Late goals from Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez ensured Barcelona a 3-2 comeback victory over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday.
Facing the 19th placed Vallecano, the defending champions were 1-2 down after taking a lead as early as the 10th minute. But Dembele and Suarez scored twice in the final three minutes of play to seal the win. Barcelona remained on top with 24 points from 11 matches.
Barcelona were off to a flying start when Suarez slotted home a Jordi Alba cross in the 11th minute to give his side an early lead at a ground where the Blaugrana are unbeaten since 2002.
But despite having just one victory in 10 matches, Rayo did not break down and fought back with two quick goals – one each across both the halves. Midfielder Jose Pozo first scored the equaliser off the post in the 35th minute before Alvaro Garcia sent the home fans into a frenzy with a goal just a minute after coming on as a substitute.
Substitute Garcia scored in the 57th minute from a rebound after striker Raul de Thomas’ diving header had come struck the post.
Even as the visitors plotted into playing numerous long balls after putting Gerard Pique up front, it looked like another shock defeat – after the 1-2 loss against the then bottom-placed Leganes – was on the cards.
But another substitute Dembele netted the all-important equaliser with a powerful half-volley after a long ball was brought low into his path by Pique. That came in the 87th minute but Barca had more time for securing a last-gasp winner through Suarez.
The Uruguayan, who scored an emphatic hat-trick in the battering of Real Madrid last week, was at the far post to tap-in a Sergio Roberto cross in the 90th minute and complete the turnaround. It was his fifth goal in two games and ninth overall taking him in the top of the scoring charts in La Liga.
“Suarez has been getting better and better for a long time,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was quoted as saying by AFP. “Now he’s getting more goals and now he’s scoring them when we also need them most. We are delighted.” He also said that Lionel Messi, who is out with a broken arm, will be assessed ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League away game to Inter Milan.
Image Source: Reuters