Barca win in Las Palmas

Madrid, Feb 21 (IANS) FC Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga to 10 points on Saturday as they won 2-1 away to Las Palmas.

Barca went into the game on the back of a midweek win in Gijon and the busy fixture calendar took its toll as they made hard work of the second half against a side which may be currently in the relegation zone, but which showed once again that they play good football.

All of the goals came within the first 40 minutes as first Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba combined to set up Luis Suarez for Barca’s opening goal after just 6 minutes, reports Xinhua.

Las Palmas soon equalized as William Jose muscled his way past Dan Alves to slide the ball past Claudio Bravo and level the scores, but Neymar assured Barca would take all three points back home in the 39th minute when he was on hand to smash home the rebound after Javi Varas in the Las Palmas goal had saved from Leo Messi.

The second half saw a tired Barca, who may have had half of their focus on next Tuesday’s Champions League tie away to Arsenal, take their foot off the gas and they had to soak up pressure from a spirited home side who never gave up looking for the equalizing goal.

“These are the sort of wins that win you titles,” said Suarez afterwards, although Barca coach Luis Enrique admitted that his side had to improve on Saturday’s performance.

Second and third place Atletico and Real Madrid play their respective matches on Sunday.

Espanyol coach Constantin Galca can thank midfielder Marcos Asensio for the 52nd minute goal which gave his side a 1-0 win at home to Deportivo la Coruna and probably saved him from being sacked by the Primera Liga strugglers.

Betis and Sporting Gijon shared two goals and the points in a 1-1 draw which does little to lift either side clear of the danger zone. Both goals came in the space of three minutes with Carlos Castro’s second goal in two games putting Sporting ahead in the 65th minute before German Pezzella equalized in the 67th minute for the home side.

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