Suárez double delivers victory for Barça; Messi injures knee, out 7–8 weeks.
Luis Suárez scored once in each half as FC Barcelona got back into the win column with what turned out to be a costly 2–1 victory over UD Las Palmasat Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. Despite the win — which puts the Catalans back at the top of the league table pending the outcomes of the rest of the weekend’s matches — Lionel Messi left the game after ten minutes of play and did not return. Jonathon Viera got one back for Las Palmas in the 87th minute, depriving both Barça and their goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen of a clean sheet.
The game was barely underway when Messi’s third minute run ended in a saved shot and some fortuitous knee-to-knee contact. The striker left the field briefly but returned moments later. In the 10th minute the Argentinian took a seat on the grass at midfield, an ominous sign that his day was over. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner abandoned the pitch under his own power, with nary a limp or any other signs of a serious injury, and was replaced by Munir El Haddadi.
Following the game analysis revealed a torn medial collateral ligament in Messi’s left knee. The injury is expected to keep him out between seven and eight weeks.
Unaware of the bad news awaiting them, Luis Enrique’s eleven forged ahead. Suárez’s first goal of the day got FC Barcelona on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when the striker outleaped a pair of defenders and nodded home a gorgeous cross, served up courtesy of Sergi Roberto. Munir — who came on for Messi — got the sequence started when he appeared to be carrying the ball away from the Las Palmas touch line and back out to the perimeter to reset the play. The young forward astutely dragged two defenders along with him before heeling it backwards to Roberto, who calmly executed the precision cross to Suárez.
Although Suárez put Barça up in first half, the striker’s second goal of the day ended up providing the difference.
Less than ten minutes after halftime the Uruguayan put FC Barcelona up 2–0 when Munir got involved again, rolling a cross through the penalty area, where an open Sergio Busquets astutely let it roll straight through his legs and on to Suárez, waiting alone on the far side. And boy did Suárez clean up, one-timing a blast out of the reach of Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas and into the upper left corner of the net for a two-goal lead.
Ten minutes later, in the 64th, Luis Enrique’s team had a golden opportunity to put the game away when Suárez was tripped up in the Las Palmas area. Neymar was tasked with the spot kick but couldn’t convert, rocketing the ball over the bar.
With the clock ticking down and Barça looking primed for the shutout, Viera got Las Palmas on the board with a shot that deflected off defender Gerard Piqué and into the goal, a helpless Ter Stegen looking on from his seat on the goal line.