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Comfy win for Barca, but at a cost as Messi injures knee

Xinhua, September 27, 2015 Adjust font size:

Leo Messi lasted just 8 minutes before leaving FC Barcelona's 2-1 win at home to Las Palmas with an apparent knee injury, before Luis Suarez became Barca's hero with two goals in what was eventually a fairly comfortable victory, with a dose of nerves in the closing minutes.

Messi was injured in a collision with Las Palmas defender Pedro Bigas in just the fourth minute of the game and although he briefly returned after treatment he soon signaled he was unable to continue and was replaced by young forward Munir.

Messi's injury left the Camp Nou subdued and Las Palmas were able to hold them at bay with relative ease until the 25th minute when Munir and Sergi Roberto worked space on the right for the full back to plant a pinpoint cross on Suarez's head for the striker to score with ease.

Neymar should have doubled the lead after Suarez got behind the defense but was unable to provide a killer final pass, while at the other end Ter Stegen parried a powerful drive from Jonathan Viera.

Barca coach Luis Enrique had said on Friday that he would be criticized if he rested players and his team lost, but he made changes from the side which was defeated 4-1 in Vigo on Wednesday with Andres Iniesta and Dani Alves rested, while Adriano and Marc Bartra came into starting 11.

His decision looked to be vindicated eight minutes after the break when Munir found space on the right. Sergio Busquets dummied and Suarez smashed the ball past the wrong-footed Javi Varas to make it 2-0.

Suarez then forced Alcaraz into committing a penalty for handball with 25 minutes remaining, but Neymar sent the resulting spotkick into the crowd.

Mascherano tested Varas from distance as the game wound down in the closing minutes, while Neymar also forced another save from the Las Palmas keeper.

Las Palmas got a lifeline with 3 minutes remaining when a rare Javier Mascherano error allowed Viera to score after his wickedly deflected shot deflected past the helpless Stegen. Endite