Suarez and Messi earn comeback win for Barca in Coutinho’s LaLiga debut

Suarez and Messi earn comeback win for Barca in Coutinho’s LaLiga debut

Philippe Coutinho made his first LaLiga start for Barcelona but it was Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi who stole the headlines once again in a 2-1 win against Alaves.

Ernesto Valverde’s side were forced to come from a goal down after John Guidetti’s fortunate opener, but Suarez scored for the eighth game in a row to haul them level and a trademark Messi free-kick snatched the points late on.

Alaves had looked lively on the break and took a surprise lead in the 23rd minute. Barcelona were carved open as Guidetti raced into the box and, despite losing his balance, fired home at the near post.

Coutinho was denied a debut goal by a Ruben Duarte block, before Messi brought a superb save from Fernando Pacheco from a curling free-kick.

Pacheco denied Suarez when the Uruguayan was clean through and Paulinho came close before Suarez converted a deep cross from Andres Iniesta to equalise.

And just when they needed him, Messi popped up with his 20th league goal - a curling free-kick - to snatch victory.

Earlier, Atletico Madrid eased past Las Palmas to strengthen their grip on second place.

The 3-0 win moves Atleti six points clear of Valencia as Diego Simeone’s men remain the closest challengers to the runaway leaders.

Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres eventually broke down the visitors after the pair had both come close to opening the scoring in the early stages, with Thomas adding the third late on.

Torres shot just wide at the midway point of the first half, with Griezmann rattling the crossbar moments later with a tremendous effort.

The France international broke the deadlock with a tidy finish just after the hour-mark before hitting the frame of the goal again.

The lead was doubled courtesy of Torres before Thomas wrapped up the victory as Las Palmas were unable to offer much of an attacking threat throughout.

Leganes - who triumphed over Real Madrid in the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey in the week - picked up a third successive home league win.

Espanyol were on the receiving end this time around as defender Mario Hermoso scored two own goals before pulling back a late consolation as the hosts won 3-2.

Hermoso’s first own goal came early on and separated the sides at the interval, with Marc Navarro levelling shortly after the restart.

Miguel Angel Guerrero restored the lead for Leganes before Hermoso again turned past his own goalkeeper.

The former Real Madrid youngster netted at the right end with two minutes remaining but Espanyol, who remain 14th in the table, could not muster up a dramatic equaliser.

Leganes missed out on moving into the top-half of the table as Getafe scored a stoppage-time equaliser at Sevilla later in the evening.

In a closely-fought contest, Luis Muriel’s second-half flick looked to be enough to secure three points in Sevilla’s hunt for European qualification.

But, after Ever Banega hit a post late on for the hosts, they were pegged back as Angel struck in the dying embers.

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