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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Barca extend La Liga lead; Hertha stun Leipzig

PHOTOS: Barca extend La Liga lead; Hertha stun Leipzig

December 18, 2017 10:48 IST

Barcelona moved six points clear at the top of La Liga by easing to a 4-0 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna, while RB Leipzig suffered their first home loss of the season, going 3-2 down to 10-man Hertha Berlin. Images from the matches.

Barcelona thrash Deportivo 4-0

IMAGE: Luis Suarez, right, celebrates scoring the first goal for Barcelona with team mate Lionel Messi. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Barcelona moved six points clear at the top of La Liga by easing to a 4-0 win at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday with doubles from Luis Suarez and Paulinho ahead of next week's 'Clasico' against champions Real Madrid.

 

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 had a frustrating night in front of goal and was unable to add to his 14 league goals this season as he hit the woodwork three times and had a penalty saved by former youth team mate Ruben Martinez with the score at 3-0.

Suarez then scored his fourth goal in three league games by firing home a Sergi Roberto cross 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 lead the standings on 42 points, six ahead of Atletico Madrid and eight in front of third-placed Valencia.

IMAGE: Lionel Messi tries to get the ball past Deportivo de La Coruna's Sidnei . Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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, where they beat Brazilians Gremio 1-0 in Saturday's final.

"We go into next week's game (against Real) feeling very happy and the best way to prepare for a game of that level is to win and feel confident and we are feeling great," Barca coach Ernesto Valverde told reporters.

"It's a very difficult game against a huge rival and we are very excited about playing it. I don't think a win (against Real) would assure us of the title because Atletico are six points behind. What is clear is that seasons are very long and no-one wins the title at this stage."

Barca forward Paco Alcacer went off injured in the first half and will miss the 'Clasico' after being ruled out for three weeks.

La Liga's lack of goal-line technology or a video assistant referee (VAR) came under the spotlight again near the end of the first half when Suarez's stylish 'rabona' shot from close range appeared to cross the goal-line before Martinez punched it away.

The Catalans were denied a goal three weeks ago when Messi's shot in a 1-1 draw with Valencia clearly crossed the goal-line.

Hertha stun hosts Leipzig as Bundesliga breaks for winter

IMAGE: RB Leipzig's Willi Orban (not pictured) scores their first goal past Hertha Berlin goalkeer Rune Jarstein. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

RB Leipzig suffered their first home loss of the season on Sunday, going 3-2 down to 10-man Hertha Berlin, to leave leaders Bayern Munich with a comfortable 11-point advantage going into the winter break.

Leipzig had hoped to reclaim second spot and cut Bayern's lead to 10 but instead now drop to fifth on 28 with the Bundesliga resuming on Jan. 12.

They were already trailing 2-0 by the 31st minute with Davie Selke and Salomon Kalou on target for the visitors, who were down to 10 men since the seventh minute following the dismissal of Jordan Torunarigha.

Selke grabbed his second goal six minutes after the restart and had a golden chance for a hat-trick when he charged through with only keeper Peter Gulacsi to beat, but he only managed to hit the post.

Willi Orban's glancing header gave the hosts some hope and Marcel Halstenberg headed in another in stoppage time but Hertha hung on for only their second win on the road this season.

IMAGE: Hertha Berlin players celebrate after the match. Photograph: Axel Schmidt/Reuters

Jamaican winger Leon Bailey scored twice on the break but Bayer Leverkusen drew 4-4 at Hanover 96 in a pulsating match.

The 20-year-old, a major transfer target for several top Premier League clubs, single-handedly pulled Leverkusen back from 3-2 down after coming on as a substitute, drilling in two almost identical goals in the 47th and 67th minutes.

Hanover's Julian Korb snatched an 83rd minute equaliser but the result stretched Leverkusen's unbeaten run to 12 league games and kept them in fourth on 28 points.

Bayern Munich are top on 41 after their 1-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart.

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