Messi, Suarez and Griezmann all score as Barcelona extend lead at top






Barcelona - By Peter Jenson, - Barcelona played their last game of the year at the Camp Nou and ran out comfortable 4-1 winners against Alaves to stay top of La Liga.

Antoine Griezmann got the opener on 14 minutes from Luis Suarez’s assist and Arturo Vidal made it 2-0 on 45 minutes from another Suarez pass.



There was hope for Alaves when Pere Pons crashed in a header from an Oscar Duarte cross but it was short-lived.
Lionel Messi scored Barcelona’s third with a shot from the edge of the area and Suarez netted a penalty with 15 minutes left.
Messi was not at his best, but his contribution was still the turning point of the game. His goal marked his 50th of the calendar year.
He has now scored 50 or more goals in every one of the last ten calendar years bar one. In the 2012-13 season he managed only 45 goals.
His second-half strike also moved him to 34 league goals in 2019, meaning that he will probably win the Golden Shoe.
"This is what happens," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. "We have all seen it before. It is an enormous advantage that in any given moment Leo [Messi] can just appear and score a goal from any position."
With goals from Messi’s strike partners Suarez and Griezmann it was a good day for Barcelona’s front three.
"We wanted to score a goal before they did. We managed to do that. We played a good game and now we can relax a bit," Griezmann said.
Barcelona players now go for their winter break. They will return on December 29 with those players travelling to South America back on January 2.
Real Madrid can move back on level points with them if they beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday but Barcelona should stay top on goal difference.
Earlier, Sevilla ensured they will finish 2019 in third place in La Liga with a 2-0 win at Mallorca.
Julen Lopetegui's side took the lead on 21 minutes when Diego Carlos converted an Ever Banega corner.
Two minutes before the break Ante Budimir thought he had equalized after a Lago Junior effort had been saved, but he was ruled offside by the video assistant.
On 63 minutes, Iddrisu Baba brought down Lucas Ocampos and Banega scored from the spot to seal the win.
Also on Saturday, Villarreal beat Getafe 1-0 with a goal from Moi Gomez, and Valencia drew 1-1 at Valladolid with a Manu Vallejo goal four minutes into injury time cancelling out Sergio Busquets’ direct free-kick.

Sunday, December 22nd 2019
By Peter Jenson,
           


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