April 29, 2018 / 9:00 PM / 5 months ago

Soccer-Barca clinch title in style as Messi treble downs Deportivo

CORUNA, Spain, April 29 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona clinched a 25th Liga title on Sunday after winning 4-2 at Deportivo La Coruna despite throwing away a two-goal lead in a thrilling game which also confirmed Depor’s relegation.

Barca only needed a draw to seal the title and they made a perfect start when record signing Philippe Coutinho scored with a stylish chipped shot in the seventh minute while Messi doubled their lead in the 38th by volleying home an outrageous cross by Luis Suarez.

Deportivo had been unlucky to go two goals down and they deservedly pulled one back through Lucas Perez five minutes before halftime before Turkish midfielder Emre Colak equalised in the 68th.

Clarence Seedorf’s side needed victory to survive in the top flight for another week and they came close to finding a third goal and becoming the first team to beat Barca in the league this season.

But the runaway leaders kept coming back at them on the counter-attack and it was top scorer and talisman Messi who restored their lead, striking from close range in the 82nd minute after being teed up by Suarez.

Messi claimed his 32nd league goal of the season with the help of another pass from Suarez to round off the victory and give Barca a seventh Liga title in 10 years, completing a fourth domestic double in that same period after beating Sevilla 5-0 in the King’s Cup final last week.

Ernesto Valverde’s unbeaten side have 86 points after 34 games, second-placed Atletico have 75 from 35 and third-placed Real Madrid 71 from 35. Deportivo are 18th on 28th, 12 points adrift of 17th-placed Levante with three games left. (Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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