10 April 2011

German Meyer referee the match Shakhtar - Barcelona

The German referee Florian Meyer for Tuesday's match between Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Barcelona, ​​UEFA said.

The UEFA has appointed German collegiate referee Florian Meyer for Tuesday's match between Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Barcelona , corresponding to the quarterfinal round of the Champions League .

Meyer referee Barcelona's visit to Donetsk Donbass Arena, which boasts comfortable for the Barca team after the win in the first leg (5-1) , while striker Pedro Rodriguez recalled Sunday that "the tie is not sentenced."

In addition, Portuguese Olegário Benquerença lead the Manchester United-Chelsea. (via AS)

Thiago believes that playing with the first team is a reward "

Thiago Alcantara know that playing games with the first team, especially if they are as important as they will now have, "is a prize." Barcelona midfielder wants to seize the opportunities given Pep Guardiola.

With his goal on 63 minutes, Thiago Alcantara broke a game that was tied at that time. An important goal to finish getting the three points against Almería . Star of Saturday's game, the player went through the set of 'The Score' Barça TV , where he spoke of the opportunities to play in the first team, as well as state of grace that lives Barça B.

From the first day that Pep Guardiola has relied on players from Barça B for additional staff. The youth of the quarry are aware of the opportunities given Santpedor coach. Thiago recognized to be the first team is an award " and, before that, says: "I take it with all my strength."

In addition, the Barcelona midfielder accepts the role that the Barcelona players when they go to B first team: "The players of B are to contribute something. When we ask anything we're prepared."

Barca now faces the final and decisive stage of the season. Thiago believes that experience is a pleasure, " since being with the team in big games, and more if they are against Madrid, "is amazing."

Thiago Alcántara This season has two goals with the first team. The first was in the back of the Copa del Rey against Almeria, and the second was also against the Andalusian team, but in the league. In both cases the marked targets head. The midfielder believes that this only is a coincidence. " "I'm not a specialist in head to score goals. I have been fortunate that the two goals were with Almeria," said Thiago.

Thiago this season, despite being some time training with the first team, has also played an important role with Barça B. After completing this journey as a third of second A, the player says that the set of Luis Enrique "has no ceiling. There is a great group and very familiar." (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Pedro: "The team is in good shape"

The canary Pedro Rodriguez lamented the injury epidemic that is suffering the club but wanted to send a reassuring message to fans.

"The casualties are felt, because we need them all: Puyi, Abidal, Bojan ... but the team is in good form and winning games," said Pedro, who is improving their problems in the pubis: "I'm finding it better, but I'm not one hundred percent. Slowly, slowly, go into the rhythm ", commented.

Barça think the game against Almeria is an example of what's happening lately Barca: "The rivals close behind, do not leave spaces and beating people can not always win. Remove the parties is always difficult," said Pedro not believe that the tie against Shakhtar is much less convicted. "We have a good result, but they are a very strong team in its field, has fast, aggressive players and we have to go very much involved and focused, because we know it will be a tough game," he said.

Looking to meet next week at the Bernabeu, for which expected to be recovered, Pedro believes that the club is going to win and not to preserve the income of eight points is the team Barca with his closest rival. "We will go to win, to place the best way to win the league title," he said. (via SPORT)

[Pedro: "Do not we rely on any equipment and less than Shakhtar"]

Canary end has been very cautious in the back of the quarter-finals of the Champions in Donetsk. On a personal level, has recognized the extreme discomfort, but "every time the sensations are better."

After the major thrashing of Almeria, Barca already thinking about the next match in Donetsk, for the fourth round of the Champions League. Despite a 5-1 first-leg, the Barça squad expressed cautious. Pedro Rodriguez has served as spokesman in Sant Joan Despi. "No we rely on no less than Shakhtar team and because it has a great team," he said at a news conference.

