Suarez scores twice as Barcelona beat Las Palmas in Spain

AP , Saturday 26 Sep 2015

Barcelona
Barcelona's Luis Suarez (L) celebrates next to teammate Neymar after scoring his second goal against Las Palmas during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Lionel Messi tore a ligament in his left knee near the start of Barcelona's costly 2-1 win over Las Palmas that provisionally lifted the defending champions to the top of the Spanish league on Saturday.

The club's all-time leading scorer asked to be substituted in the eighth minute after he had tried to return to the match following a collision with a Las Palmas defender.

Medical tests at a local hospital found that he had torn a ligament, and the club said Messi will be sidelined for seven to eight weeks.

With Messi gone, Luis Suarez took charge of the hosts' attack as they bounced back from their stinging 4-1 loss at Celta Vigo on Wednesday.

The Uruguay striker headed in Barcelona's first in the 25th minute before he fired in a second goal in the 54th.

Barceona's Neymar missed a penalty in the 66th, and Las Palmas forward Jonathan Viera scored in the 88th.

Real Madrid can restore its league lead with a win over Malaga later.

Celta can also move back ahead of Barcelona with a win at Eibar, while Atletico Madrid visits Villarreal, and bottom-placed Sevilla hosts Rayo Vallecano.

The Camp Nou crowd of almost 75,000 went from sharing a collective sigh to an eerie silence when Messi's early scoring chance ended with him writhing on pitch.

Messi used an expert touch to control a long ball and streak down the right side of the area, where Diego Bigas collided with the star forward, sending Messi to the turf.

Play was stopped for team doctors to check on Messi. He then went back to test his leg, but eventually asked to be replaced.

"The worst news is the injury to our best man," said Barcelona's Sergio Busquets. "He asked to be changed because something was wrong, he doesn't like not to play. He is the best player in the world, so of course we will notice his absence."

Suarez erased some of the jitters among Barcelona's faithful when he jumped above two defenders to head in Sergi Roberto's crisp cross from the right corner.

Las Palmas mustered a pair of counterattacks before halftime, but Suarez got what proved to be the winner when he converted a pass from El Haddadi that Busquets cleverly let run past.

Suarez set up Neymar to get another goal when Las Palmas defender Antolin Alcaraz handled his lofted ball in the area, only for the Brazil striker to fire his spot kick over the bar.

Viera added drama to stoppage time when he scored after Javier Mascherano lost the ball and allowed the visitors to pull one back. 

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