Barcelona Seal La Liga Title with Win vs. Deportivo; Lionel Messi Nets Hat-Trick

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2018

GALICIA, SPAIN - APRIL 29: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander  match between Deportivo la Coruna v FC Barcelona at the Estadio Municipal de Riazor on April 29, 2018 in Galicia Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick as Barcelona sealed the 2017-18 La Liga title with a 4-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna at the Estadio Riazor on Sunday.

It was not plain sailing for the Blaugrana as they were pegged back to 2-2 from 2-0 ahead, but Messi's late double eventually confirmed Barca's triumph, as well as Depor's relegation from the Spanish top flight.

Goals from the Argentinian and Philippe Coutinho had Barca cruising in the first 38 minutes, but Lucas Perez's 40th-minute strike gave the hosts hope.

They then equalised through Emre Colak in the 64th minute as they went in search of the three points that would keep them up for another week.

Hearts were broken in the Riazor, though, when Messi scored twice late on to condemn Depor to the drop.

     

Mixed Emotions on Night of Joy and Despair

In truth, Barca have been champions-elect for some time, while Depor have long looked primed for the drop.

However, when both triumph and disaster were finally confirmed Sunday, the reactions were inevitable.

Celebrations were enthusiastic from the visitors, while the hosts sunk to the turf in despair, especially after a huge effort against the best side in Spain was all for naught.

        

Messi Makes the Difference

The Blaugrana were at sixes and sevens for a while after the equaliser and looked the more likely to concede.

But they slowly rediscovered their composure and took control once again.

It led to a quick-fire double from Messi in the 82nd and 85th minutes, both goals sublime and each brilliantly assisted by Luis Suarez.

The margin of victory was convincing in the end and, as ever, it was largely thanks to Messi. 

          

Far from Routine for Barca

LA CORUNA, SPAIN - APRIL 29:  Players of FC Barcelona celebrate the title of La Liga at the end of the match between Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona at Abanca Riazor Stadium on April 29, 2018 in La Coruna, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Im
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

It was widely expected Barca would canter to victory at Depor, and when Coutinho netted an exquisite finish from the edge of the box after seven minutes, it seemed as though it would be a long night for Clarence Seedorf's men.

The misery was then exacerbated for Depor when Suarez clipped a sumptuous ball from the right to the far post for Messi to stab home in the 38th minute.

It was the Argentinian's 30th league goal of the campaign:

The visitors were cruising, but Perez pulled one back five minutes from the break as he swept home from 12 yards after a terrific move.

Colak then equalised in the 64th minute after a similarly fine passage of Depor play to send Barca briefly into chaos.

              

What's Next?

Barcelona may have wrapped up the title, but they still have a huge fixture coming up next weekend as they take on bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. 

Depor, meanwhile, travel to Celta Vigo on Saturday.

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