MADRID (AP)—Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi came to the rescue again by scoring late as Barcelona avoided an upset at home and maintained its comfortable lead in the Spanish league on Sunday.
The duo added to their scoring run in a come-from-behind 2-1 win against relegation-wary Alaves at Camp Nou, keeping the Catalan club 11 points in front of Atletico Madrid, which earlier defeated Las Palmas 3-0 at home.
The result extended Barcelona's unbeaten streak in the league to 21 matches, its best mark since Pep Guardiola's team did the same in the 2009-10 season.
''It was a complicated match,'' Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. ''They made it difficult by taking the lead. We had to keep pressing until the end to get the victory.''
Sitting just outside the relegation zone, Alaves surprisingly went ahead with forward John Guidetti scoring midway through the first half. The visitors threatened constantly on the counterattack until Suarez evened the score with a volley from inside the area in the 72nd minute after a cross by Andres Iniesta.
Messi netted the winner with a well-struck free kick in the 84th, hitting the top corner.
Lionel. Messi.— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) January 28, 2018
This brilliant goal gives FC Barcelona the 2-1 victory over Alavespic.twitter.com/UWOX9HVI70
Suarez and Messi have combined to score at least a goal each in seven of Barcelona's last eight matches. Messi is the league's leading scorer with 20 goals, followed by Suarez with 16.
Messi found the net 11 times in his last 12 games, while Suarez scored 12 goals in the last 10.
Philippe Coutinho made his debut as a starter, being replaced in the second half. The newly signed Brazil midfielder had played a few minutes in Barcelona's win over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
Alaves was unsuccessful in two key appeals for handball during the game.