Deportivo La Coruna 2-4 Barcelona: Lionel Messi hat-trick seals La Liga title
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 30/04/18 8:02am
A hat-trick from Lionel Messi sealed the La Liga title for Barcelona as they beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-2 on Sunday evening.
It was not an easy win at the Riazor for the newly crowned champions, although they took a two-goal lead with Philippe Coutinho (7) and Messi (38) netting before Lucas Perez (40) deservedly pulled a goal back for Depor in the first half.
The hosts got themselves level through Emre Colak (64) before Messi netted a quick-fire double late on (82 and 85) to round off his hat-trick and ensure that the La Liga trophy returns to the Nou Camp.
Deportivo: Ruben (7), Juanfran (7), Albentosa (7), Luisinho (7), Schar (6), Colak (7), Krohn-Dehli (6), Guilherme (6), Borges (7), Perez (7), Valle (7).
Subs used: Muntari (n/a), Fede (n/a), Andone (n/a).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Semedo (7), Pique (7), Alba (7), Umtiti (7), Rakitic (7), Busquets (7), Coutinho (7), Suarez (9), Messi (9), Dembele (7).
Subs used: Denis Suarez (7), Paulinho (5), Iniesta (n/a).
Man of the match: Lionel Messi.
While it was joy for Barca, the defeat means that Clarence Seedorf's Deportivo side are now relegated from the division.
It took seven minutes for the visitors to take the lead. Ousmane Dembele's initial cross was well blocked by Luisinho, but he pulled the rebounded ball back to the top of the area for Coutinho to curl a beautiful strike into the back of the net.
Depor had a goal ruled out for offside 10 minutes later. A corner was headed down by Raul Albentosa into the path of Fabian Schar, who forced a fine, fingertip save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Perez poked home the rebound at the near post and wheeled away to celebrate, but the referee ruled the goal out for offside against Schar, much to the dismay of the home contingent.
Deportivo made two changes from their last game with Michael Krohn-Dehli and Borja Valle coming into the starting XI. Barcelona made three switches from their Copa del Rey victory, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo and Osumane Dembele back in the side.
Despite a number of chances for Depor, it was Barca who doubled their lead in the 38th minute with another superb goal. Luis Suarez received the ball in the area and waited for the incoming Messi on the left before chipping the ball into his path, allowing the Argentine to slot home for his 30th La Liga goal of the season.
But two minutes later, and the hosts got the goal their first-half efforts deserved. Borja Valle was set away, before pinging a ball through the area for the waiting Perez, with the forward bending his strike around the oncoming Jordi Alba and into the back of the net.
Deportivo continued to make life difficult for their illustrious visitors, and got themselves level in the 64th minute. Valle did brilliantly to hold up the ball on the right before flashing a cross through the area, which Celso Borges cut back for the unmarked Colak. He then swept home past Ter Stegen to make things nervy for Barca.
But it was Messi to the rescue in the final 10 minutes as he sealed the title with two more goals. Luis Suarez was involved in both, with the duo playing a great give-and-go in the 82nd minute as Messi swept home from his team-mate's cross.
Three minutes later, and substitute Denis Suarez slipped the ball through for Luis Suarez, who took a few strides before picking out Messi to his right. It was another simple finish for the Argentine, who slotted the ball past Ruben, and saw Barcelona clinch the title with four games to spare.
The title-winning stats
Barcelona:— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 29, 2018
Win 25th La Liga title
Clinch title with 4 games to spare, most since Louis van Gaal’s Barca in 1997-98
Complete 8th domestic double & 3rd in last 4 seasons
Unbeaten in 41 league matches (W33 D8) since 2-0 defeat at Malaga, 8 April 2017#LaLiga pic.twitter.com/m5131Lwdmw
Man of the match - Lionel Messi
Who else? Messi continues to break records, and was vital to Barcelona's victory here as Deportivo pushed their opponents right until the end with their own survival on the line.
He has now reached 550 goals for Barcelona in 634 appearances, scoring his 41st hat-trick for the club, and has won his ninth La Liga title with the Catalan side along with Andres Iniesta, which is a new club record.
Deportivo will next be in action as they travel to Celta Vigo live on Sky Sports on Saturday before a huge El Clasico clash on Sunday as newly crowned La Liga champions Barcelona welcome Real Madrid to the Nou Camp, which you can watch live on Sky Sports.