MADRID (AP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann scored a goal each as Barcelona comfortably beat Alaves 4-1 to keep the Spanish league lead on Saturday.
Arturo Vidal also netted for Barcelona, which opened a three-point lead over second-place Real Madrid ahead of its home game against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Barcelona holds a five-goal advantage over Madrid in the tiebreaker between the teams.
Barcelona and Madrid drew 0-0 in the first “clasico” of the season on Wednesday in a game postponed from October because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital.
“We played only a few days ago, we were a bit tired, but we played a good match,” Griezmann said. “Now we get some deserved time off. We will try to get better when we come back. We can still improve.”
This is the last round before the break, with the league resuming in the first week of January.
Suarez had a role in all four goals at the Camp Nou Stadium, scoring his own from a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
He had set up Griezmann’s opener in the 14th and Vidal’s second goal in the 45th. The Uruguay striker also assisted in Messi’s beautiful strike from outside the area in the 69th.
Messi’s goal – his 50th this year with club and country – saw him surpass Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema as the league’s top scorer with 13 goals, one more than the Frenchman. Suarez is next with 10 goals. Griezmann has seven, including three in his last four league games.
Alaves, winless in four consecutive league matches, scored with a header by Pere Pons in the 56th. The visitors had a couple of good chances before Messi’s strike dampened their chances of a comeback.
“We knew it was difficult to earn points here,” Pons said. “At one point we controlled possession and created some good chances, but in the end we were playing against Barca and against Messi, it’s complicated.”
Barcelona had two goals disallowed for offside, one by Messi in the first half and another by Griezmann in the second.
Alaves has won only one of its nine away games in the league this season. It is 15th in the standings, five points from safety.
Barcelona was coming off two consecutive league draws – 2-2 against Real Sociedad and 0-0 against Madrid. It had won nine of its 10 league games before that.
Barcelona has won six straight league matches against Alaves, averaging more than three goals a game.
The crowd of 63,054 was the second lowest at the Camp Nou this season, with 58,198 at the league game against Valladolid in October.
Sevilla won 2-0 at relegation-threatened Mallorca to end a two-game winless streak and strengthen its grip on third place.
Diego Carlos scored in the first half and Ever Banega in the second to leave Sevilla within five points of Barcelona.
It was the fifth straight winless league game for Mallorca, which is only one point outside the relegation zone.
Mallorca complained of a foul by Carlos in Sevilla’s first goal, and Banega’s second goal came from a penalty kick awarded after video review. Mallorca also had a goal disallowed by VAR because of offside.
Sevilla was coming off a home loss to Villarreal and a draw at Osasuna.
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