The '17 'Barcelona has warned: "There are ninety minutes, anything can happen, because they have a very strong team with fast men like Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano." That is why a duel predicted "difficult and complicated", although it is clear: "We will not change our style of play. We will play with tension and concentration against Shakhtar."

Peter sees the team "very well" at the beginning of the decisive stage of the season. According to him, "is in good shape, playing well, although it is logical that not all parties win the same, they all cost. We are good for one month face very hard."

In the event that eliminated the club Shakhtar could face up to four times with Real Madrid in a short time. Peter prefers to think "party to party" and, when you get the classics, "trying to prepare well." First of all is that of the league next week. "We have a good chance to win there and go for broke. It is a difficult game but we do not know which will go to win," he noted.

Recovered from a back pain, the striker explained how he feels: "I'm feeling better, we must go slowly. Pick up the pace and get in the team is difficult and there you go easy." Pedro has admitted that even notice some discomfort, which is not 100%, but "every time the sensations are better." He added: "I want to get the decisive stage in the best way possible." (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Youth] FC Barcelona Juvenil A also proclaimed champions

One day after the Barca Cadet achieved the title, Juvenil A of Oscar Garcia League after drawing got one with the Cornell.

Barca needed at least a draw to be crowned champion and achieved his goal, but with more suffering than initially expected. Moreover after Rafinha scored the first goal a minute from the start.

However, the Cornell endured the domain and the chances of Barca and managed to tie in the second half through Christian, who converted a dubious penalty.

Rafinha and Deulofeu had good chances to score the second, but the score did not move and gave the title to the team coached by Oscar Garcia Junyent, one of the men that sounds harder to replace Luis Enrique in front of the Barça B . (via SPORT)

Thiago only approaches Messi

The Barca fans noted above all for Leo Messi, who scored two goals against Almeria. Thiago good game also had a 'reward'.

SPORT.es readers recognized the great game of Leo Messi against Almeria giving a score of 8 to end the match. The two goals scored by Argentina were decisive and crowned him as the best in an encounter in which he also said Thiago. The youth, who also scored against the bottom club earned a 6-6, exceeding the great game of other men as Mascherano (6.4), Iniesta (6.2) and Dani Alves (6.1).

On the negative side is the 4.5 of Gaby Milito was the Argentine's return to a starting lineup. It is the only suspense that has given the fans, though Pinto (5'1) and Maxwell (5,2) were not far away. (via SPORT)

20 called travel to Donetsk

Josep Guardiola has called on all first team players available, and Thiago, Oier and Dos Santos, for Tuesday's game against Shakhtar, for the return of the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Developments in this squad, then, are the return of Victor Valdes and Sergio Busquets, who were not against Almeria to comply penalty card accumulation, and the young group led by Luis Enrique, Jonathan Dos Santos. Are low, then the injured Puyol and Bojan as well Abidal and Iniesta, the latter through suspension. It should be noted that the club travels with three goalies, probably because détente Pinto, despite playing against Almeria, suffers in his left ankle.

As usual the day after a game, players who started against Almeria have made this Sunday at the Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper a preparatory session recovery effort. Puyol, Abidal and Bojan, meanwhile, have made treatment. Have also been trained with the first team to nine team players: Thiago, Oier, Miño, Saul, Tello, Planas, Benja, Ilie and Armando.

In this way, the squad provided by Josep Guardiola is comprised of the following players:
Valdés, Oier, Pinto, Villa, Xavi, Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Maxwell, Pedro, Afellay, Messi, Adriano, Alves, Keita, Mascherano, Milito, Jeffren, Fontàs, Thiago and Dos Santos.

Srna and Chygrynskiy doubtful for the match against Barca

Team coach, Mircea Lucescu, given up for lost the tie, has a complicated scenario against Barcelona. Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Dario Srna are doubtful.

The Ukrainian Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Croatian Dario Srna of Shakhtar Donetsk are doubtful for the second leg of the Champions League on Tuesday will face Ukrainian team and Barcelona.

