Saturday 3 December 2016

Suarez the star as Barca hit eight in stunning return to form

Richard Martin

Published 21/04/2016 | 02:30

Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring four goals against Deportivo La Coruna. Photo: Miguel Vidal/Reuters
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring four goals against Deportivo La Coruna. Photo: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

A red-hot Luis Suarez scored four goals and contributed three assists as Barcelona's stuttering La Liga title charge sparked back to life with a spectacular 8-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna.

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On a night when title rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid both picked up maximum points, Barcelona rediscovered their top form after three successive defeats had threatened to derail their title challenge.

Barca had drawn their last two league games with Deportivo La Coruna and headed to Riazor without influential defender Gerard Pique in search of a first win in five league games.

Suarez put them on their way in the 11th minute by volleying home Ivan Rakitic's corner from inside the six-yard box, then added the second in the 24 minute with a first-time finish with the help of a stylish tee up from Lionel Messi.

Completed

The former Liverpool striker laid on the cross for Rakitic to score on the half volley shortly after the break, and completed his treble thanks to another assist from Messi. Suarez's fourth goal was scrappier, following his shot in on the rebound after being denied by Deportivo goalkeeper Manu.

He then set up Messi to tap in from inside the box in the 73rd minute.

Arguably the best goal was scored by defender Bartra, who powered his way through Deportivo's defence before producing a confident finish into the far corner in the 79th minute.

There was still time for Neymar to end his drought of five games without a goal, the Brazilian turning another pass by Suarez in at the near post.

Atletico stayed level on points with Barca, however, after Fernando Torres's goal gave them a 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao.

Real Madrid kept up the pressure on the top two with a 3-0 win over Villarreal leaving them one point off the top.

Karim Benzema put Real ahead four minutes before the break with a header from inside the box. Lucas Vasquez doubled their advantage in the 69th minute with a beautiful strike past Sergio Asenjo before Luka Modric wrapped up the points by converting Danilo's cross

In Italy, Francesco Totti came off the bench with five minutes remaining and AS Roma trailing 2-1 at home to Torino.

The Roma legend scored with his first touch and then scored an 89th-minute penalty to cement Roma's spot in third.

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund eased past Hertha Berlin 3-0 to set up a mouth-watering German Cup final against treble-chasing Bayern Munich, who overcame Werder Bremen 2-0 on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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