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Jan 17, 2010

An excellent second half performance saw Barca extract revenge on Sevilla for the Copa Del Rey dissappointment with a sublime 4-0 victory. Earlier on the night Real Madrid were defeated by Athletic Bilbao and that means with this victory we have opened a lead of five points at the top. Barca opened the account courtesy of an own goal by Escude, Pedro then doubled the lead and in the last five minutes Messi grabbed two to complete the tally. With his first goal of the night Messi completed the 100 goals for Barca and is now the youngest player in the club's history to achieve the same. Guardiola made only one change with the team which featured in the second leg of Copa Del Rey match - Valdes returned as goal keeper. The defense had Alves, Puyol, Pique and Abidal. The midfield consisted of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. The attacking trio also remained unchenged with Messi, Ibra and Henry.

Barca started the game brightly. In the 6th minute Iniesta played the ball to Henry who squared the ball to Ibra in the middle, but he missed with the goal mouth open. In the 13th minute Xavi put in a great pass to Henry but Palop was equally good coming out early and blocking his shot. In the 20th minute Iniesta sets off in an amazing run skipping into the edge of box and passing to Alves but he could only hit the side-netting. Messi and Puyol had half chances in the rest of the half. But Palop was good to deny all of those.

Guaridola replaced Puyol with Marquez at half time. The first chance of the half fell to Sevilla, when Kone got past both Marquez and Pique but Valdes was upto his task. Barca responded immediately. In the 49th minute Barca went ahead courtesy of an own goal. Messi palyed the ball out wide to Marquez on the right; Marquez cross was deflected by Pique and Escude could only divert it to his own goal. In the 51st minute Palop stood tall to deny Messi after Alves had made a quick break. In the 53rd minte Palop was called into action, this time denying Henry from an Iniesta flick. Next minute Ibra had the ball in the back of net but was adjudged offside. The series of attack consolidated Barca's grip on the game. In the 63rd minute Guardiola brought in Pedro in place of Henry. In the 68th minute Xavi picked out Messi in the box, Messi's shot was saved by Palop and Ibra failed to take advantage of the rebound.

But all the pressure did bear fruit in the 70th minute. Xavi played Pedro ahead with a great pass and Pedro neatly lifted the ball over Palop to score Barca's second. Once the second goal came it was all so easy for Barca. In the 85th minute Messi finally managed to complete the 100 goal tally. Xavi played the ball to the right to Alves, Alves's cross reached an unmarked Messi who made no mistake with a simple finish. Then in the injury time Messi added the second of the night; Abidal steals the ball in midfield and slids in a great pass to Messi, who effortesly clipped it past Palop.

With this performance Barca had got back well to their destructive winning ways. The best news of the night was the continuing form of Iniesta in the middle. He and Xavi was simply exquisite in the middle. Messi once again proved that he has no intention of giving up the Best Player crown in near future. Now he leads the League's top scorer list by two goals. Pedro looked great and did well with his finish. The concern has to be with Ibrahmovic's form. For the past few games he is nowhere near the standard.

All About FC Barcelona


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