Barcelona bounced back from their worst run of La Liga defeats for 13 years in emphatic fashion as Luis Suarez scored four in an 8-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna.
Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Marc Bartra and Neymar were also on target as Barca reasserted their control on the Spanish title race yesterday.
Barca’s superior head-to-head record keeps them ahead of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table with four games remaining as Fernando Torres’s hot-streak continued with the winner in a 1-0 success at Athletic Bilbao.
Real Madrid remain a point behind in third as goals from Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric ensured a 3-0 win over Villarreal.
However, victory came at a cost as Cristiano Ronaldo limped off holding his right hamstring a few minutes from time.
“He got a frIght, but I don’t think it is anything serious,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, whose side face Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals next week.
“I am calmer now than when I saw him leave the pitch.”
Barca’s sensational return to form came after having taken just one point from their last possible 12 in the league.
“We are human, we aren’t machines and we can all commit errors or have a bad game,” Suarez told Spanish TV station Movistar+.
“Today is a demonstration that the group is more united than ever and desperate to win the league. It is still in our hands.”
Suarez settled the visitors’ nerves after just 11 minutes when he outmuscled Sidnei to volley home.
Celso Borges then missed two huge chances to bring Deportivo level as he was denied by Claudio Bravo and a last-ditch block by Bartra before Suarez gave Barca a cushion when he latched onto Messi’s sumptuous through-ball to slot low past Manu.
Suarez turned provider for Barca’s third just after the break when his cross to the back post was volleyed home emphatically by Rakitic.
Messi created the fourth with another defence splitting pass and Suarez kept his composure to seal his sixth hat-trick of a prolific season.