Suarez, Paulinho both score twice as Barcelona thrash Depor
Barcelona 4 - 0 Deportivo La Coruna

Suarez, Paulinho both score twice as Barcelona thrash Depor

17/12/2017

Luis Suarez and Paulinho each scored twice as Barcelona tuned up for next week's Clasico with a handsome 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna.

With a trip to Real Madrid coming on Dec. 23, Barca overwhelmed their visitors at the Nou Camp, with all four finishes coming inside the six-yard box and enough good chances to have at least doubled their eventual tally.

Lionel Messi somehow failed to join his teammates on the scoresheet, hitting the woodwork on three separate occasions and missing several inviting chances including a second-half penalty saved by Ruben Martinez.

Victory puts Ernesto Valverde's side two wins clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 11 points ahead of Real with a game in hand.

It took just a couple of minutes for Barca to hit their stride, Suarez and Iniesta slicing open Depor to fashion a chance which Messi volleyed over.

Suarez had the ball over the line soon after, only for an offside flag against Paco Alcacer to spoil his fun, though Messi failed to find sufficient bite when teed up by Jordi Alba.

An injury to Alcacer left Barca a man short while Aleix Vidal prepared to enter the game but the relief did not last long for Depor, whose only replies involved Lucas Perez trying to fight the tide with minimal support.

Midway through the half the hosts laid siege to the box, starting when Messi warmed Ruben Martinez's palms from 20 yards.

Vidal did not commit to his far-post volley but a goal was inevitable and Iniesta provided the ammunition with a perfectly weighted chip over the top. Messi controlled and waited just long enough for Suarez to return from an inactive offside position to leave the Uruguayan a point-blank finish.

Messi pelted the crossbar and post within a four-minute spell, though the latter scenario saw Paulinho guide the rebound home despite an unfriendly angle and pressure from Sidnei.

An electric one-two between Suarez and Messi should have ended in a third just before half-time but Suarez's close-range "rabona" finish was fended away by a sprawling Martinez.

By the time he got his gloves on the ball he did appear to be well behind the line but in the absence of goal-line technology, the referee refused to uphold Suarez's celebrations.

He did not have long to wait to restart them, clipping in at the far post within two minutes of the restart to cap Sergi Roberto's precise cross from the right.

The visitors were all but devoid of fight, Carles Gil launching a rare and unsuccessful effort on Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal.

At the other end Messi was foiled again and again, hitting the woodwork for the third time with a bending free kick then seeing a weak penalty saved by Martinez. Suarez had won the spot-kick from Federico Valverde but deferred to his colleague despite the possibility of a hat-trick.

Paulinho made it four in the 75th minute, sniffing out and converting another ricochet off the post from Alba's original effort.

But the goal refused to come for Messi, who missed another glorious opening in a closing period that could have yielded a further three goals.

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