Luis Suarez shines as Barcelona cruise to La Liga win – European round-up | Football News

Plus Romelu Lukaku scores for Inter in Serie A win plus late victories for Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig

Last Updated: 21/12/19 7:32pm

Luis Suarez helped fire Barcelona to a 4-1 win on Saturday

Luis Suarez helped fire Barcelona to a 4-1 win on Saturday

Luis Suarez provided a goal and three assists as Barcelona opened up a three-point gap at the top of La Liga after a 4-1 victory over Alaves at the Nou Camp.

The Uruguay international set up Antoine Griezmann and Arturo Vidal in the first half before assisting Lionel Messi deep into the second and adding a penalty himself after 75 minutes as Barca extended their unbeaten league run to seven matches. Pere Pons replied for Alaves, who dropped down to 15th as a result after a four-match winless run.

The hosts began to dominate from the whistle and Vidal was unlucky as he got caught offside when set up by Messi after seven minutes.

Barca continued to press and the opener came seven minutes later as Griezmann guided Suarez’s cross into the bottom corner for his seventh league goal of the season.

The hosts were rewarded for their first-half pressure on the stroke of half-time as Suarez found Arturo Vidal, who made no mistake in picking out the bottom corner from a narrow angle.

Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi were also on the scoresheet for Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi were also on the scoresheet for Barcelona

France striker Griezmann had an effort ruled out for offside as the second half got under way but – instead of Barca extending their lead further – Alaves reduced the deficit after 56 minutes. Ruben Duarte provided the cross for Catalonia’s Pons to head home from the centre of the box for his second goal from two games.

But Barca fought back and Suarez claimed a hat-trick of assists as he provided the pass for Messi to fire home his 13 league goal this season with a powerful effort from outside the 18-yard box after 69 minutes.

Former Liverpool forward Suarez put the score beyond doubt with 15 minutes remaining as he slotted a penalty into the bottom-left corner – awarded for handball against Martin Aguirregabiria – meaning Barcelona have most likely sealed their spot at the top of the table until the end of the year as they hold a three-point and five-goal advantage over nearest rivals Real Madrid, who play on Sunday.

Luis Suarez scored from the spot during Barcelona's win

Luis Suarez scored from the spot during Barcelona’s win

Elsewhere, Sevilla won 2-0 at relegation-threatened Mallorca to end a two-game winless streak and strengthen its grip on third place.

Diego Carlos scored in the first half and Ever Banega netted a penalty in the second to leave Sevilla within five points of Barcelona. It was the fifth straight winless league game for Mallorca, who are only one point outside the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, a 52nd-minute strike from Maxi Gomez was enough for Valencia to beat 10-man Getafe 1-0.

Serie A: Lukaku scores as Inter breeze past Genoa

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the win for Inter

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the win for Inter

Romelu Lukaku scored twice to lead Inter Milan to a comfortable 4-0 win over lowly Genoa on Saturday as they rejoined Juventus at the top of Serie A.

Roberto Gagliardini and 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito were also on target as Inter pulled level with Juventus on 42 points from 17 games.

The win was a relief for Inter, who had drawn their last two league matches and been knocked out of the Champions League with a home defeat by Barcelona in between.

Inter went ahead when Antonio Candreva’s cross was diverted into the net by a Lukaku header after 31 minutes and Gagliardini scored the second two minutes later with a deflected shot.

Inter went joint-top of Serie A after their 4-0 win

Inter went joint-top of Serie A after their 4-0 win

Genoa, 19th in the 20-team table, mustered their first shot on target on the hour when Antonio Sanabria’s low shot was turned around the foot of the post by Samir Handanovic.

Esposito then added Inter’s third from a penalty in the 64th minute, his first goal for the club.

Lukaku had the final say in the 71st minute when he collected the ball outside the area, moved forward, skipped past a defender and rifled a left-foot shot in off the crossbar for his 12th league goal of the season.

Earlier in the day, Udinese beat 10-man Cagliari 2-1.

Bundesliga: Bayern, Leipzig nab late wins

Serge Gnabry scored Bayern's second late on

Serge Gnabry scored Bayern’s second late on

Defending champions Bayern Munich and Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig both left it late to secure wins on Saturday with 18-year-old Dutch forward Joshua Zirkzee again proving the hero for Bayern.

Substitute Zirkzee opened the scoring in the 86th minute for Bayern as they beat Wolfsburg 2-0, with Serge Gnabry adding another in the 89th minute. Zirkzee also scored on his debut against Freiburg on Wednesday in Bayern’s 3-1 win.

RB Leipzig also needed late goals to overcome Augsburg 3-1 at home. Florian Niederlechner stunned home fans with the opening goal in the eighth minute and there was a lengthy delay before the goal was confirmed by VAR.

Leipzig kept pushing for a response and missed a number of chances before the equalizer came through Konrad Laimer in the 68th minute, again after a long VAR check.

RB Leipzig also left it late to beat Augsburg

RB Leipzig also left it late to beat Augsburg

Patrik Schick, who scored the equalizer in a 3-3 draw at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, put Leipzig ahead from a corner in the 80th minute and Yussuf Poulsen added another nine minutes later.

They remain two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after Borussia Monchengladbach were held to a goalless draw by Hertha Berlin.

Also Saturday, Schalke salvaged a 2-2 draw at home with Freiburg, Cologne beat Werder Bremen 1-0 and Bayer Leverkusen won 1-0 at Mainz.

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