With the return of league play following the international break, FC Barcelona’s first game in La Liga following the pause saw them beat Deportivo La Coruña 4-0. Rafinha's brace, a Neymar strike and one from Lionel Messi, who returned to Luis Enrique’s side following injury, sealed all three points.
The hosts started with various opportunities as early in the seventh minute. Brazilian midfielder Rafinha was able to play the ball on the left to his compatriot Neymar, but the latter saw his shot hit the post. Luis Suarez wasn't able to convert the rebound either, as German Lux breathed a sigh of relief. The first Depor opportunity was fashioned by Florin Andone when was able to get the ball from the right, but his shot went wide of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s goal; denying the visitors a shock lead.
Barcelona, however, drew first blood when Rafinha opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Following a give and go with Suarez, the Brazilian was able to score calmly past Lux to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Swiftly without any delay, Barcelona doubled their lead from the Brazilian again 16 minutes later. Following a free-kick from the right by Neymar, the 24-year-old was able to cross the ball into the box into the head of Gerard Pique for an opportunity on goal. The Argentine goalkeeper was able to make a good save but was not able to stop Rafinha from finishing things off, handing him a quick-fire brace.
Barcelona almost made it 3-0 in the 40th minute from Luis Suarez, only for his shot to go wide to the right of Lux’s goal. He made amends however three minutes later by scoring the third goal of the match. Following some wonderful interplay with Neymar, the Uruguayan was able to coolly finish and essentially seal the match for the Blaugrana.
Return of the star
If further insurance was needed, the return of Lionel Messi surely made the headlines in all of Spain in the 55th minute, replacing Sergio Busquets. However, it only took three minutes for him to show the Camp Nou faithful what he was capable of by scoring the fourth and final goal of the match, following a wonderful assist by Neymar.
The away side were unable to create any more chances and ended up with 10 men for the last 25 minutes following the sending off of Laure for an elbow to the face of Neymar. With those three points, Barcelona went second in the league behind Sevilla, but only ahead of Real Madrid with a game in hand for the defending UEFA Champions League holders.
Barcelona are in action in Europe's premier club competition on Wednesday with the return of Pep Guardiola to Catalonia to take on Manchester City before traveling to Valencia on Saturday. Deportivo, on the other hand, are still just above the drop-zone and currently sit in 15th place with eight points and will take on Celta Vigo on Saturday.