FC Barcelona inched closer towards clinching another La Liga title after the Catalan giants eased past Deportivo Alves 2-0 on Tuesday. Carles Alena and Luis Suarez’s goals were more than enough for Barcelona as they dominated the clash at the Estadio Mendizorroza.
However, missing the action was FC Barcelona’s five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi as Valverde named a line-up without the Argentine in the playing XI.
The star forward was brought on in the 61st minute of the clash and Barca coach Ernesto Valverde felt that Messi needed some rest. The leading player for the golden shoe came on for Ousmane Dembele after the visitors were already 2-0 up.
Barcelona had a few tough initial moments but once the scoring was opened by Alena, a VAR assisted penalty saw Suarez strike the second.
”It was time for him to get some rest today and to come out in the second half. It’s good for players to stay involved and active. You can’t put them away in a case and then just bring them out for one match,” said Valverde after the match according to Marca.
The coach also managed to rest a few other senior players against Alves and saw his team walk away with all three points. Midfielder Ivan Rakitic was rested, defender Clement Lenglet spent the entire match on the bench, while Messi, full-back Jordi Alba and midfield Arthur were brought on in the second half of the clash.
Barcelona will be crowned La Liga champions if Atletico Madrid fails to win against Valencia at home. If Atleti clinches three points, Barca will face Levante and a win will see them win the league in front of their home crowd.
After the clash with Levante, Barca gear up to host English giants Liverpool in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League and as the Catalans desire to taste European success, Liverpool are poised give Messi and Co a tough time.