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Deportivo 2-1 Barcelona: full-time report
A lethargic performance was expected by Barcelona after their history-making night in the Champions League on Wednesday night. They needed a victory to keep their title challenge going but would have to do so without Neymar, Samuel Umtiti, Rafinha, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta from the side that started in the Camp Nou just four days before.
The game started as everyone expected, with Barcelona dominating possession and poking for chinks in Depor's armour; they could not find any though. As the first half continued, the home side started to grow in confidence and realised they were dealing with a tired and realtively unbalanced Barcelona side; the absence of Neymar was massive for the visitors and they failed to ever really ignite anything in the final third of the field.
Joselu was throwing himself around and got his rewards after 40 minutes when Ter Stegen palmed a shot into his path. The German goalkeeper was desperately unlucky as he had just denied Joselu with an excellent save. There was nothing he could do with the second chance as Joselu drove the shot into the back of the net. Depor were leading and Barcelona were reeling. They picked up their intentisty for the last five of the half but Depor were proving a tough nut to crack.
Luis Enrique left things as they were a tthe half and his decision was proven the correct one when Luis Suarez drove a shot low and hard to the left of German Lux after the ball broke favourably onto his right foot. Barcelona were back in the game without ever full convincing and it was what happened after that killed Barça's chances.
They looked exhausted but they needed three points to ensure they kept pressure on Real Madrid in the race for LaLiga but they committed too many men forward too often and were eventually going to get caught out. Depor had chance after chance but could not convert until the 74th minute when, just like the first half, Ter Stegen pulled off an excellent save only to be beaten from the resulting corner by Bergantinos' header. Barcelona had their work cut out for them while repelling Depor's increasingly dangerous counter attacks.
Luis Suarez came closest but he was denied by Lux, who made a world class save with his legs. Depor continued to look dangerous and even the introduction of Rakitic and Iniesta earlier on in the half, along with Paco Alcacer, did not force the hosts to flinch.
In the end, it was a well deserved victory for Depor, who have improved immensely under Pepe Mel while Barcelona had to learn the hard way that even after such a historic, unbelievable result in the Champions League, life goes on and you're only as good as your last result. Their latest result leaves their title challenge in tatters and Depor move in to 15th, clear of the relegation contenders and playing some really good football.
AS IT HAPPENED
In pictures: check out all of the action from Riazor.
Deportivo 2-1 Barcelona: second half
Min 90+2 | Messi with a corner that is very close to Lux, who boxes away. Depor break with a two on one - Ter Stegen the only man to beat - and he manages to save from Fajr! That could have wrapped it up. Barça break and Messi cuts inside and his shot is blocked. Game over as the referee blows it up. FULL TIME!
Min 90+1 | Suarez taken down but Messi's free goes over the crossbar.
Min 90 | It's all happening now as Albentosa collides with Suarez and seems to catch him in the stomach. Meanwhile, a cross is met with Navarro's arm? Maybe? It looked like it.
Min 88 | Entering the last few minutes of normal time and Barcelona still don't look like opening up this Depor side. Joselu breaks but his touch at the final hurdle lets him doewn!
Depor substitution: Pepe Mel moves his last chess piece as Laura replaces Juanfran.
Min 84 | Iniesta drops one into Sergi Roberto but he can't get his foot to bend the way he wants it to and it floats over the bar.
Min 82 | Corner to Barcelona but Pique can't make anything of it at the back post. Depor straight up the other end and Juanfran has a shot. Ter Stegen saves with ease.
Min 80 | A poor clearance by Ter Stegen gifts it to Kakuta, who puts Colak through. He loses possession but it lands to Kakuta again but his touch takes it into the arms of Ter Stegen.
Min 77 | What a save! Luis Suarez looked a cert to score but Lux saves. Great play by Barcelona too. Messi with the cross.
Barcelona substitution: Paco Alcacer comes on for Denis Suarez.
