Luis Suarez and Paulinho steer Barca to win as Messi hits woodwork three times

Luis Suarez and Paulinho each scored twice as LaLiga leaders 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 December 23, Barca overwhelmed their visitors at the Nou Camp, with all four finishes coming inside the six-yard box and enough good chances to at least double their eventual tally.

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

Tweet of the match

"Last season, #BarcaDepor finished 4-0 - we'd love a repeat! #ForcaBarca 🔵🔴" - A pre-match plea from the club's official account @FCBarcelona becomes a prophecy of the evening's events.

Star man - Lionel Messi

It may appear sycophantic to laud the man who squandered a penalty and missed enough presentable scoring opportunities to walk away with the match ball ahead of the two men whose goals ultimately settled matters but Messi was the game's clear difference maker. He added spark and energy to every attack, drifted past defenders in a trice, presented Suarez's opener on a platter and had the original shot which created the leftovers for Paulinho's opener. Andres Iniesta might have been a worthy recipient had he stayed on the field longer than 56 minutes.

Stat of the match

Messi has now been denied by the woodwork on 14 occasions this season, quite a feat for a player who has scored the same number of times. Barca struck the frame of the goal a total of five times against Depor, the most in a single match since Barcelona managed the same figure against Real Betis in 2005.

Goal-line gripes

While it barely mattered in the context of the match, the uncertainty around Suarez's 'rabona' finish on the stroke of half-time did little for the credibility of LaLiga's rule-makers.

Why the Spanish top flight is waiting until next season to adopt the kind of technology other European peers have rolled out with greater speed and commitment is anyone's guess. If this was a bigger match or a fixture which determined some of the end-of-season spoils a referee's guess would simply not be good enough.

Match Ratings

Barcelona: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen 6, Sergi Roberto 8, Gerard Pique 7, Thomas Vermaelen 7, Jordi Alba 8, Ivan Rakitic 7, Andres Iniesta 9, Paulinho 9, Lionel Messi 9, Luis Suarez 9, Paco Alcacer 6. Substitues: Aleix Vidal (for Alcacer) 6, Andre Gomes (for Iniesta) 6, Lucas Digne (for Alba) 5.

Deportivo: Ruben Martinez 8, Juanfran 5, Sidnei 6, Fabian Schaer 5, Fernando Navarro 5, Celso Borges 5, Guilherme 4, Carles Gil 5, Emre Colak 4, Adrian Lopez 4, Lucas Perez 5. Substitutes: Federico Valverde (for Guilherme) 5, Zakaria Bakkali (for Colak) 5, Borja Valle (for Gil) 5.

Who's up next?

Real Madrid v Barcelona (La Liga, Dec 23)

Deportivo v Celta Vigo (La Liga, Dec 23)


KEYWORDS:

 

Most Read in Sport