Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored twice in two minutes as Barcelona broke the resistance of 10-man Atletico Madrid to go 11 points clear of their La Liga title rivals. Diego Costa was sent off in the 28th minute at Camp Nou after insulting referee Gil Manzano but while Atletico held on for almost another hour, Suarez and Messi struck late to seal a pivotal 2-0 win. The victory leaves Barca almost out of sight with seven games left to play and maintains momentum ahead of Wednesday's trip to Manchester United in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
The pair have now scored 53 league goals between them this season while for Messi, this was a record 335th La Liga victory. Costa's early and needless dismissal left Atletico needing snookers just to avoid defeat. "I asked the referee and he told me Costa said something to him," Simeone said. "Other players have said things and not been sent off but that does not justify what Costa did." Suarez intervened with a superb long-range strike in the 85th minute, before Messi added a second in the 86th.