Barcelona drew 2-2 with Deportivo La Coruna at the Nou Camp in this afternoon’s La Liga encounter after throwing away a two-goal lead in the final 15 minutes.
It was the hosts final domestic game before they jet off to Japan for the annual Club World Cup.
The goal of the game was Lionel Messi’s wonderful free-kick five minutes before half-time, as he bent the ball into the top corner from more than 25 yards out.
The first chance of the encounter fell to Luis Suarez inside two minutes, as he raced onto an Andres Iniesta pass but couldn’t get a clear sight on goal.
Minutes later Suarez was at it again, as his poked effort rolled just wide of the far post.
After quarter of an hour Messi was given a free-kick in a position similar to that from which he later scored – but this time his effort was too close to German Lux in the Deportivo goal.
Deportivo then had their first real chance, as Juanfran’s cross evaded Gerard Pique. Jonathan’s touch let him down, however, giving Claudio Bravo enough time to rush off his line and scoop up the danger.
Suarez, who was the stand-out player throughout, had two more chances before Messi’s opener – firstly just failing to get a touch on Dani Alves’ cross, then almost lobbing Lux from close range.
Messi eventually broke the deadlock in the 37th minute, with Lux unable to get close to his inch-perfect set-piece.
The half-time figures showed a one-sided story – Barcelona had racked up a mammoth 72 percent of the possession.
Deportivo improved slightly immediately following the break, as Jonathan and Lucus both tested Bravo’s prowess.
Suarez then had a goal disallowed for offside, with replays showing that the linesman just about made the correct decision.
Ivan Ratikic added the second for Barcelona on the hour mark, collecting Messi’s pass and lashing the ball into the top corner from 25 yards. It was equally as beautiful as Messi’s sublime opener.
Deportivo thought they had found a way back with 15 minutes to go, but Faycal Fajr was flagged offside after Miguel Cardoso’s shot hit the bar.
Unperturbed, they did find a goal two minutes later. Cardoso picked out Lucas, and his cute finish set up a nervy final ten minutes for the home crowd.
From that moment on it was all Deportivo – as Bravo made a string of saves and their forward line spurned a host of chances.
They grabbed their equaliser through Alex Bergantinos with just three minutes to go. Sergio Busquets gave the ball away, and Spaniard raced down the field before firing past Bravo.
The result leaves Barcelona three points clear of Atletico at the top of the table.
Next up for Barcelona is their aforementioned Club World Cup semi-final next Thursday, where they will play either Mexico’s Club America or China’s Guangzhou Evergrande. They return to domestic action on 30th December with a tie against mid-table Real Betis.
Deportivo play Llagostera in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, then will then face minnows Eibar at home next weekend.