Barcelona, Nov 5 (IANS) Paco Alcacer went from being the forgotten man at FC Barcelona to be the hero of the night as he scored two goals that gave his side a 2-1 win over Sevilla FC at the Camp Nou Stadium.
Alcacer was a surprise inclusion in Ernesto Valverde’s starting XI, but repaid the faith his coach showed in him with a goal in each half, reports Xinhua news agency.
The striker showed the goal poaching ability he produced at Valencia to get in ahead of the Sevilla defence and produce two first time finishes in what was Argentine superstar Lionel Messi’s 600th match for the club.
Guido Pizarro’s header had brought Sevilla back on level terms, but Barca deserved the triumph which means they have won 10 of their first 11 matches of the season and temporarily opened up an 11 point gap over Real Madrid.
Barcelona are now on 31 points, four points ahead of second placed Valencia, reports Efe news agency.
Barcelona dominated the game throughout the first half and much of the second, but allowed Sevilla to react in the early minutes of the second half.
Barca moved fast from the start, with Messi largely leading the way, though without contributing a goal.
Accompanied by the usual suspects Messi and Luis Suarez, Paco Alcacer slotted the ball into the net to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Sevilla were looking better when it came out for the second half and a somewhat more sluggish Barca saw the game moving closer to its area.
Then at in the 58th minute, Sevilla’s Guido Pizarro blasted a header for a score, making it 1-1, still anybody’s game.
But in the 65th minute Alcacer proved himself to be the hero of the match and scored his second goal to give Barcelona a 2-1 win.
Valencia remain four points behind Barca after they claimed their seventh consecutive win in the La Liga as they defeated Leganes 3-0 at the Mestalla Stadium.
Dani Parejo’s intelligent free kick under the defensive wall, put Valencia ahead in the 14th minute, but it was not until the second half that they made the game safe with a headed goal from Rodrigo Moreno and a late penalty from Santi Mina.
Valencia have now scored 30 goals this season with an average of almost three goals a game.
Meanwhile, Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey scored a last-gasp goal to give Atletico Madrid a 1-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruña to get the club back on track in La Liga action.
Atletico again failed to convince with another stuttering display away from home in which their strikers were once again disappointing and Antoine Griezmann was replaced by defender Jose Gimenez with 10 minutes to play.
Atletico rarely posed a threat to Deportivo’s goalkeeper during Saturday’s match, which seemed destined to end in yet another draw for Diego Simeone’s men.
Thomas, however, scored the winner off a free kick two minutes into stoppage time to save his team once again and give them three points they barely deserved.
The 24-year-old had scored the second-half equalizer for Atletico against Qarabag in a UEFA Champions League match played on October 31 that ended 1-1.
Atletico finally got a win after three consecutive 1-1 draws — against Elche in Copa del Rey, Villarreal in La Liga and Qarabag.
With this win, Atletico have climbed provisionally to the third spot in the La Liga with 23 points (behind FC Barcelona and Valencia), while Deportivo are 16th with 11 points.
Also on Saturday, Christian Santos needed less than a minute to score the goal which gave Deportivo Alaves their first home win of the season as they beat Espanyol, who have yet to win away from home, 1-0 in Vitoria.
Post Source: Ians feed