ADDS Suarez, Monday @PeopleSports11
Barcelona opened up an 11-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ahead of next weekend’s Clasico between the Spanish giants as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.
Lionel Messi also saw a penalty saved and hit the woodwork three times as Barca regained their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid in second place. Real remain down in fourth, but do have a game in hand on their rivals as they missed out on domestic action this weekend to win the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
“I know people fixate on the difference between us and Real Madrid, but Atletico are just six points behind,” said Barca boss Ernesto Valverde. “No matter what happens on Saturday, there is still a world of a way to go in La Liga.”
The only drawback for Barca as they extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 24 games since they were beaten by Real on their last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu in the Spanish Super Cup back in August, was a muscle injury to Paco Alcacer that will keep the forward out for three weeks.
Messi paraded his fourth golden boot award after being the leading scorer in Europe last season before kick-off and could barely believe his luck as he failed to add to his 18 goals already this term.
The Argentine has now hit the woodwork 14 times this season, but still had a huge role to play in three of Barca’s four goals. Only a series of saves from Ruben Martinez to deny Messi and Aleix Vidal delayed Barca until the 29th minute from going in front when Messi presented Suarez with an early Christmas present to tap in from close range. -AFP