"Srna suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's league match against Obolon. The doctors will decide if he can play, "Efe said a spokesman for Shakhtar .

The Croatian international, who plays right-back false as many seasons is a mainstay of his team offensive was injured shortly after taking the field early in the second half.

"I had a puncture and could not run.'ll see what happens, "Srna said that was only in the field for twelve minutes.

Regarding the former Barcelona Chygrynskiy, already missed the first leg at the Nou Camp , "the player continues to train outside the group," the spokesman said.

"Keep training individually. It seems that the defense is not ready to play, but we will decide what the coach, " he said.

Shakhtar, who held today a training evening, confident that the stadium in Donetsk Donbass Arena, which has about 50,000 spectators gauging this on Tuesday against Barcelona a packed.

Although the coach of the Romanian Mircea Lucescu, given up for lost the tie, the players say they will try, at least, defeat the Catalans, and give joy to the fans.

"First, we are staking the honor of the club, the city and the fans. I'm sure the players will leap in the field will give everything to beat Barcelona," Srna said.

The team of miners, leader of the Ukrainian league, yesterday suffered its first home loss all season, both at the national championship in the Champions League, losing to the modest Obolon (0-1).

The players of Shakhtar accused fatigue and disappointment of the resounding defeat on Wednesday against Barcelona (5-1).

The Shakhtar yesterday paid a high price for the decision to rest Lucescu of eight of the regular starters, including four Brazilians .

As it happens, the Obolon is the only team that has defeated twice this season at Shakhtar Almighty, which in any case has a good chance of winning the league.

And is that just six days, the Shakhtar twelve points ahead in second place, Dinamo Kiev, who will meet later this month.

In addition, the rival of Barcelona will play the final of the Cup of Ukraine on May 11 before the Dnieper, the Spanish team coached by Juande Ramos. (via AS)

Messi again equals the record of 47 goals by Ronaldo

Against Almeria, Leo Messi equalled Ronaldo’s goal scoring record in one season. His 2 goals at the Camp Nou on Saturday helped him to 47 goals for the second consecutive season, with still over a month of competition to go.

On Tuesday, in the pre-match press conference, Messi declared that he was not "obsessed" with the record. Obsessed or not, Messi showed this Saturday that he lives for goals. In fact, he hadn’t scored since his 2 goals in the second leg of the Champions League quarter final knocked out Arsenal. So, he’s broken the little bad run and now has 47 goals this season (29 in the League, 7 in the Cup, 8 in the Champions League, and 3 in the Spanish Super Cup).

Last season he scored 47 goals

Thus, Leo Messi has equalled Ronaldo’s goal haul of the 1996/97 season, something he had already achieved last season. Now, he has a minimum of 9 games to become outright leader in the top goalscorers competition. Does anyone think he might not do it?

Top scorer battle

Just next week in Madrid the league’s top two scorers will come face to face. Messi, with his 2 goals against Almeria, and Cristiano Ronaldo with his goal against Athletic Bilbao are tied with 29 goals each at the top of the leading scorers table.

Messi, who last season won the trophy as top scorer in the League, could take the title again, at the same time as Barça B player Jonathan Soriano might also take the trophy, but for the second division. The reserve team striker has already scored 23 goals and is top scorer in this division. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

The following are all Leo Messi’s goals this season (2010/11).

