BARCELONA, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Barcelona moved six points clear at the top of La Liga and warmed up for next week’s ‘Clasico’ against champions Real Madrid by easing to a 4-0 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday with doubles from Luis Suarez and Paulinho.
Suarez slotted a generous cutback from Lionel Messi into an open goal in the 29th minute to deservedly put Barca ahead, while Brazil international Paulinho got the second in the 41st, tapping in on the rebound after Messi had hit the post.
Messi endured a frustrating night in front of goal and was unable to add to his 14 league goals for the season despite hitting the woodwork three times and also having a penalty saved by former youth team mate Ruben Martinez while the score was 3-0.
Suarez then scored his fourth goal in three league games by firing in a Sergi Roberto cross from inside the area two minutes into the second half and Paulinho completed the rout in the 75th, pouncing after Jordi Alba’s shot had come off the post.
Barca hit the woodwork a total of five times in the game, while striker Paco Alcacer was taken off injured in the first half and will miss the ‘Clasico’ after being ruled out for three weeks.
Barca lead the Liga standings on 42 points, six ahead of Atletico Madrid in second and eight in front of third-placed Valencia. They are 11 clear of Real, who have a game in hand after missing this weekend’s action due to playing in the Club World Cup, beating Brazilian side Gremio 1-0 in Saturday’s final. (Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)