NEWS
Sunday December 17 2017
Barca braces blow away Depor

Luis Suarez and Paulinho bagged braces as Barcelona blew away Deportivo La Coruna with a 4-0 scoreline, which flattered the Galicians.

See how the action unfolded at Camp Nou with our liveblog!

Barca's win came despite another controversial ghost goal, Lionel Messi missing a penalty and the woodwork being struck on several occasions, although their profligacy still yielded four finishes to leave themselves 11 points clear of Real Madrid in time for next week's Clasico.

Andres Iniesta had missed the Catalans’ last two games with a calf strain, but he returned to face Depor alongside Javier Mascherano, who was named a substitute after having nursed a hamstring injury for the past month.

Paco Alcacer also started with Messi and Suarez up top, but no chances were taken over Busquets, given he was one yellow card away from a ban, which would rule him out of the Clasico next weekend. His place was filled by Paulinho.

You’d have to go back to October 2003 for the last time the Galicians won at Camp Nou, but they famously stayed up with a 2-2 draw on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign and dented the Blaugrana’s title hopes with a 2-1 win on home soil last season.

Barca could’ve gone 2-0 up inside the opening 10 minutes, but Suarez was clearly offside when he struck home from close range and Messi couldn't keep his finish down inside Depor’s box.

They were also forced into an early change, when Alcacer left the field with a thigh injury, but Ruben Martinez’s night became no easier as he parried away Messi's clipped finish from the left, before instinctively tipping over Aleix Vidal’s bouncing volley.

However, he could only watch Suarez continue his resurgence with a tap-in from Messi’s low ball across goal.

Barca then broke quickly with a three-on-two, and Suarez’s cutback for Messi was effortlessly curled on to the crossbar by the No 10.

The Argentine saw another effort hit the woodwork soon after, but Paulinho was there to sweep up the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.

Yet for all the Catalans’ brilliance, their spotlight was stolen by La Liga’s lack of goal-line technology before half-time.

Suarez attempted a rabona from a yard out, but despite the ball crossing the line when Ruben clawed it away, the goal wasn’t given.

Nonetheless, Sergi Roberto’s low cross was beautifully turned in by Suarez first time, just a couple of minutes into the restart.

Barca’s domination showed no signs of abating, and Messi clipped the post from a free kick, before bending a rasping finish just wide of Ruben’s left-hand post.

However, the goalkeeper was able to smother Suarez’s one-on-one and bat away the No 10’s penalty to his left after Madrid loanee Federico Valverde had lunged into the Uruguayan.

Paulinho, on the other hand, wasn’t so wasteful as another shot crashed Ruben’s stanchion - and the Brazilian helped himself to another rebound.

The evening ended with Suarez slamming a late shot on to Ruben’s near post, but Barca still managed to extend their lead at the top to six points.

Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo La Coruna

Suarez 29, 47, Paulinho 41, 75

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba (Digne 81); Rakitic, Paulinho, Iniesta (Gomes 56); Messi; Suarez, Alcacer (Vidal 23)

Deportivo La Coruna: Ruben; Juanfran, Schar, Sidnei, Fernando; Guilherme (Federico Valverde 63), Borges; Gil (Valle 84), Emre (Bakkali 63), Adrian; Lucas

Referee: Mateu Lahoz

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