Barcelona slipped further off the pace after a 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Corunna, a loss which further increases the pressure on beleagured coachLouis Van Gaal.

The eagerly-anticipated clash between two Spain’s Champions League contenders was something of a disappointing match that only came to life in the closingh minutes.

Lionel Scaloni ended the stalemate eight minutes from time after a clever dummy by Dutch striker Roy Makaay, and Barcelona-born Alberto Luque came off the bench to put the game beyond doubt at the Riazor stadium with a low drive after being set up by Victor S nchez.

The win sees Deportivo move into joint-fourth in the table with Celta de Vigo, four points behind leaders Real Sociedad, while Barcelona drop to seventh and are now six points adrift of Sociedad.

Earlier, struggling Villarreal secured a 1-0 victory over Sevilla – only their second win of the season.

The game seemed destined to be a goalless draw when Villarreal defender Sergio Ballesteros was dismissed three minutes from time, but despite being a player short, the home side secured three valuable points through a Juliano Belletti volley just a minute from time.