Barça - Sevilla (4-0). Spanish Super Cup. 3 goals.
Racing-Barça (0-3). League. 1 goal.
Barça-Panathinaikos (5-1). Champions League. 2 goals.
Atletico Madrid-Barça (1-2). League. 1 goal.
Barça-Mallorca (1-1). League. 1 goal.
Copenhagen-Barça (2-0). Champions League. 2 goals.
Zaragoza-Barça (0-2). League. 2 goals.
Barça v Sevilla (5-0). League. 2 goals.
Copenhagen-Barça (1-1). Champions League. 1 goal.
Getafe-Barça (1-3). League. 1 goal.
Barça- Ceuta (5-1). Cup. 1 goal.
Barça-Villarreal (3-1). League. 2 goals.
Barça-Almeria (0-8). League. 3 goals.
Panathinaikos-Barça (0-3). Champions League. 1 goal.
Barça-Osasuna (0-3). League. 2 goals.
Barça-Real Sociedad (5-0). League. 2 goals.
Deportivo-Barça (0-4). League. 1 goal.
Barça-Betis (5-0). Cup. 3 goals.
Betis-Barça (3-1). Cup. 1 goal.
Barça-Racing (3-0). League. 1 goal.
Barça-Almeria (5-0). Cup. 2 goals.
Hercules-Barça (0-3). League. 2 goals.
Barça-Atletico Madrid (3-0). League. 3 goals.
Barça-Athletic Bilbao (2-1). League. 1 goal.
Mallorca-Barça (0-3). League. 1 goal.
Valencia-Barça (0-1). League. 1 goal.
Barça-Arsenal (3-1). Champions League. 2 goals.
Barça-Almeria (3-1). League. 2 goals.

Iniesta: "It was hard, but we have been rewarded"

The costumes held the three points earned on the eve of the first classic of April.

After a hard-fought victory, the players could not help but feel proud of the team's role. Of course, without losing any of the caution is to instill Pep Guardiola day. "The important thing is to enjoy the finals, because we must not forget that this is football," said Thiago Alcántara, one of the protagonists of the match after a superb header that meant Barça's second goal, "the center of Leo was great and I was fortunate to enter the ball, I was not convinced that would come, "he said with a certain humility that is pleasing to the Mister.

For his part, Javier Mascherano, the coach insisted he was not lying when he spoke of the dangers of Almería, "at this point all we play things, Almeria fight to avoid relegation, and we have put it very difficult, luckily we knew to keep tranquility and drew quickly, "analyzed the jefecito` ¿. The Argentine will miss the next league match at the Bernabeu, through suspension, a fact lamented, "I have doubts about my card, because my intention was not him, I ran and got hooked to it", anyway reassured by saying that "there will be companions to take my place in the team are not only 11 and I'm just one more."

Maxwell, who completed his first complete game after injuring Sevilla, confessed that the leg had responded well, but jokingly said that both lungs, "at the end was more the lungs than the legs, but I am available to Mr. to play when you need it. "

Andres Iniesta also highlighted the good taste to let them win, "these games always cost, but we have been rewarded. Arrive at the classic distance is very good, but we'll win because a victory there would leave us very well the league. " (via SPORT)

[Rating] FC Barcelona - UD Almería (3-1)

Pinto 6, Alves 6, Piqué 6, Milito 6, Maxwell 6, Mascherano 6, Xavi 6, Thiago 6, Bojan, 7 Messi 8, Iniesta 6, Villa 6, Pedro 6, Keita 6. (via SPORT)

[Barça B] Jonathan Soriano: "I am hopeful the first team

Barça B striker continues to accumulate offers for the next season, but still clings to the dream of making the big leap.

Jonathan Soriano is that the breaks. B Barca striker proves his day to day affair with no end goal. El Granada is not resisted, another double class course for the top scorer of the second A. An optimal scenario that has opened the doors of many teams in the First and much of Europe. "Offers? Yeah, I've received, but those issues are things of Representatives. For now, my job is to play and do things that my coach asked me, "says Jonathan.

