BARCELONA – Barcelona bid farewell to 2017 at Camp Nou with an easy 4-0 win over Deportivo La Coruña on Sunday, enabling the Catalonian team to go into next week’s classic against Real Madrid at Bernabeu with an 11-point advantage in the standings.
The timid Deportivo, surely one of the worst teams to play so far this season at Camp Nou, were simply unable to compete against the powerhouse squad of Ernesto Valverde, who – in an easy-tempo match – scored two goals in the first half and two more in the second, one each from Luis Suarez and Paulinho in each period.
With the victory, Barça recouped its 6-point lead over Atletico Madrid in the Spanish First Division standings, although they lost Paco Alcacer to an injury, while Deportivo is desperately, and perhaps fruitlessly, trying to stave off being relegated to second division.
Alcacer went down with a muscle injury before the first half was out, and he will be recovering for the next three weeks, thus removing him from the lineup for the match with Real Madrid next weekend.
Lionel Messi was in charge of the attack throughout the match, although he did not manage to find the twine himself.
The first goal came in the 29th minute when Messi fired a pass to Suarez, who knocked it in for an easy tally.
Then, in the 41st minute, it was Paulinho who recovered a Messi shot that struck the upright and rebounded, tapping it in for the 2-0.
Suarez might have had a second goal just before the first half ended, but the referee ruled it did not go in, but just after the second period started it was Sergi Roberto passing to Suarez again on a marvelous play that put Barça up by 3.
Messi missed another close-in chance in the 70th minute when his shot hit the goal frame, but Paulinho was there to take up the slack five minutes later on a rebound shot-on-goal by Jordi Alba.
The match was played before some 53,607 fans.