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Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez lead Barcelona over Eibar

By Alex Butler
FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez (R) celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi (L) after scoring during the Spanish La Liga Primera Division soccer match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar on Sunday at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Photo by Alberto Estevez/EPA-EFE
FC Barcelona's Luis Suarez (R) celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi (L) after scoring during the Spanish La Liga Primera Division soccer match between FC Barcelona and SD Eibar on Sunday at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Photo by Alberto Estevez/EPA-EFE

Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Luis Suarez upstaged Lionel Messi's 400th La Liga scores with two goals in Barcelona's 3-0 win against Eibar at Camp Nou.

"We knew how tough the game was going to be," Suarez told FCBarcelona.com. "But we were playing at home and I think we tried to take control of the game. We've taken three points."

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Suarez's first blood tally came on a 19th minute assist from Philippe Coutinho. And it was a world-class finish on Sunday in Barcelona.

The Brazilian found the Uruguayan about 40 yards from the net for a nifty give-and-go. Suarez did a blind tap-back to Coutinho before getting the ball back on a swift touch.

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Suarez used his left boot to drag the ball into the box while running. He then tapped over to his left before booting the ball toward the far-post while falling to the ground. The strike was full of movement, as Suarez bent the shot just inside the far-post, beating Eibar keeper Asier Riesgo.

Barcelona took the narrow lead into the half. Messi notched his score in the 53rd minute. Suarez, Coutinho and Messi led a break during that sequence.

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Suarez broke a tackle on the play and passed to his left, finding the Brazilian. Coutinho then tapped back to Suarez once he reached the box. Suarez tapped the ball to Messi on his left. Messi took two touches with his left boot before burying a shot past Riesgo for a two-goal edge.

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Suarez added his second score six minutes later. Sergi Roberto had a quick throw in to Suarez during that sequence. Suarez dribbled the ball into the box from the right side off of the throw. He took a few touches in the box before sliding a shot through a narrow lane and into the net past Riesgo for a third time.

Barcelona remains on top of the La Liga standings at the midpoint of the season. The La Liga leaders lead second-place Atletico Madrid by five points and are 10 points ahead of third-place Sevilla and Real Madrid.

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"We finished the first half of the season," Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said. "We wanted to maintain our advantage that we had against the teams that were chasing us. We've done that."

Suarez and Messi have combined for 31 goals so far this season, more than every other team in La Liga other than Celta Vigo and Sevilla. Suarez has found the net 14 times, while Messi has 17 goals on the season.

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Barcelona battles Levante in the second leg of a Copa del Rey matchup at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at Camp Nou.

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