Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Eight-goal Barcelona emphatically restate title credentials as Suarez nets four

LA CORUNA, SPAIN - APRIL 20: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona embraces his team mates Neymar (L) and Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona after Neymar scores his team's eighth goal during the La Liga match between RC Deportivo La Coruna and FC Barcelona at Riazor Stadium on April 20, 2016 in La Coruna, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
LA CORUNA, SPAIN - APRIL 20: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona embraces his team mates Neymar (L) and Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona after Neymar scores his team's eighth goal during the La Liga match between RC Deportivo La Coruna and FC Barcelona at Riazor Stadium on April 20, 2016 in La Coruna, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona restated their title ambitions by thrashing Deportivo La Coruna 8-0 away from home, with Luis Suarez scoring four times and contributing three assists as they showed no mercy.

The Uruguayan scored twice in the first half and Ivan Rakitic grabbed the third early in the second half, before Suarez quickly doubled his tally. Lionel Messi had provided two assists for Suarez and finally got on the scoresheet by tapping home after a brilliant move by the Uruguayan, while defender Marc Bartra scored a brilliant individual goal before Neymar rounded off the scoring to end his goal drought.

Barca desperately needed a response in Galicia after losing three games in a row and letting Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid back into the title race.

Barca had drawn their last two games with Deportivo after taking two-goal leads, but had an encouraging record at Riazor, winning 5-4 there in 2012-13 and 4-0 last season.

They could have taken an early lead when Andres Iniesta fed Suarez with a low pass in the area, but the Uruguayan could only shoot into the side netting.

Then Messi went for goal from just inside the area, forcing goalkeeper Manu to tip wide for a corner, which lead to Barca taking the lead. Rakitic sent in an in-swinging corner and Suarez used his strength to fight off Depor defender Sidnei and volley into the near post from six yards out.

Depor spurned two chances to equalise soon after. First Celso Borges sent a volley straight at Claudio Bravo after receiving a cross unmarked in the area, then the Costa Rica international tried to bring the ball round Bravo but was thwarted by the combined efforts of Barta and the Chilean goalkeeper.

Suarez put Barca firmly in charge after 24 minutes thanks to smart link-up play involving Iniesta and Messi, who pulled off a sublime flick on the edge of the area to send the Spaniard's pass into the path of Suarez, who took one touch before sliding the ball past Manu.

The former Liverpool man turned provider for Barca's third, sending a cross to the far post for Rakitic to send the ball in on the half volley.

He completed his hat-trick thanks to another assist from Messi, the Argentine rolling the ball through the legs of a defender and Suarez slotting in with a flick of his right boot.

Neymar set Suarez on his way for goal number four, although the striker had to follow up his initial shot on the rebound to score.

But perhaps Suarez's best move of an irrepressible performance was not for one of his goals but for his assist to Messi. He span around to free himself from a defender and rolled the ball across to Messi to tap in.

Bartra then produced a bursting run forward, showing the strength and attacking prowess of a forward to score the seventh, and there was still time for Neymar to get on the scoresheet, meeting a Suarez pass at the near post to score his first goal in six games.

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