Alavés Vs Barcelona: Catalonians On Cusp Of La Liga Glory/RPP
Alavés Vs Barcelona/RPP

FC Barcelona are on the verge of clinching their 26th La Liga title after downing Alaves 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Mendizorrotza Stadium in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Concise News reports that a fine strike from Carles Alena and a penalty goal from Luis Suarez in a span of six second-half minutes proved important to earn Barca the three points, putting them on the cusp of domestic league honours.

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With a Valencia win on tonight against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona will claim their second straight La Liga title.

Manager Ernesto Valverde used the visit to the Basque Country to rest colossal first team players, Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba, meaning Sergi Roberto shifted to left-back, while both Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho joined Luis Suarez up top. There were also a couple tweaks in midfield, with Alena and Arturo Vidal coming in for Arthur and Ivan Rakitic.

A bad giveaway in the Alaves half led to a pair of early chances for Barcelona in which Suarez fired right at Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco and the rebound effort from Coutinho suffering the same fate.

The two teams settled into their respective shapes, with the hosts sagging deep into their own half with a back line of five, fronted by four midfielders, while Barcelona tried to pick out the holes in the Alaves’ defence with their intricate passing.

It took some time but Alaves started making their way forward and there were a couple of balls that tested Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, including a header from Rodrigo Ely.

Barcelona kept knocking the door in the second half and it yielded the first goal of the contest when a ball from Sergi Roberto was dummied by Suarez and into the path of Alena, whose left-footed finish was perfect to hand the visitors a 1-0 lead.

That led to a wild sequence in which Barcelona thought they had their second through Gerard Pique after a mad scramble in the box, but it was disallowed due to Samuel Umtiti being offside. The play went to VAR and in the process, Tomas Pina was whistled for a handball, paving the way for Suarez’s penalty conversion on the hour mark and a 2-0 Barcelona advantage.

The home fans were not too happy about the referee’s decision, and in the midst of all the whistles Messi came on for Dembele. The Argentine’s presence was immediately felt and only a reaction save from Pacheco and the woodwork kept Messi from making it three.

Barcelona would not inflict any further damage, but it was still another three points for the club, who will now wait and see if the league title will be their come late Wednesday night.