Min 76 | We are into the last 15 now. Strap yourselves in because this is set for an exciting finish. Barça need all three points. Another comeback?
Min 75 | GOAL! Depor retake the lead. Bergantinos headers beyond Ter Stegen from the corner. Fully deserved lead for the hosts. Barça deflated.
Min 74 | Arribas gets up highest and headers it down into the ground. It nearly catches Ter Stegen out. Another corner!
Min 73 | Depor continue to threaten. Juanfran this time with a rasper but it is blocked and goes out for a corner.
Depor substitution: Gael Kakuta on now for Bruno Gama.
Min 69 | Pique the last defender left in Barça's half now as Mascherano has pushed forward. If this stays the way it is, Barcelona's title challenge could come to an end this afternoon. They are playing like a team that know that too. They are both forcing the issue but playing with nerves too.
Min 66 | Another good break by Depor but it comes to an end as Iniesta pulls down a Depor player in the middle. Two teams going at it now with Barça looking more susceptible on the break. They are throwing more bodies forward with less return while Depor constantly looking close to breaking free.
Min 64 | Barça up the other and and Denis cuts inside before unleashing a shot that Lux boxes away. Iniesta tries to make it to the rebound but he's half a second late and Depor clear.
Min 63 | What a fantastic move by Depor. Colak finds Joselu over the top on the break and he lands a colley with perfect technique but Ter Stegen is equal to it. Great execution by the striker.
Deportivo substitution: Colak comes on for Carles Gil.
Min 60 | Iniesta tries to find Rakitic but he's offside.
Min 58 | Luis Enrique acts first and he really had to. He needs his midfield to grab control of this one. Let's see if either Iniesta or Rakitic can get the ball at their feet and makes changes to how this one is going.
Double Barcelona substitution: Arda turan off for Andres Iniesta, Rakitic on for Andre Gomes.
Min 57 | Order somewhat restored as Denis Suarez finds Messi and his first time shot nearly sneaks under the post.
Min 56 | Depor have Barelona at sixes and sevens. Another corner after Sergi Roberto gives it away cheaply. They look exhausted.
Min 54 | So, so close! Cross by Gama but Joselur can't reach it under pressure from Mascherano. It lands to Fajr, who cuts inside and has a shot but it's deflected out by Denis Suarez. Corner not given though. Depor have Barcelona all over the place.
Min 50 | Fajr ends up on the ground after a collision with Mascherano. Free to the hosts. Depor really pushing for a second. They haven't come too close yet, but are full of energy.
Min 48 | Carles Gil makes his way beyond Busquets after good pressure by Depor to turn over the ball. Gil loses his footing and ends up on the ground in the penalty area. He tangles with the midfielder but it would have been a very, very harsh penalty. Referee not giving it in any case.
Min 46 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! That didn't take long as Luis Suarez drives a low shot to the left of Lux after it breaks kindly to him. No chance for the keeper as it all happened so fast!
Min 46 | Back underway at riazor. No changes for either side.
Deportivo 1-0 Barcelona: first half
Min 45 | Very little stoppage time in that half as the ref eyes a nice cup of tea at half-time. Time for both sides to regroup. Barcelona have been uninspiring while Depor very functional and will be delighted with their 1-0 lead.
Min 44 | An added urgency to Barcelona's play but still nothing doing. Depor trying to make it until half-time with the lead. Backs to the wall for the last minute or two.
Min 42 | Barcelona straight back up the other end and nearly equalise. Arda Turan backheels to Suarez but his shots is half-blocked for a corner. Pique gets a shot away but it's too high. Close.
Min 40 | GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! From the corner, Ter Stegen almost saves again, but the German palms it into the path of Joselu. He made absolutely no doubt with that finish as he almost breaks the net. 1-0 as half-time approaches.
Min 40 | Joselu! The perfect trifecta. What a cross by Navarro. The touch by Joselu even better and then Ter Stegen pulls off a top drawer save. Corner.
