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Barcelona's 8-0 La Liga romp

Soccer

Spanish leaders Barcelona have returned to winning ways with an 8-0 romp at Deportivo La Coruna overnight, Australian time, headlined by four goals and three assists from a ruthless Luis Suarez.

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Barca’s other scorers were Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Marc Bartra and Neymar.

It was Barca’s first win in five league games, leaving them level on points with an Atletico Madrid side which won 1-0 later on Wednesday at Athletic Bilbao.

Barca are above Atletico in the head-to-head results system used in Spain when teams are tied on points. Both teams are just one point above third-place Real Madrid, who beat Villarreal 3-0.

Barca were desperate to win after surprisingly losing their past three games, and Suarez soon put them back on the road to redemption.

“We are more united than ever,” Suarez said. “We have had to take a lot of criticism in recent weeks, but we have never lost faith in ourselves and in our ability.

“It was very important for us to win today, and that is what we have done.”

Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez said: “This is an important win though not a definitive one. There are still many games left to play. We are not there yet by any means.”

Atletico prevailed 1-0 in Bilbao, in typically gritty fashion, thanks to a solitary goal from veteran Fernando Torres, who has scored in five consecutive games for the first time in his illustrious career.

“Bilbao pressed us very hard, but we defended very well,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.

Simeone was full of praise for young defenders Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez, who had to cope despite the hamstring injury suffered by defensive linchpin Diego Godin, who is likely to miss the upcoming UEFA Champions League semis against Bayern Munich.

“The injury (to Godin) is a real shame,” Simeone said, “but I am tranquil because I have two excellent youngsters in Savic and Lucas.”

Real Madrid had few problems against Villarreal, who are in fourth place, 18 points behind Real.

Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric all scored for Real.

“Barca and Atletico are still the favourites in the league,” Vazquez said. “But we are not going to give up. We are just behind, waiting for them to slip up.”

Sporting Gijon moved up to fourth from bottom and out of the relegation zone for the first time in five months, with a late 2-1 comeback defeat of Sevilla.

Sevilla, who have failed to win away all season, are in seventh place.

Elsewhere, Valencia continued their revival with a 4-0 thumping of Eibar, while Malaga forced a late 1-1 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano.

-DPA

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