Photo : @Barcelona

Luis Suarez rose to the challenge that Lionel Messi’s absence provided by powering Barcelona to a hard-fought 4-1 win at struggling Granada on Sunday to keep up the champions’ pursuit of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

The Uruguay striker scored Barca’s opener with a classy lob in the 44th minute and provided assists for Paco Alcacer and Ivan Rakitic to seal the points after the home side surprisingly drew level early in the second half through Jeremie Boga.

Neymar added extra shine to the victory with his 100th goal for Barca by knocking in a cross from Alcacer in added time.

Barca are second on 66 points, two behind Real Madrid who beat Alaves 3-0 earlier on Sunday and have a game in hand.

La Liga top scorer Messi was suspended for Barca’s trip to the picturesque Andalusian city, where they clinched the title last season, and coach Luis Enrique took a risk by resting regulars Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Samuel Umtiti before losing Rafinha to injury in the 17th minute.