Min 36 | A cold dish of revenge served to Mascherano by Joselu, who was not happy with the attention he was getting from Barcelona players. As a result, Joselu goes into the book. He will have to tone it down if he wants to play the rest of this one. He has been on to the referee since the start, every chance he gets.
Min 36 | Sergi Roberto with an excellent run into the box but his cross is blocked by Lux, who reads it perfectly.
Min 35 | Luis Suarez caught offside as Messi swings a pass out to right for his teammate. Very few doubts about that one as he had strayed a good three yards off.
Min 32 | Depor being forced further back into their own half but Barça still can't break them down. It won't be long though, if the home side continue to invite them on like this.
Min 30 | Andre Gomes sells a beautiful dummy and tries to sling it beyond Lux but the angle is too tight and his shot doesn't have the proper bend or trajectory.
Min 29 | Luis Suarez with a cross into the box, or an attempt to, but he is ruled offside. Replay shows he was not offside.
Min 27 | Arda Turan fouled and Messi swings in the free. Luis Suarez gets a head to it but can only direct it to Lux' chest. Pique looking for a penalty as he was pulled down. Suarez just can't believe he missed.
Min 26 | Fajr with a dangerous cross but Borges can't get his head to it. Any sort of a touch on that could haved spelt trouble for Barcelona because it was so close to Ter Stegen and the goal.
Min 25 | Suarez tries to evade a number of defenders but can't. He tries a pass to his namesake, Denis Suarez but it is deflected up to Lux; the keeper gathers with ease.
Min 22 | The umbrellas are out as the rain starts to fall. On the field, Gil with a cross that hits Ter Stegen's side netting.
Min 20 | A really sharp move by Barcelona. Busquets into Messi, who heads it down to Suarez. Instead of having a shot, he tries to get it back to Messi and pulls it off. Messi's shot is blocked and goes out for a corner.
Min 19 | Mascherano looked to be keeping Celso Borges onside but he waves his flag. Might need a second look at that one, but it was certainly very, very close.
Min 17 | Suarez trying to make some headway in the penalty area but his run is stopped. as Messi tries to pick up where his teammates left off, he suffers the same fate. Nervous couple of seconds at the back for the home side.
Min 16 | Bruno Gama down the right in very tight quarters, but he manages to get a cross in but Ter Stegen happy for the catching practice as it goes far too close to the German.
Min 15 | Andre Gomes very lucky not to go into the book as he comes across Joselu and uses his forearm to barge the striker out of the way. Whistles from the crowd indicate what they think!
Min 13 | Depor stretch Barça but as the ball makes its way to Joselu in the box, he loses possession with a poor second touch. Denis Suarez fouled by Navarro as they try to break and the left-back goes in the book for the challenge.
Min 10 | Piqué hobbling now. Looks like he won't be able to play on. Might have been in that race to get in front of Joselu. He seems okay, but Luis Enrique was deinitely looking for a change. What I'm trying to say is, I don't know what's happening. More as it happens but he is still playing on as of now.
Min 9 | Joselu with a very decent effort off his right but Ter Stegen stands and takes the full force of the ball in his chest. Easy save.
Min 9 | Gama launches a cross into the box but it beats everyone including the target. Goal-kick for the visitors.
Min 7 | No chances for either side so far. Barcelona looking slightly more dangerous but unable to threaten Depor's goal. They haven't even been inside the penalty box yet.
Min 5 | Actually, scratch that. Deport putting plenty of pressure on Barça's defense and doing a good job of turning them over. Result is a throw and then Denis Suarez takes Albentosa down with a late tackle.
Min 3| Barça with all the possession early on. Depor happy to sit and soak it up and suss their opponents out.
Min 1 | Sergi Roberto pushing all the way up the right touchline as Mascherano drifts out to the right with Barça in possession.
Min 1 | We are very much underway at Riazor!
