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Lionel Messi double secures Barca victory

FC Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga table with a comfortable 3-1 win against thrid placed Villareal. Two goals from Messi and one from Villa was enough to see off the challenge from posed by the team in Yellow. Real Madrid will play only tomorrow and that means we could remain in te top for close to 24 hours. Billed as the clash of Titans, the match did live upto its billing especially in the first half. But second half saw Barca taking full control and shut the door firmly on VillarealAS I wrote in my preview, Puyol and Abidal partnered in the centre of defense with Alves and Maxwell as full back. The midfield had the best possible combination with Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. Messi, Pedro and Villa formed the attacking trio.

Lionel Messi had our first shot on target in the 14th minute when his header from an excellent Alves cross was saved by the keeper Lopez. Villareal had a great chance in the 20th minute to open the scoring when a rebounded ball found Nilmar in box, butPuyol was at hand to put the last ditch block. . In the 22nd minute David Villa opened the scoring for Barca with a neat finish. Iniesta played Villa through on the left, who did really well to get over the defenders challenge and finish off the chance. In the 25th minute Pedro scored for Barca but was wrongly adjudged offside. The linesman got it completely wrong as Messi had timed his run to perfection. It proved very costly as Villareal equalised immediately with Nilmar scoring after the defense was caught out. In the 38th minute Barca was awarded a corner, Puyol rose high to meet Xavi's delivery but only could head it wide. BY half time Camp Nou faithfuls had their white Handkerchiefs out against some absolutely poor refereeing decisions.

Barca started as the better side in the second half. Iniesta was pulling all the strings from the midfield. In the 58th minute Lionel Messi restored the lead for Barca. He has now scored in seven consecutive matches. The goal came from a quickly taken free kick. Xavi played ball to Messi, who ran into box, played a neat one two with Pedro and then dinked the ball above Lopez from a tight angle. In the 72nd minute Guardiola took Villa off and brought in Keita, that means Iniesta would move upfront on left. In the 83rd minute Messi scored to kill off the match. The move was a classic Barca goal. Xavi played the ball to Pedro on right who squared the ball to Messi who tapped in easily to score his second of night. Only Xavi could see an oppurtunity from such a move. In the 86th minute Barca almost scored the fourth after the defense carelesly gave away the ball but Iniesta's shot was blocked somehow.

This was yet another great performance against one of the top teams in La Liga. We may have struggled against smaller teams but against the bigger ones our players have raised their bar really well. Once again the combination of Messi and Villa gave us the goals we needed. Messi may have scored twice and was really terrific throughout the match, but my pick for "Man of the Match" has to be Andres Iniesta. What a match the little guy had. He simply drove the Villareal defense crazy. None could catch his constant twists and turns. In defense Puyol was simply majestic, Abidal did a greta job. Had that wrongly disallowed goal stood, we would have found this match much more comfortabel. But the players never let those minute things affect them and came back roaring in the second half. I can declare officially that we are absolutely ready for the Clasico.

2 comments:

Leonardo Camelo said...

No more pictures?

sumoflabarelli said...

Not sure about that; after the goal was disallowed and they equalized we played like a team who'd had their spirit taken away by the ref. Good or bad decisions, everyone rides their luck at some time and the state of disarray that the equalizer left us in meant we were lucky not to go in at half time behind. Having owned possession for 25 minutes, the last 20 of the first half was played almost exclusively in our half.

Having said that, credit to Pep Guardiola for whatever he said at half time because we were a different team and completely took hold of the 2nd half and after that we never looked like losing.

Scary last 20 of the 1st half though.

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