Match Reviews

Deportivo La Coruña 2-1 Barcelona, 2017 La Liga: Match Review

The Catalans returned to La Liga action after a historic comeback against PSG midweek. Could the Blaugrana do the same in La Liga?

First Half:

Kick off.

In the first two minutes, Barça showcased their new tactic of a hybrid 3-4-3 that operates as a 4-4-2 in defence.

The opposition press was aggressive in the early minutes, but the Catalans continued to pass their way out of it.

Deportivo began to see a bit more of the ball, but were unable to make these short spells of possession count, which played into the hands of the Blaugrana. The home side would be the first ones to shoot on target in the form of a Joselu strike, but a tame shot meant that the scoreline remained undisturbed.

The wide pitch of Estadio Riazor allowed Barça to exploit the flanks with momentum. The wide men—Turan and Denis—were heavily involved in the build-up, while Deportivo chose to maintain a compact shape in defence.

While the Blaugrana had dominated the game for the opening 15 minutes, Deportivo had been the side that had made the opposition keeper work so far. The Catalans looked strong, but their final ball had lacked so far, and their lack of penetration had the potential to case concern.

The home-side were operating a compact 5-3-2 in defense, which left very little room for Barcelona to find space around the box.

A great play between Messi, Busquets and Suarez set up the Argentine for Barça first shot on target, that deflected for a corner.

By the twenty first minute, the rain had begun to pour down, which slowed the ball down on the ground.

A beautiful turn from Carles Gil nearly created the first goal, but in vain. Denis Suarez would counter with a quick run but the cut back from Luis Suarez was a touch too heavy and the cross was over-shot beyond the reach of the Galician.

Moments later, Luis Suarez would take a free header in the six-yard box but the Uruguayan’s attempt on goal lacked the necessary throttle and glided into the Lux’s grasp.

A prolonged spell of possession from Barca, with some slick passing had pinned the home side within thirty yards of their own goal. The move however, ended with an uninspiring shot on goal from the boot of Arda Turan.

The best chance of the game so far came from Sergi Roberto, as the Spanish international broke free from his marker using a deft touch. The succeeding cross however, fell short for the midfielder’s earlier brilliance.

With five minutes left, Joselu nearly scored for the home side, but Ter Stegen was kn hand to make an incredible diving save, that pushed the ball out for a corner, with the tips of his fingers.

The German however, would get incredibly unlucky on the following corner as some chaos in the box led to Mascherano’s failed clearance slipping out of the keeper’s grasp, before being smashed into the back of the net by Joselu.

1-0, Deportivo.

With the safety net of a goal, the home-side began to counter more aggressively. Despite the Blaugrana having dominated possession in the initial forty five minutes, the lack of bite was definitely something that needed to be addressed in the locker-room, as the referee called for half-time.

Second Half:

Seconds into the second half, Luis Suarez smashed his shot into the back of the net to equalise.

Brilliant finish from the Uruguayan.


A great chance for Deportivo as the home side countered with incredible pace, only for Denis Suarez to make a full stretch interception, deflecting the ball behind Ter Stegen’s goal.

La Coruna were not satisfied however, as they began to attack relentlessly, looking to regain control of the game.

While this fixture had become an easy three points for the Catalans in recent memory, the home-side seemed to be making every effort possible to turn the tables this time around.

Both of Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta made their way on to the pitch, replacing Andre Gomes and Arda Turan respectively.

With half an hour left on the clock, Barça began to display some urgency in their passing, as the Catalans pushed forward in numbers to gain an advantage in the opposition box.

Time was running out, and the pressure had begun to mount. Despite being involved in the build-up with some intelligent runs, Denis Suarez was failing to make the decisive pass on multiple occasions under stress which reflected in the build-up.

The play had switched flanks with twenty minutes left as Barça’s mid-week hero Sergi Roberto began to see the ball more through the middle.

Deportivo however were relentless as the home-side scored another through a set-piece. Ter Stegen had made another exceptional save, forcing the ball out for a corner, but shabby defending in the box led to another goal for the home-side, this time from Bergantinos. Déjà vu.

2-1, Deportivo.

Paco Alcacer made his way onto the pitch for Denis Suarez who had been unimpressive with his final ball all evening.

The Deportivo press continued at full force.

A good move from Messi allowed Sergi to cut the ball back for Luis Suarez but the Uruguayan’s shot was straight at the keeper.

The game had slowed down, despite it looking deceptively in favour of the Catalans—Deportivo had the ability to defend, and were taking on Barça’s pressure with ease.

A great save from Ter Stegen kept the scoreline intact at 2-1 in the dying seconds of the game on a Deportivo counter.

The chances of another miraculous comeback were little to none, and it reflected in the final scoreline, when the referee blew his three pips.

The game had all the potential to jeopardise Barça’s attempt at remaining Spanish champions, and that is exactly what happened.

The absence of Neymar was felt through out the game, as from the looks of it, Luis Enrique’s system is heavily reliant on the creative ability of the Brazilian from the wings.

A poor performance in attack holds the Catalans back in their chase for the top spot.

Here’s to hoping the Blaugrana fix their deficiencies in the upcoming weeks.

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