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Nov 20, 2011

FC Barcelona made shot work of the visiting Zaragoza side with a brilliant 4-0 victory at the Camp Nou. With this win, Barca had briefly moved to the top of standing, equalising with Real Madrid, who will be playing Valencia shortly. In a night after the international break, Pique, Messi, Puyol, Villa all scored for Barca. Not only they managed to win the game comfortably, they ensured that the clean sheet at home this season has been stretched to yet another week. We haven't conceded at the Camp Nou in La Liga this season. It was a mismatch from the begining and had it not been the performance of their keeper, the deficit would have been much bigger for Zaragoza. With AC Milan on mind, Guardiola rested a number of players. The defense had Alves, Puyol, Pique and Maxwell. Xavi, Keita and Cesc made the midfield trio. Cuenca got yet another start at the top along with Messi and Sanchez. Ideally Messi would have been rested but with already trailing Real Madrid by three points, Guardiola needed Messi to start the match.

We started the game on a high tempo and was almost rewarded in the 9th minute when a great cut back cross from Cuenca almost found Messi in the box. In the 18th minute Gerard Pique of all people put us ahead with a header from a brilliant Xavi free kick. Pique did really well to leave his marker and ran unmarked to meet the free kick. In the 27th minute Xavi saw his free kick from outside 25yards out going wide of the near post. In the 29th minute Isaac Cuenca set up Messi with a brilliant ball putting him one on one with the keeper, but uncharacteristically Messi shot at the keeper. In the 31st minute Messi and Fabregas combined well to open up Zaragoza's defense, but once again Messi's shot was saved, the rebound shots from both Cesc and Sanchez were also blocked. In the 32nd minute Messi send in a great ball to Sanchez in the box, who cut inside leaving a defender for dead but his shot was blocked somehow, the rebound fell to Maxwell who thundered a shot which also was stopped by the keeper. In the 38th minute Messi and Cesc combined to produce some heavenly football moment. Messi set on a run covering 10 yards then slipped the ball to Fabregas, who produced a drag back flick to find Sancez but his curler was too close to the keeper. In the 43rd minute Lionel Messi put us 2-0 ahead. Cesc Fabregas found Messi in the box who was just onside, Messi turned and calmly finished past the keeper. In the 45th minute Maxwell send in a great cross spotting Cesc's run, but Cesc missed it by a whisker.

Immediately after the restart Cesc Fabregas forced a save of Zaragoza keeper after brilliant inter play between Messi, Cuenca and himself. In the 51st minute Puyol who had an excellent night so far reading every bit of danger, had to be on his toes to clear a goal scoring chance for Real Zaragoza. In the 54th minute our captain, the other Center Back, Carles Puyol scored to take the scoreline to 3-0. Fabregas' floated ball was directed to Puyol in the box by keita with a perfect header. Guardiola immediately took off Sanchez and Xavi and brought in Iniesta and Thiago. In the 67th minute David Villa came in for Cesc Fabregas. In the 73rd minute Messi found Iniesta in the box, who tried to slip the ball past the keeper, but it went inches wide of the far post. In the 75th minute David Villa latched on to a great cross from Cuenca with a brilliant diving header to take us 4-0 ahead.

To the build up of this match, all the talks were about the FIFA virus. But the players made sure that all the talks after the game would be about their performance. From the start we were rushed to take the game by its throat. Looking back at the match, everyone played their part to perfection. The kid, Isaa Cuenca was sensational throughout the match. He was very much involved in the build up of all the moves and looked to be in the same wave length with Messi. David Villa ended his goal drought with a brilliant header, and that definitely is a relief. It was a rare match in which both our centre backs found themselves in the scoresheet. It was great to see Puyol back to his best and we definitely need him in the mid week. Sanchez will take some time to get to full match fitness, but Cesc fabregas was sensational tonight. How on earth he failed to score is still a mystery. Keita, who was once again asked to play the holding midfielder role did really well. And then there was Messi, who is still playing at only 50% form, but is still miles away from everyone on a footballing pitch.

All About FC Barcelona


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