Easy win for Barca at home to Levante in La Liga
MADRID, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona reinforced their leadership at the top of the Liga Santander with a 3-0 win at home to Levante on Sunday afternoon.
The victory restores Barca's nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid and 11 over Valencia, who both won on Saturday and puts them 16 clear of Real Madrid, who drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo later on Sunday evening.
Levante travelled to the Camp Nou stadium knowing they had lost their previous 11 encounters there, conceding an average of almost four goals a game.
Meanwhile Barcelona were boosted by their win over Real Madrid before Christmas and Saturday's confirmation of the signing of Phillipe Countinho in a deal worth around 160 million euros.
Following a brief early flurry in which the visitors forced a pair of corners, Barca, who fielded Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and the fit-again Ousmane Dembele took control and Messi opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a left foot volley after being set up by Jordi Alba.
Luis Suarez netted his 11th goal of the campaign seven minutes before halftime when he controlled a Sergi Roberto ball and scored with an acrobatic volley, which took a slight deflection to beat Levante keeper Oier.
The second half saw the pace drop considerably and Levante were close to taking advantage of some losses of concentration in a Barca back line lacking Gerard Pique as Ter Stegen produced fine saves to deny Ivy and Shaquille Moore, while at the other end, Oier produced a good stop to deny Suarez his second of the game.
Paulinho netted Barca's third goal in injury time with a tap in from close range after Messi had once again produced a magical run before squaring the ball for the Brazilian to score his seventh goal of the campaign.[ Editor: WPY ]