Luis Suarez netted a hat-trick and Javier Mascherano was sent off as Barcelona came from behind to defeat Eibar 3-1 in La Liga on Sunday, while Real Sociedad eased the pressure on under-fire coach David Moyes with a comprehensive win away to Levante that saw opposite number Lucas Alcaraz lose his job.
Minnows Eibar stunned Camp Nou by taking the lead through Borja Baston in the 10th minute, the in-form Atletico Madrid loanee tucking home a rebound from Keko’s initial shot.
Suarez, on the first anniversary of his Barca debut, equalised in the 21st minute, heading home to complete a sweeping move involving Sergio Busquets and Sandro Ramirez.
The ex-Ajax and Liverpool man sent the hosts ahead for the first time in the game three minutes into the second half, firing home from inside the area after being set-up by Neymar. The Uruguayan completed his treble with five minutes remaining, receiving a deep cross at the back post, bringing it down and cutting inside to fire decisively past goalkeeper Asier Riesgo.
The only negative for Luis Enrique’s reigning champions was the straight red card shown to Mascherano for apparent dissent in the 83rd minute, leaving the key defender facing the prospect of a suspension that could keep him out of El Clasico away to Real Madrid on November 21.
For now, though, the win sees Barca draw level with leaders Madrid on 21 points at the top of La Liga.
In the last kick-off of the day, Atletico defeated Valencia 2-1 at home to move to third spot, two points behind the joint leaders.
Two goals in the space of eight first-half minutes from Jackson Martinez and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco saw Diego Simeone’s men take a comfortable lead into the half-time break at Estadio Vicente Calderon.
And, although Paco Alcacer pulled one back for Los Che from the penalty spot with 18 minutes to go, it was not enough for Nuno Espirito Santo’s visitors to take anything from the game.
Earlier on Sunday, Sociedad secured an important three points away from home with a 4-0 win, a result that should earn former Everton manager Moyes a stay of execution amid reports his position is under threat.
Former Arsenal youngster Carlos Vela opened and completed the scoring for the Basque club, either side of goals from Imanol Agirretxe Arruti in the first half and Asier Illarramendi in the second.
The much-needed win, Sociedad’s first in four attempts, lifted them to 14th, three points outside the relegation zone, while Levante, who ended the game with 10 men after Deyverson received a second yellow card in the 90th minute, are bottom and Alcaraz was dismissed later in the day.
Las Palmas, meanwhile, climbed to 18th at Levante’s expense after they earned a point in a 0-0 draw at home to Villarreal.