Barcelona narrowly win to pile pressure on Real Madrid, keep title hunt alive
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Barcelona narrowly win to pile pressure on Real Madrid, keep title hunt alive

LaLiga defending champions Barcelona squeezed through past rivals Espanyol 1-0 at the Camp Nou to keep alive their faint hopes of defending their crown. 

Luis Suarez struck the all-important goal in the 56th minute, getting to the end of a loose ball to tap from two yards out for his 195th Barcelona goal. 

The match was filled with drama as both sides were reduced to 10 men early in the second half. 

First, it was Barca's teenage forward Ansu Fati who was shown a red card for a poor challenge, five minutes after coming on. 

The visitors were however reduced to 10 as well three minutes later following Pol Lozano's dismissal for a similar mistake to Fati.

The win moved the Catalan side to 76 points from 35 games, a point below their bitter rivals Real Madrid who top the standings on 77 points but now have a match at hand. 

They can however restore their four-point lead if they pick maximum points on Friday when they host Alaves at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

Barcelona are looking to pick their third consecutive Spanish title, but have faltered in recent matches allowing their rivals to steal a march on them. 

Speaking after the match, Suarez urged his teammates to keep winning and hope for a Madrid slip-up. 

"We knew how difficult this game would be because of Espanyol's situation and we were tired from Sunday's game and we played with less intensity," Suarez said.

"But the important thing is that we won the game and picked up more points."

Meanwhile, a beaten Espanyol were relegated for the first time since winning promotion back to La Liga in 1994.