Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez edge Barcelona past nine-man Atletico

Barcelona: Barcelona took control of the La Liga title race as goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez inspired a come from behind 2-1 win against nine-man Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Luis Suarez (left) celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a goal. Pic/AFP
Luis Suarez (left) celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a goal. Pic/AFP 

Koke handed the visitors a deserved early lead, but Barca turned the game thanks to two goals in eight minutes before the break through Messi and Suarez. Atletico’s hopes of salvaging a point were then ruined as Filipe Luis and Diego Godin were sent-off for rash challenges either side of half-time.

Victory takes Barca three points clear of Atletico at the top of the table - having also played a game less — and seven points clear of third-placed Real Madrid, who host Espanyol on Sunday.

The clash between La Liga’s top two pitted Europe’s most feared attack against its strongest defence, but it was Atletico who started on the front foot. Saul Niguez’s dipping effort was brilliantly turned over by Claudio Bravo after just two minutes.

However, another Niguez burst provided the opening goal eight minutes later when his cross from the right just evaded Antoine Griezmann and was slotted home at the far post by Koke.

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