Luis Suarez winner worth `half the title`
Luis Suarez`s sweetly struck winner to down Barcelona`s eternal rivals Real Madrid was hailed as taking the Catalans to the brink of the La Liga title on Monday as they moved four points clear with 10 games to go.
"Suarez scored a goal worth half the title," Barcelona sports daily Sport splashed across its front page.
Barca have now won 18 of their last 19 games with Madrid`s run of only one win in their last four league games contributing to an eight-point swing in the title race in just three weeks.
However, Real bossed the game for the first hour and were left to rue a missed opportunity to put themselves back in the driving seat at the top of the table.
Most alarmingly for Carlo Ancelotti`s men they were not undone by Barca`s traditional strengths of passing and movement as the hosts` goals came from a set-piece headed home by Jeremy Mathieu and a long ball over the top from Dani Alves which Suarez did brilliantly to control and finish on the turn.
"So many missed chances," lamented Madrid sports daily Marca.
"The whites played the better football and were more motivated, but Barca struck from a set-piece and on the counter-attack."
Inside there was praise for Suarez`s run of seven goals in his last seven games, which have began to repay the faith Barca made in signing him for a club record fee from Liverpool in July just weeks after he was banned for four months for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
"He has already justified the investment made in him," said Marca, highlighting his ability not just to score goals but also unsettle defenders which led to the free-kick for Barca`s opener.
Sport hailed the Uruguayan as a "killer" in front of goal who dug his side out of a hole as Madrid were the team in the ascendency before he struck just before the hour mark.
Meanwhile, the other Catalan sport daily, Mundo Deportivo, named Suarez man of the match for playing "with the passion that the match required and, above all, being decisive in the most important thing, the scoreline."
However, there were also words of warning for Barcelona in their quest to seal a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League for just the second time in their history.
Luis Enrique`s men have on paper the much tougher run in with away games at Sevilla, champions Atletico Madrid and local rivals Espanyol to come.
Indeed an unlikely title challenge from Valencia can`t yet be ruled out as Nuno Espirito Santo`s in-form side lie eight points off the top, but face both Barca and Madrid in the final weeks of the season and don`t have the distraction of Champions League football like the top two.