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May 18, 2009

Real Mallorca - 2, Barca - 1

Guardiola decided to rest majority of first team players against Real Mallorca. The makeshift side had three Barca B team members - Xavi Torres, Oier Olazabal and Pedro. Barca went ahead with a goal from Eto in the tenth minute but wasted a flurry of chances to end the game, especially Eto. In the end it came back to haunt Barca as goals from Arango and Santana in the 73rd and 77th minute sealed a home win for the Mallorca side. This is not a result which Guardiola will not be unhappy with but performance of Eto will give him some worries. Guardiola decided to give Oier Olazabal his first start in Barca goal. Alves, Caceres, Abidal and Sylvinho formed the defense. Xavi Torres was slotted in to play the defnsive midfielder role. Gudjohnsen and Hleb provided the attacking option in the midfield. Pedro, Eto and Bojan formed the front trio.

Mallorca players honoured the new league champions with a Guard of Honour. Mallorca started the game on a more positive not than Barca. For the first ten minutes they controlled the proceeding without much success. Then in the 10th minute Barca went ahead with their first notable attack of the night. Bojan chipped a lovely cross to Eto playing him ahead of defense, Eto headed the ball above goal keeper Moya into the far corner of the goal. After the goal Barca took the control of the game from Mallorca with constant raids into Mallorca's box. In the 20th minute Gudjohnsen played Eto ahead of defense with a great pass, but Eto's first touch was heavy allowing Moya to grab the ball. Then in the 28th minute Alves picks up the ball in his box and storms out with a great run, he then passes the ball to Eto whose first shot is blocked by Moya, eto picks up the rebound but Josemi prevents him from finding the back of net. In the 42nd minute Hleb saw his shot being saved by Moya. In the 44th minute Eto wasted another golden chance after being put ahead by Gudjohnsen neat flick, but again he shot too close to goal keeper.

The second half started with Barca lacking determination and will to crack Mallorca defense. In the 49th minute Hleb played ina great ball to Eto; Eto skips past a defender but again shot too close to Moya. In the 57th minute Bojan put Eto through on the left but he blasted the shot over the bar. In the 72nd minute Oier Olazabal spills a long range shot from Ayoze but produces a great save to deny Arango from rebound. Then in the 73rd minute Mallorca equalised with a great free kick from Arango. Oier Olazabal should have got to that. Guardiola brough in Thiago in place of Gudjohnsen. Then in the 78th minute Mallorca went ahead as a result of the relentless pressure applied by their side. Cleber Santana headed home froma great cross from left by Jurado. In the 86th minute Pedro was replaced by Jeffren. Then to sum up the night Eto was awarded a penalty in the 3rd minute of injury time only for him to shoot at the post.

Guardiola will lose no sleep with the team's performance. There were some positives to look at. Oier Olazabal may be termed responsible for the first goal but he looked so good throughout the match. Bojan looked lively and for me was the ebst player on pitch. Caceres also looked fine apart from some struggle in the last minutes. But the worrisome is with Eto's form. He should had a minimum of four goal tonight but missed everything. The worst thing was that he was trying to score thee goals the same way again and again.

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