Barcelona maintained their unbeaten record and their 11-point lead at the top of the table in La Liga thanks to a 2-1 comeback victory over Alavés at Camp Nou. The visitors played a fantastic game and went ahead, but Barça managed to find enough goals to win another game.
Barça had a poor start to the game, passing the ball slowly and without purpose and making it easy for Alavés to settle into their defensive positioning and avoid any real chances. The visitors also had a very good counter-attacking plan and constantly forced Marc-André ter Stegen into some important interventions whenever they had a chance to break quickly.
In one of those quick counter attacks, Alavés got a shocking lead when John Guidetti was put through on goal and managed to beat Ter Stegen to put last year’s Copa del Rey finalists ahead. The goal seemed to wake up Barça, who showed a lot more urgency and had some good chances to score, but goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco made some very good stops to keep his team ahead.
At halftime, a mediocre performance from the Blaugrana had them deservedly behind. Would they react in the second half?
Barça had some real urgency in the second half and looked a lot better than they did in the first, and it really seemed like they could turn the result around. But anxiety in front of goal and poor decision-making hurt the hosts at the start of the period, but once Andrés Iniesta played a beautiful cross to Luis Suárez for the equalizing goal things changed and Barça looked set to score a winner.
And they did score a winner, thanks to a lucky decision and the best player in the world. After Paco Alcácer came back from an offside position to win a free kick at the edge of the box, Lionel Messi placed a perfect ball in the top corner to put Barça ahead. Alavés made a desperate attempt to find a late qualizer, but the Blaugrana were able to hold on to a key victory.
Barça remain 11 points ahead of Atlético Madrid with 17 matches left in the league and are still unbeaten. Despite a bad first half, this team is good.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Roberto), Piqué, Umtiti, Digne (Alba); Paulinho, Rakitic; Coutinho (Alcácer), Messi, Iniesta; Suárez
Goals: Suárez (72’), Messi (84’)
Alavés: Pacheco; Alexis, Laguardia, Maripán, Duarte (Demirovic); Ibai, Medrán, Wakaso, Pérez (Pedraza); Guidetti (Munir), Sobrino
Goal: Guidetti (23’)