Deportivo La Coruna 2 Barcelona 4: Magic Messi hat-trick secures LaLiga title

For the 25th time in their history, Barcelona are LaLiga champions after Ernesto Valverde's men defeated Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor.

Published : Apr 30, 2018 02:21 IST

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona regained the title in LaLiga with a pulsating 4-2 win against Deportivo La Coruna, who were relegated.

The runaway leaders headed into Sunday's fixture at the Riazor knowing a point would be enough to win a seventh title in the past 10 seasons and the 25th in their history.

A routine victory looked on the cards from the moment Philippe Coutinho finished Ousmane Dembele's pass, and Messi scored a 30th league goal of the campaign from Luis Suarez's sensational assist to double the lead.

But Depor, who had to win to avoid going down, made a real contest of it.

Lucas Perez deservedly cut the deficit before the break and Emre Colak finished a fine team move to level in the 64th minute.

Ultimately, though, Depor failed to complete the comeback and the brilliant Messi stuck the nail in their Liga coffin with two further late strikes to leave Barca celebrating another title triumph.

It caps a significant turnaround for a Barca side that saw Real Madrid conquer LaLiga and the Champions League last season, while a 5-1 aggregate Supercopa de Espana defeat to their Clasico rivals in August coupled with the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain led to suggestions the Catalan giants were in crisis.

But Barca have quashed those concerns in some style, with Ernesto Valverde able to celebrate a LaLiga and Copa del Rey double in his first season as head coach.

Some frailties remain, as exposed by the quarter-final Champions League collapse to Roma, but the possibility of an unprecedented unbeaten LaLiga season is realistic with four matches to go, albeit they must negotiate next weekend's Clasico to keep that dream alive.

Andres Iniesta, who made a late cameo, will also depart Camp Nou with a ninth LaLiga crown, the Spain great announcing this week he will leave the club after a 22-year association.

It took just seven minutes for Barca to make the breakthrough. The ball was worked to the right of the area where Dembele kept his composure, having seemingly been foiled, to pick out Coutinho, who curled a sumptuous first-time effort into the left-side of the goal.

Depor responded well and thought they had an equaliser when Perez tapped in after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had brilliantly saved Raul Albentosa's header, but the celebrations were curtailed by the offside flag.

Messi saw a 30-yard free-kick expertly saved by Ruben Martinez before desperate Depor twice went close, first Borja Valle failed to make clean contact with Michael Krohn-Dehli's teasing cross before Fabian Schar inexplicably headed over from six yards.

Barca doubled their lead in style in the 38th minute when Suarez lofted an exquisite outside-of-the-boot pass in the path of the onrushing Messi to side-foot home on the volley.

The visitors were caught cold almost immediately, though, as Perez swept home Valle's tee up.

And Depor were level in the 64th minute. Valle made a great run in behind the Barca defence, held the ball up and fired across goal to Celso Borges, who cleverly laid into the path of Emre to complete a fine team move.

Barca were momentarily rattled, but Messi and Suarez both missed great chances before Depor's brave resistance was broken for good.

Messi and Suarez combined brilliantly in a crowded penalty area before the former rolled the ball into the wide-open goal.

And the Argentina legend put the icing on the cake, combining with Suarez and namesake Denis once more before applying the cool finish.

Key Opta stats:

- Barcelona have won their 25th LaLiga title, and the seventh in the last ten league seasons.
- Barcelona have won LaLiga's title with four games remaining; the Spanish top-flight record in this century.
- Barcelona won their eighth double of LaLiga and the Copa del Rey, the fourth in the last 10 seasons. 
- Lionel Messi is the first player in LaLiga history to score 30+ goals in seven different seasons (32 goals in 2017-18).
- Lionel Messi has scored 13 goals at the Riazor in LaLiga, his favourite away ground.
- Luis Suarez is the first player to assist Lionel Messi for three goals in the same game in all competitions. 
- Only Dani Alves (42) and Andres Iniesta (36) has assisted in more Lionel Messi's goals than Luis Suarez (34) in all competitions. Today, the Uruguayan player has surpassed Xavi Hernandez's 31 assists to Messi. 
- Philippe Coutinho has scored in back-to-back games for the first time at Barcelona in all competitions. 
- The Brazilian player has been involved in 10 goals in his last 11 games for Barcelona in all competitions (four goals and six assists). 
- Ousmane Dembele has made five assists in his last seven starts in LaLiga. 
- The Frenchman has delivered six assists in LaLiga, two for Luis Suarez's goals, two for Lionel Messi's goals and two for Coutinho's goals.
- Deportivo have been relegated from La Liga for the 11th time, equalling Betis and Real Murcia as the teams to have been relegated most often.

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