Deportivo 2-4 Barcelona: Match report
Hosts Depor bravely made a fight of it, and came close to nicking a point, but finally succumbed to Barça and the brilliance of Leo Messi who wrapped up the game, and the league title, in a frenzied, final 10 minutes at Riazor. The cava corks will be popping now as fans descend on Canaletes - for Barcelona, it is their 25th league crown and the eighth time they have achieved the domestic double in club history. Depor on the other hand won't be in much of a mood to remember tonight's game, they drop down a division to LaLiga 1|2|3, joining Málaga and Las Palmas as the teams to be relegated. It was inevitable, but they gave it their best shot against Barça - when asked what he asked of his players, coach Clarence Seedorf said afterwards: "Only that they put in a great game, and when they play like that, there's nothing more for me to say. We're sad, but that's sport and only one team can win".
Philippe Coutinho put Barcelona on their way on six minutes, connecting with Dembélé's pass to curl a shot beyond Rubén. Leo Messi doubled the lead in style just after the half-hour after Luis Suárez picked him out with a sumptuous, lofted ball which the Argentine happily rammed home on the volley at the far post.
Two minutes later, Depor were back in it. Lucas Pérez with an equally well taken, first-time finish, to make it 1-2 going in at half-time. Seedorf's motivational speech during the interval inspired the team to move into another gear when play resumed. Barça started to look vulnerable and were punished for not spotting Emre Çolak, unmarked in the penalty area, who swept the ball past Ter Stegen to level the game.
Two flashes of magic from Messi when Depor were starting to tire decided the game. The first, on 81 minutes, demonstrated the understanding he enjoys with Luis Suárez, who laid the ball off to perfection after Messi had darted past two defenders with a drop of the shoulder and quick burst of pace. Another neat passing move led to Barça's fourth and Messi's hat trick.
Deportivo vs Barcelona: as it happened
Deportivo - Barcelona: Preview
While some people might claim that it has been a second-rate season by their high standards, later this evening Barcelona do have the chance to claim their seond piece of silverware in one week and complete a league and Cup double for the eighth time in club history. It would be a fitting way to crown a weekend when loyal servant and iconic player Andrés Iniesta announced that he will be moving on at the end of the season. Iniesta of course has celebrated three domestic doubles with the Blaugranas already - in 2008-9, 2014-15 and 2015-16 but this will be the first for coach Ernesto Valverde in his first season with the club.
There will be something equally as important at stake for hosts Deportivo, who are mired third from bottom on 28 points and needing to win all of their remaining games (and hope Levante, Leganés or Espanyol lose) to avoid joining the already-relegated Las Palmas and Málaga in the second division next season.
Barcelona will have other things on their mind - aside from clinching the league with three games to go, it would also mean that Real Madrid will be obliged to perform the Guard of Honour for the champions in next week's Clásico at Camp Nou... Kick-off tonight is at 20:45 hours CEST.