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Barça’s league title challenge may have suffered a setback over the last few weeks, but there were no signs of the supposed crisis on Wednesday night as they blitzed Deportivo to the tune of a simply glorious 8-0 win. And with four goals and three assists, Luis Suárez had a night that Barça fans will be remembering for years to come.
Luis Enrique’s team made their intentions clear right from the kick-off. They wanted goals. And after a series of early warnings, the Uruguayan had already broken his three-match goalscoring drought, muscling his way onto the end of a corner to poke home the opener.
Deportivo managed to stay in the game for a while. In fact, the Riazor faithful would twice be scratching their heads trying to work out how they didn’t get an equaliser. First when Celso Borges failed to beat Claudio Bravo from a metre out, and moments later when the same player dithered too long before former Barça B man Oriol Riera sent a simple chance flying.
The Catalans weathered that pressure, and when they finally got the ball back deep into Galician territory, they seized the moment. An exquisite assist from Messi split the home defence and Suárez was quick to get on the end of it to score his and Barça’s second. With 24 minutes gone it was welcome back to the team we know and love!
Barça were making their chances count, while the opposition had squandered their own. And although Suárez did flunk the ball wide when he could have completed his hat-trick before the half-time whistle had even blown, the Blaugrana were looking very good for their 2-0 lead at the interval. But that was just act one, in the second they would unleash their full potential.
The players had barely emerged from the tunnel and Barça went further in front. As a crowd of blue and white shirts closed in on the advancing Suárez, the Uruguayan coolly picked out the unmarked Ivan Rakitic at the far post, and the Croatian slammed home goal number three.
And the march continued. The fourth was an almost exact replica of the second, with Messi once again the provider and Suárez once again the man who finished the job, stroking the ball past Depor keeper Manu to claim a hat-trick with his 48th competitive goal of the season.
The 49th was only an eleven-minute wait away. Neymar selflessly provided the pass, and although Laure managed to keep Suárez’s original attempt out, that only served to send the ball back to the same man, who made no mistake the second time.
And there was yet more Charrúa magic to come after 73 minutes when Suárez spun devilishly around Sidnei before delivering a killer pass from the right wing. Messi latched onto the end of it … and that was six!
By now, Deportivo were merely extras in the dazzling show that Barça were staging. On 79 minutes, Marc Bartra, standing in for the suspended Gerard Piqué, went on an audacious run from the halfway line, penetrating the floundering home defence and slipping home the seventh.
And Depor had hardly had time to pick themselves up when Suárez completed his dream evening with a third assist. This time it was Neymar Jr who made good of the Uruguayan’s services, tucking the ball sweetly home to round off a staggering 8-0 victory.
A victory that sends out a warning message. They said there were five finals ahead, and the first has been won with flying colours. Barça are back with a vengeance.
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