Lionel Messi completed the comeback win at the death.

Full Report

The hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession, but Abelardo’s men caused them numerous problems on the break.

Barca created the first chance on seven minutes when Lucas Digne intercepted a pass just outside the box and drilled a shot narrowly past the right post from 18 yards out.

But the Basque outfit threatened on the counter in the 16th minute as Ibai Gomez swapped passes with Hernan Perez before being denied by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen on the slide inside the area.

Fernando Pacheco was called into action for the first time six minutes later when Suarez’s flick from Messi’s free-kick presented him with a routine save, but the opening goal came at the other end moments later.

Messi was dispossessed just outside the Alaves box and Guidetti was sent clean through on goal, with the Swede slotting past Ter Stegen at his near post from 12 yards out.

Ter Stegen had to be alert to keep out Ruben Sobrino on 26 minutes after he connected with Guidetti’s flick-on from a long throw-in, while Andres Iniesta curled an effort over the crossbar from 17 yards out following good link-up play with Messi three minutes later.

The Blaugrana survived another close call on 31 minutes when Sobrino surged through on goal from inside his own half, although his scuffed shot from the edge of the area was comfortably saved by Ter Stegen.

Ruben Duarte then got in the way of Philippe Coutinho’s strike to deflect it wide of the right post after the Brazilian latched onto a misplaced pass, before Pacheco had to punch away Messi’s free-kick from the right on 35 minutes.

The final action of the first half saw Pacheco deny Messi with an outstanding save to palm his free-kick onto the right post in the 43rd minute, as the Babazorros took a one-goal lead into the break.

Valverde made a double change early in the second half to inject more thrust into the team, with Digne and Nelson Semedo making way for Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto respectively.

Barca immediately looked more dangerous and Messi was unable to get off a clean shot from Alba’s cutback from the left in the 59th minute.

Another breakaway from Alaves resulted in Gerard Pique having to make a last-ditch block to prevent Duarte from scoring on 62 minutes, but the Catalan giants were soon on the attack again as Paulinho fired straight at Pacheco from 21 yards out.

Pacheco came to the rescue again in the 68th minute as he stopped Suarez from converting Messi’s through-ball, and the gloveman was alert to the danger two minutes later to keep out Paulinho before the ball was cleared off the line.

However, Barca were back on level terms in the 72nd minute as Iniesta made his way to the left byline and sent in a cross to the back post, where Suarez fired home off Pique from an acute angle to equalise.

Messi tested Pacheco with a venomous free-kick on the right two minutes later, while Suarez failed to capitalise on a poor back header Guillermo Maripan as he blazed over the bar from inside the box.

But Messi would have the final say as he finally beat Pacheco with a free-kick from 20 yards out that the keeper could only get a weak glove to, sealing the three points for the league leaders six minutes from time.