Alaves 0-2 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Blaugrana Edge Closer to Securing La Liga Title

?Barcelona edged ever closer to a 26th La Liga title, as Carles Aleña and Luis Suarez were on target in a 2-0 win away to Alaves on Tuesday night. 

After spurning several chances in the first-half, the visitors managed to break the deadlock nine minutes after the restart through Aleña. After a typically flowing team move, Sergi Roberto’s pass was exquisitely dummied by Luis Suarez, giving the academy graduate a simple finish beyond Fernando Pacheco. 


It become 2-0 in somewhat bizarre circumstance six minutes later. Gerard Pique thought he’d scored from close range but was given offside, yet a handball in the build-up, spotted by VAR, meant a penalty was award to Barça, which was just about converted by Suarez.

Lionel Messi came on as a substitute and almost added a third, but his effort was diverted onto the post by Pacheco, but it didn’t matter as Barca settled for a routine 2-0 win.

Here’s 90min’s breakdown of this one: 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ?Pacheco (7), Vigaray (6), Laguardia (6), Ely (7), Navarro (5), Durate (6); Rolan (6), Wakaso (6), Pina (5), Jony (6); Baston (5). 

Substitutes: Brasanac (5), Twumasi (5), Guidetti (N/A). 


Key Talking Point 

Luis Suarez

The maths was simple for Barcelona – win their next two La Liga games and the title would be theirs regardless of what Atletico Madrid do. The job is now half done by Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Despite making five changes from the side that narrowly beat Real Sociedad last time out, which has hindered Barça at times this season, the result was never in doubt. Aleña’s second La Liga goal of the season settled any remaining nerves, before Suarez’s penalty confirmed a result that edges them ever closer to a 26th league title.

It was a measured displayed by Barça who were only interested in gaining the three points, as threats from Alaves were few and far between – with Jony’s curling effort in the second-half the closest they came.

With a Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool on the horizon, Valverde would ideally want to wrap up domestic business prior to that game. With the result away to Alaves, they’re halfway to achieving just that. 

Player Ratings

Starting XI: ?ter Stegen (6); Semedo (6), Pique (6), Umtiti (6), Roberto (7); Vidal (7), Busquets (6), Alena (8*); Dembele (6), Suarez (7), Coutinho (7). 

Substitutes: Messi (7), Alba (6), Arthur (N/A). 


Carles Alena

One of the five players to come into the starting lineup following the Real Sociedad game, Carles Aleña took his chance against Alaves with a confident display in Barcelona’s midfield.

The academy graduate was tidy in possession throughout, while a serge into the box was a key factor to the games opening goal, which he calmly converted and what his play warranted. 


??Looking Ahead 

Next for Alaves is an away game against Athletic Bilbao, as their season appears to have run out of steam.

Barcelona meanwhile could be La Liga champions by the time they host Levante at the weekend, should Atletico Madrid fail to beat Valencia in their midweek game.

Should Diego Simeone’s side avoid defeat, then Barça will officially retain their crown with a win at the weekend, before the small matter of the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool at Camp Nou.


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