Suarez and Barca happy with Coutinho

Posted January 30, 2018

Alaves thought they should have had a penalty late on when Samuel Umtiti blocked Munir's shot with his hand, but referee Ignacio Iglesias ignored the appeals of the visitors as Barca went on to claim all three points.

Barcelona: Lionel Messi's late strike against Alaves Sunday gave Barcelona the 2-1 win, and also gave the Argentine the advantage over Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga free-kick goals. "It was a complicated match", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "[Alaves] complained that there was a handball".

Barca controlled the ball from the first minute but found Alaves' 4-4-2 formation a stubborn obstacle, and were made to wait until the 15th minute for a first sight of goal; Messi just failing to reach Suarez's low driven cross. "They made it hard by taking the lead".

With just six minutes left, Barcelona were awarded a free-kick and Messi stepped up to produce a spectacular effort that beat Pacheco to give the three points to Barcelona.

"Without a doubt", he said when asked if Barca had rode their luck at times.

"I feel good, I've started the year well and I hope to continue the goals and assists". Philippe Coutinho made his debut as a starter, being replaced in the second half. With Diego Costa out injured, Atletico took a while to get going and had to wait until the 61st minute to open the scoring, Antoine Griezmann latching on to Juanfran's fine ball down the right flank before dinking neatly over Las Palmas stopper Leandro Chichizola. He has a lot of good qualities. "The other day, he played 25 minutes, this time a little more, he will integrate little by little".