Deportivo v Barcelona: team news
Deportivo La Coruña: Lux; Juanfran, Albentosa, Arribas, Navarro; Álex Bergantiños, Borges; Bruno Gama, Fayçal Fajr, Carles Gil and Joselu.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Jordi Alba, Piqué, Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Busquets, André Gomes, Arda Turan, Denis, Messi and Suárez.
Deportivo v Barcelona: latest news
16:07 | Just 11 degress in Corña before kickoff with rain! Not sure that it's supposed to get as a bad as the Basque derby earlier with the fans froced to wear ponchos to save them from the elements.
15:58 | Barcelona are unbeaten in the league since Octboer 2nd when Celta Vigo beat them 4-3 in Galicia. So, Barça's most recent trip to Galicia in the league was fruitless. The added incentive for the likes of Andre Gomes, Arda Turan andDenis Suarez to feature in the final stages of the league and Champions League could result in them actually improving, much like we saw for Real Madrid when they played Eibar but if Depor can put doubts in their mind then a draw is not out of the questions here. Barça still clear favourites though with Suarez and Messi on the field.
15:53 | With Sevilla slipping up and Real Madrid to play tonight, Barcelona have the chance to go four clear of their rivals before that game. Depor currently have a five point cushion with this game to be played but a win here could move them up to 15th place. They are unbeaten under Pepe Mel and he has the players really playing for him after their performances had dropped off under Gaizka Garitano. Can Luis Enrique motivate his players after what happened on Wednesday night? (that's the last time I'll mention Wednesday night, I promise)
15:44 | Florin Andone is the big loss for Pepe Mel's side but he has gone for Joselu in his place. Emre Colak has been left out in place of Bruno Gama and Bergantinos replaces Mosquera at the base of midfield. Luisinho has also been left out and is replaced by 34-year.old Fernando Navarro. Juanfran on the other side is a Barcelona target and it will be interesting to see how he does. Barcelona have reportedly decided against signing a full-back replacement for Aleix Vidal but Juanfran has the chance to show them what they are missing this afternoon in Coruña.
15:40 | Neymar is replaced by Arda Turan in Luis Enrique's side. His exertions on Tuesday night enough that he could probably retire! Meanwhile, Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will play right and left back with Mascherano and Pique in the centre; Luis Enrique is obviously not taking this one for granted. His midfield, however, consists of the much maligned Andre Gomes alongside Denis Suarez and Sergio Busquets as there is no place for Iniesta or Rakitic with both being rested.
15:15 | Depor are going to need to be at full strength for this game, but Sidnei and Guilherme are ruled out through injury, while Andone and Mosquera are both suspended.
14:53 | Leo Messi currently heads LaLiga's pichichi (top scorer) table after bagging a brace against Celta in matchday 26. La Pulga is ahead of fellow Barça team-mate Luis Suárez (19), and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (17).
14:25 | The capacity of tonight's venue: 32,912. Quench your thirst for stadia knowledge and check out our handy guide of the grounds around Spain.
14:04 | This afternoon's game also presents another chance for Arda Turan.
13:03 | Despite the heroics of the Barcelona team on Wednesday, the mill never stops grinding and apparently the Catalan club are already putting plans in place to enhance their squad next season, with Hector Ballerín the first on their summer hit list.
12:30 | With Neymar the name on everybody's lips this week, a former Brazilian great joked about the Barça striker changing his name to join the pantheon of Canarinho legends.
11:13 | One of the stand-out players for Barça this season (especially on Wednesday) has been Neymar. Touch and go if we'll be waxing lyrical about him this afternoon.
10:44 | What a couple of weeks it has been for Luis Enrique: thumped in Paris, vilified from all quarters, resigned from job, name chanted in Camp Nou, and then masterminded that crazy 6-1. Good to hear then that he doesn't think it means much.
