Espanyol 0 Barcelona 3: Suarez brace, Rakitic strike sends Luis Enrique's side to the top
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Barcelona moved to the top of LaLiga courtesy of a 3-0 win over city rivals Espanyol, with Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic on target.

Barcelona leapfrogged Real Madrid in the title race as second-half goals from Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic secured a convincing 3-0 victory over Espanyol in the Catalonian derby.

Luis Enrique's side - who would have been behind early on at Estadi Cornella-El Prat had Jurado made the most of a golden opportunity - were found lacking in the first half of Saturday's clash, but Suarez came up with the goods early in the second period.

Jurado was the architect of Espanyol's downfall, as his sloppy back pass teed up the Uruguayan, who made no mistake in netting his 25th LaLiga goal of the season - and his first in four games.

It was a cruel blow for Quique Sanchez Flores' side, who had more than held their own in a scrappy opening half.

And the result was wrapped up for Barca late on, Rakitic sliding a composed finish across Diego Lopez following a fantastic run from Lionel Messi before Suarez capitalised on another defensive mistake to add a third.

The victory represents a 16th consecutive victory for Barca against their local rivals, and moves Luis Enrique's side top of the pile in LaLiga with three games remaining.

After a frantic start, it was Espanyol who should have opened the scoring six minutes in. Felipe Caicedo threaded a neat pass into Jurado who somehow failed to hit the target from 10 yards out.

Barca did not take long to respond as Neymar - returning to Luis Enrique's starting XI following a three-match suspension - found space, only to see his goalbound strike blocked by David Lopez.

Espanyol's defence was well organised, though, and despite dominating possession Barca were unable to find a way through their hosts' stubborn backline.

Indeed, it was nothing more than a hopeful cross from Neymar that created Barca's best chance of the first half but, unmarked at the back post, Sergi Roberto could only direct his header into the side netting.

Neymar continued to provide Barca's greatest threat as the interval approached, though the Brazil star could only drill a first-time effort wide after latching on to Suarez's clever pass.

Espanyol's work came undone five minutes into the second half, however.

Jurado attempted a needlessly complicated back pass, and Suarez duly pounced to prod a neat finish past the advancing Diego Lopez.

Espanyol were carved open again shortly after - Neymar weaving his way to the byline before unleashing a cross-cum-shot that Diego Lopez managed to parry clear.

Former Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez was at his best again on the hour mark, brilliantly tipping over Neymar's dipping strike that was destined for the top-right corner.

Jurado looked to atone for his error with just under 20 minutes remaining, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen reacted instinctively to keep out the midfielder's volley.

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However, any hopes of an Espanyol comeback were ended in the 76th minute - Messi slaloming his way through the hosts' defence before teeing up Rakitic for Barca's second.

Barca were not finished there though, Suarez making the most of Aaron Martin's blunder to tuck home from close range.

Key Opta stats:
- Luis Suarez has scored three braces in his last three league derbies against Espanyol.
- Only Neymar (19) has made more assists than Lionel Messi this season among all LaLiga players in all competitions (15, same as Luis Suarez and Toni Kroos).
- Ivan Rakitic has scored eight goals in LaLiga 2016/17, his best haul for Barcelona in a single league season.
- Barcelona have kept clean sheets in each of their last five visits to Espanyol in LaLiga, their longest run away from home against a single team (same as against Racing in 1986).
- Neymar attempted 17 dribbles against Espanyol, his best tally ever in a LaLiga away game for Barcelona.
- Marc-Andre ter Stegen is LaLiga goalkeeper with the most clean sheets this season (13), after Jan Oblak (14).

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