Goals from Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba saw Barcelona to an unconvincing 2-0 win over Eibar in Saturday’s La Liga clash at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium.
- Eibar 0 Barcelona 2
- Suarez (16′) opens the scoring
- Orellana (66′) sent off
- Alba (88′) scores late on to seal the game
Eibar took the game to Barcelona in the first half, but the visitors went into the break 1-0 up. A red card to Fabian Orellana in the 66th minute ensured there was no second-half fightback from the hosts and Jordi Alba wrapped up the game with a late winner.
With the looming Champions League visit to Chelsea perhaps playing on their minds, Barcelona did not look their ruthless selves early on.
They were arguably fortunate not to concede a penalty 12 minutes in. Sergio Busquets escaped unpunished by referee Alejandro Hernandez from an off-the-ball tussle inside his own box.
Four minutes later, Barcelona drew first blood at the other end. Luis Suarez took the ball around Marko Dmitrovic, after being played in behind by a magnificently-timed Lionel Messi pass and slotted the ball into the net.
However, Eibar continued to threaten. Fabian Orellana’s fierce strike from outside the box flew over Marc-Andre ter Stegen and rattled the crossbar.
Barcelona was denied by the woodwork themselves in the 37th minute. Once again, Messi set Suarez up to take the ball around the keeper. From there, the Uruguayan played it back to the diminutive number 10, whose shot hit the post.
Even after the half-time break, Barcelona struggled for inspiration. In an attempt to change that, Ernesto Valverde brought Philippe Coutinho on for Andres Iniesta in the 63rd minute.
Their task became far easier three minutes afterwards without them having to lift a finger, as Orellana picked up a second yellow card for dissent. His offence was batting the ball away in anger at a refereeing decision.
Within another three minutes, Eibar was down a manager as well as a man on the pitch. Jose Luis Mendilibar was sent to the stands for his touchline antics. Mendilibar was seemingly calling for Luis Suarez to be booked for what he perceived as time-wasting.
Even then, Barcelona struggled to take control of the game. Aleix Vidal could have wrapped it up in the 85th minute after being played clean through. However, his control let him down and Dmitrovic kept his shot out.
Three minutes later, however, Vidal made amends. He volleyed the ball into the path of Lionel Messi from the right, setting up a glorious chance. Dmitrovic smothered the Argentine, but Alba pounced on the loose ball to score, sealing the game, and send Barcelona 10 points clear at the top of La Liga.