January 28, 2018 / 9:58 PM / 10 months ago

Messi and Suarez rescue Barca against strugglers Alaves

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - January 28, 2018 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal with Luis Suarez REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi scored a spectacular free kick to give Barcelona a come-from-behind 2-1 win over struggling Alaves on Sunday, keeping the Catalans 11 points clear at the top of La Liga and preserving their unbeaten record in the league.

Alaves were the only team to win at the Nou Camp in the league last season and looked set to overshadow Philippe Coutinho’s first start for Barca when Sweden striker John Guidetti gave them a shock lead in the 23rd minute, falling over as he lashed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Luis Suarez finally levelled for the Catalans in the 72nd minute, scoring for the eighth league game in a row following wave after wave of attacks from Barca and a handful of impressive saves from visiting goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

The equaliser maintained Barca’s status as the only unbeaten team in Europe’s top five leagues and Messi then gave them a seventh consecutive Liga win by curling a sumptuous free kick beyond the reach of the former Real Madrid keeper in the 84th.

Barca top the standings with 57 points, 11 ahead of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid and 19 ahead of champions Real Madrid.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Clare Fallon

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