Hat-trick hero Suarez leads Barca to title glory
BARCELONA – May 14 A ravenous Luis Suarez bagged a third hat-trick in five games as defending champions Barcelona won 3-0 at Granada to clinch their 24th La Liga title.
The Uruguayan converted Jordi Alba’s low pass in the 22nd minute to give Barca the lead. He then headed in Dani Alves’ cross in the 38th before tapping Neymar’s pass into an empty net in the 86th.
“We were on top of the table for many weeks and the most consistent team wins the title,” coach Luis Enrique told a news conference.
“We will celebrate this, we enjoy our team and the style in which they play. We must value each title win because it is worth a lot.”
Suarez finished the season as La Liga’s top scorer with 40 goals, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s grip on the honour since 2009.
Barca ended with 91 points, one ahead of Real Madrid who won 2-0 at Deportivo La Coruna.
Ronaldo scored twice for Real to reach 50 goals in all competitions for the sixth consecutive season.
He was substituted at halftime after hurting his foot but there is no suggestion he could miss the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid in two weeks’ time.
Goals from Fernando Torres and Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo while Athletic Bilbao beat Sevilla 3-1.
Atletico finished third on 88 points and Bilbao secured a place in the Europa League by ending up in fifth spot.
With attention on Wednesday’s Europa League final against
Liverpool, Sevilla coach Unai Emery put out a heavily-rotated team.
Gerard Pique came close to giving Barca an early lead against Granada when his header was tipped away by goalkeeper Andres Fernandez who also saved well from Messi.
Fernandez was powerless to stop Suarez’s opener, however, the Uruguayan tapping the ball home at the far post.
The second goal was delightful. Javier Mascherano launched a long diagonal pass towards the byline and Alves raced to meet it before hooking a cross for Suarez to nod in from close range.
Suarez nearly laid on a third for Neymar but the Brazilian was denied by Fernandez.
Neymar then generously played in Suarez to complete his hat-trick before the end. “This title tastes great after so much hard work throughout the year and suffering right until the end,” said Barca captain Andres Iniesta. -Reuters