10:05 | Barça's miracle against PSG is not being seen as such an incredible feat by some, who question the decision making by the German referee on the night. One fan has gone as far as creating a change.org petition asking for a replay. Yes, really.
09:36 | Although Madrid will be considered the main Liga rivals, Sevilla, under the steward of Sampaoli, have been pushing too but slipped up yesterday with a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Leganés.
08:57 | Are you one of those people that likes to know the scores before they happen? Well, sorry but we can't help with that. Instead, check out our predictions for all of LaLiga games this matchday 27 weekend.
08:37 | Four games make up LaLiga schedule today and it all kicks-off at midday CET with Real Sociedad's push for top four as they host Athletic, who have their own Europa League place ambitions. Later in the day - after our live coverage of Depo-Barça - there's a tasty looking 90 minutes of Celta vs Villarreal (18:30) and then Real Madrid welcome Betis to the Santiago Bernabéu (20:45) to finish the day.
08:30 | Good morning from Spain where we are already gearing up for a big day of Liga action. Here the focus will be on Champions-League-ridiculous-comeback-heroes Barça as they look to keep up their momentum at the top of the table as they travel to relegation threatened Depo.
Deportivo v Barcelona: preview
"Back to life, back to reality" once sang Carol Wheeler on Soul II Soul's fine chart topping late 80's pop hit. The lyrics fit perfectly for the task ahead for Luis Enrique and his Barcelona side today as they put the heroics of Wednesday night behind them and focus on their push to retain their LaLiga crown at Riazor. Deportivo have their own agenda as the Galician outfit will be keen to put as much distance as possible as they can with the three sides currently occupying the drop zone.
Deportivo la Coruña
With Osasuna apparently dead and buried, languishing at the foot of the table on ten points, Sporting only picking up a point at Mestalla and Granada conceding late at Los Carmenes to lose to Atleti, Pepe Mel will be keen to improve on the five point margin that keeps his Depor side away from the relegation zone.
New coach Mel has started well at Riazor earning a valuable point at home to Atlético Madrid and pulling off a "smash and grab" at El Molinon as Depor won 0-1 against a direct rival in the quest to avoid the drop last Sunday. The win was Depor's first victory of 2017 and Mel saw his side earn another valuable home point as Deportivo left it late in the re-arranged game against Real Betis midweek. Three games for the Madrid born coach with 5 points from a possible nine and safe to say the new coach's arrival seems to have had an immediate effect as the league enters it's most decisive phase.
Squad selection-wise, the news could be better for Mel as Guilherme and Sidnei are both out of the game through injury. Andone and Mosquera will also be absent for the game due to suspension and Juanfran and Luisinho are expected to earn a well earned rest as a last decision will be made on Joselu with the player complaining of groin strain.
Player to watch: Germán Lux. The Argentine has been is excellent form recently and he pulled off save after save last Sunday as Sporting laid siege to the Deportivo goal.
The underlying task for Barcelona at Riazor is to close the chapter and it's subsequent emotional fall-out from a historic Camp Nou evening after coming from a 4-0 first leg deficit and pulling off a 6-1 over Unai Emery's PSG side.
Barça come into the game on the back of 19 league game unbeaen with six wins from the past six LaLiga encounters. Neymar and Rafinha are last minute absentees as the Catalan club confirmed that along with the already ruled out Aleix Vidal and Mathieu that neither player would travel to Galicia.
In his pre-game press conference the Asturian coach highlighted Mel's immediate impact on the Riazor based out fit stating: “Since changing their coach, within a week they gained five points in three games. With the midweek games, they haven't had much of a chance to work on things in training and I guess that Pepe Mel will be pleased to have a chance to get down to that next week”.
Barcelona squad for Riazor: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis Suárez, Arda, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Mascherano, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, S. Roberto, André Gomes, Umtiti & Aleñá.
Player to watch: Lionel Messi: The now infamous post match picture of Messi on Wednesday is a reflection of the genius that is the Rosario born player on the pitch. A legend!