Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo La Coruna: Luis Suarez and Paulinho net twice in La Liga win
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 18/12/17 7:51am
Luis Suarez and Paulinho both scored twice as Barcelona beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 to go six points clear at the top of La Liga on Sunday.
Both players scored in either half at the Nou Camp, with the Uruguay striker opening the scoring in the 29th minute before Paulinho doubled the lead in the 41st minute.
Two minutes after the restart, Suarez added a second before the Brazil midfielder rounded off proceedings in the 75th minute to send Barcelona six points ahead of Athletico Madrid, while Deportivo remain in 17th place.
Barcelona could have added to their tally too, but a Suarez strike was not deemed to have gone over the line in the final minute of the first half while Lionel Messi had a penalty saved by Deportivo goalkeeper Ruben in the second half.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), S Roberto (7), Vermaelen (7), Pique (7), Alba (7), Paulinho (8), Rakitic (7), Iniesta (8), Messi (7), L Suarez (8), Alcacer.
Subs used: Vidal (7), Gomes (6), Digne (5).
Deportivo: Ruben (7), Juanfran (6), Schar (6), Sidnei (7), Navarro (6), Guilherme (6), Borges (6), Gil (6), Colak (6), Adrian (6), Perez (6).
Subs used: Valverde (4), Bakkali (4), Valle (n/a)
Man of the match: Luis Suarez.
The hosts got off to a fast start at the Nou Camp, with Lionel Messi firing high over the crossbar in the fourth minute before the ball did hit the back of the net not long after, but Paco Alcacer was flagged for offside before Suarez had scored.
Ruben looked to be in fine form on Sunday, but after making two quick saves from Messi and Aleix Vidal, he was beaten by the opening goal from Suarez in the 29th minute. Andres Iniesta produced a superb pass from the middle of the half to pick out Messi on the left of the box, who squared the ball for the waiting Suarez to tap home.
Barcelona made two changes with Andres Iniesta and Paco Alcacer coming back into the XI for Sergio Busquets and Denis Suarez. Deportivo named an unchanged side.
Messi mostly ended up hitting the woodwork with his efforts during the game, and it was a strike against the upright that set Barcelona up for their second goal in the 41st minute. After the Argentine had struck the bar, the rebound fell to Paulinho at the back post, who was able to slot home into the far corner.
It could have been three for Barcelona in the final minute of the first half as Suarez attempted to score with a rabona finish, but Ruben pushed away the effort, although not before the ball looked to have gone over the line. With no goal line technology in La Liga, the referee waved away the claims for a goal, much to the dismay of the Barcelona players.
But that didn't stop Suarez from scoring his second of the evening just two minutes after the break. It was another great break from the hosts with Sergio Roberto whipping a superb cross in front of goal, finding the striker at the back post who once again tapped home.
Messi's best chance to get on the scoresheet came in the 70th minute as Federico Valverde fouled Suarez in the box to give Barcelona a penalty. It was the Argentine who stepped up, but Ruben guessed correctly and leapt the right way to keep Messi's spot kick from hitting the top corner.
Five minutes later though, and Paulinho nabbed his second of the evening, converting the rebound after Ruben did well to push away Jordi Alba's initial effort at the near post. The Brazilian was lurking in a packed box to poke the ball home and round off a convincing win for Barcelona.
Man of the match - Luis Suarez
After a slow start to the season by his owns standards, Suarez netted goals number eight and nine on Sunday and he did so with some fantastic awareness in the box and anticipation of what his team-mates were going to do.
Although Messi did not score, Suarez also won a penalty for his side and continued to create against Deportivo, hitting form at just the right time heading into Saturday's El Clasico.
It's the big one for Barcelona next weekend - El Clasico - as they travel to Real Madrid on Saturday, December 23 live on Sky Sports. Deportivo also play on Saturday in La Liga as they welcome Celta Vigo at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Football.