Luis Suarez stole the show with a brace and an assist as Barcelona fought back from two goals down to win 4-2 at Real Sociedad on Sunday and restore their nine-point lead at the top of La Liga.
Suarez struck in the 50th and 71st minutes, his first a delightful chip from the edge of the area, after laying on Paulinho six minutes before the break to start the fightback from first-half goals from Sociedad’s Willian Jose and Juanmi.
A stunning Lionel Messi free-kick five minutes from time completed the comeback, which puts Ernesto Valverde’s side on 51 points, well ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, 1-0 winners at Eibar on Saturday thanks to Kevin Gameiro’s 27th-minute strike.
The win also moves Barca a full 19 points in front of arch-rivals Real Madrid, who are languishing in fourth and in crisis after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Villarreal.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane was given some respite as Sevilla missed the chance to draw level on points in the race for Champions League qualification after going down 1-0 at lowly Alaves on Sunday.
Manu Garcia’s 52nd-minute strike pulled Alaves out of the relegation zone and left Sevilla sixth on 29 points, three behind fourth-placed Real.
The defeat for Sevilla extends Vincenzo Montella’s losing start in La Liga, with the Italian guiding his new club to two straight league losses since replacing cancer-stricken Eduardo Berizzo, following last week’s 5-3 home Seville derby defeat to Betis.
Espanyol played out a 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao in Sunday’s other game, with Inaki Williams equalising for the Basques six minutes after Gerard Moreno’s 29th-minute opener.