La Liga: Luis Suarez hat-trick fires Barcelona to 24th Spanish title ahead of Real Madrid

Barcelona retained La Liga on Saturday and claimed the 24th league title in their history with a dominant win over Granada on Saturday.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Luis Enrique’s side made easy work of their struggling opposition away from home.

Barca needed to win to secure the league title with Real Madrid, one point behind, securing a comfortable victory over Deportivo La Coruna

3429C50E00000578-0-image-a-34_1463243394285Luis Suarez won Barcelona this title. Not just with his hat-trick against Granada, which sealed their 24th La Liga triumph, but with 40 league goals across a superhuman season.

An incredible 14 of those have come in his last five games, helping drag his team out of their rut and keep one point clear of Madrid as the Spanish title race ended in a sprint finish.

Barcelona earned 91 points to Real Madrid’s 90, with Suarez winning the Pichichi award, given to the division’s top goalscorer—he is the first player to win it since 2009 not called Lionel or Cristiano.

Barcelona head back to Catalonia having been advised not to hold a parade on Saturday night for security reasons, with an event now arranged for Sunday instead. In a way it feels fitting, given this league should have been won weeks ago but was dragged out until the final week.

3429C96600000578-0-image-a-15_1463242088649Losing three league matches in a row for the first time since 2003 meant in April their season seemed to be crumbling away, especially added to their painful elimination from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid blocking the chance of a double-treble.

There were ugly scenes at the end, as thousands of fans invaded the pitch and the players had to fight their way off. It was something of a metaphor for the title race—it should have been Barcelona’s party but were forced to share the stage.

Twenty-one tense minutes ticked by at the Estadio Nuevo los Carmenes before Suarez burst Granada’s bubble.

Pique had a header clawed out, Messi had a drive from the edge of the box tipped over, and Neymar skewed a lob over the crossbar.

34298CD700000578-0-image-m-25_1463242430268The Brazilian was in the wars, with Ruben Perez stamping on his ankle in the first minute and Miguel Lopes the following suit when Neymar dared try his luck on the other side of the pitch.

Granada created no clear-cut chances at the other end but threatened to break clear a couple of times with Barcelona pushing up in search of the crucial opener.

It eventually came when Neymar and Alba sliced the Andalusians open down the left, with the latter cutting the ball across the box for Suarez to knock home with ease.

This was Suarez’s 38th goal of the league season and the 39th didn’t take too long to follow. It was a very similar goal, but this time down the right flank.

3429A6FB00000578-0-image-m-36_1463243928647Javier Mascherano’s superb pass set in Dani Alves, and the full-back made a lung-bursting run get to the ball before it went out, producing a superb cross which Suarez nodded home at the near post.

The strike meant he had now scored more goals in a season than anyone else in La Liga history not named Lionel or Cristiano. Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sanchez had hit 38, in their best seasons.

Suarez’s goals also confirmed he would take home the Pichichi award, becoming the first man to break the Messi-Ronaldo hegemony since his Uruguayan compatriot Diego Forlan won it in 2009.

There was little football played in the second half, as Granada hacked away at Barcelona players’ shins instead of trying to get back into the game.

Ruben Perez flung a head-butt in Neymar’s direction which he did well to dodge, while the visitors demonstrated with their former team-mate Isaac Cuenca, after he played on when Suarez was down injured.

3429A6FB00000578-0-image-m-36_1463243928647In one of the few chances after the break, Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a good stop from Fran Rico’s strike after El-Arabi played him in, but it was a weak effort.

Suarez completed his hat-trick after Neymar unselfishly squared to him when through on goal, after Messi’s through-ball, taking him to 59 for the season in total.

The MSN trio now has 130, up from 122 in total last year, and they still have the Copa del Rey final to go. If Barcelona complete their double, seeing the two Madrid teams fight it out in Milan for the Champions League will hurt a little less.

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Source: DailyMail

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