Catalan striker faces its future with quiet, though he admits that the challenge to make the jump to the first team is still there. "Clearly, the first team up is difficult because of my age ... for everything. Anyway, I finish the season for Barca hesitate before deciding whether to stay or leave. " An ambitious challenge for Jonathan is not one door closes. "I am hopeful the first team. For that I am fighting. "

The killer Barca to go step by step. The first thing is to enjoy the game with Barça B. "We are in an unbeatable location. We are third, we are deploying a very good game and this is not a fluke. " And in the Mini one discards the league championship. "The results are there and we can get to the top with patience and good lyrics. The idea is always the same, play who you play. We left wanting, take everything and then tend to get good results. "

Individually, Jonathan admitted having a very special moment. "I had never had so much fun playing. "Pichichi? I've 23 goals, it is clear that there are a couple of days and it was important to win, but I'm not obsessed. My obsession is to accomplish many things with Barca B and then if that leads me to be pichihi, much better. " (via SPORT)

[Barça B] Luis Enrique: "We are in the best moment of the season

Subsidiary Barca coach , Luis Enrique Martinez, acknowledged after winning on Friday to Granada in the mini-stadium, that "we are probably in the best form of the year, both physically and collective game."

The victory against Granada - direct rival Barça B in Second Division leaders spaces - means that, after 33 days, the subsidiary holding the best position since the start of the championship. Barça B is third, just 5 points behind the leader - Rayo Vallecano - and 2 points behind second-placed Real Betis. In any case, these two teams have yet to play his game.

Asturian technician, in spite of the victory, believes that we can "still improve, not so much our game, but if some punctual details.We can not have a man short-Siqueira's expulsion - the game no more ours. Until the fourth goal I have not seen the 3 points stayed at home. "

In any case, the Barca coach also stated that "my players are not machines, and, therefore, the Granada is history. Now relax and prepare to play the next match in Huelva.

The fact that, another time, Jonathan Soriano is the top scorer in the division of Silver "is a pleasure for all and a single clear objective. If no one is more aware of this than the collective, everything is fine. If your colleagues think more with this award for her partner, we can pass on what was wrong with Eto'o when he was in the first team, when they all played for him, did not reach the goals. "

Your continued adding in an excellent cause that subsidiary records are increasingly greatest expectations. On this, Luis Enrique thinks aloud, "We want to be the best affiliate, but the Barça. Now I'm reading that can be the best branch of the world, we want to end up in area of ​​promotion and much more. All this so we'll see over the remaining days - nine games - but now the goal is the same: to be the best branch of the history of the club. If then we can still change the target, the better, but for now, the goal is what it is. " (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Youth] Cadete A, first season champion

Cadet A achieves the top winning the Vilassar (6-0) and title goes to five games left this season. Pepper Garcia's have become the first team football club training in ensuring the league.

It was an important match, and knew Garcia Pimienta. If they won, they stood as champions of the league, but had to get the three points against the only rival that had beaten them. With all this in mind, Simon took just nine minutes to streamline the game and dial 1 to 0. The Vilassar trying to deal with the Catalans, played the ball and opened the field, but Pau Otero cut the wings of the rival by signing 2-0. It reached the break at 3-0 on the scoreboard, Moha work half an hour of the match.

The championship, close

In the second part, the guys of Pepper and Ramón García Ros had sentenced the match, but between them and the league title still divided them 40 minutes of play. And, without any lack of ambition to blame them, the Catalans have just expanded the scoring in minute 10, with a goal from Mamadou, the eleventh season of the Senegalese.

Mara increased the scoring on 20 minutes and only five minutes later, Marc Navarro pointed to the party with the sixth goal.

And, to party, which has experienced after the referee signals the end of the match. Cadet A boys have struggled to react at first, but once they are released, and nothing has been stopped. García Pimienta, Ros and Captain Roger Riera could not avoid being breastfed, and no one has escaped from the shower in the locker room, shouting and singing in joy.

The director in charge of football training area Jordi Mestre and the heads of the quarry Guillermo Amor, Albert Puig congratulated all components of the Cadete

With good reason: the Cadete won the championship five days before the end of the league, playing wonderful football with incredible results.

Just a fact that speaks for itself: the Catalans have scored a total of 126 goals, while Espanyol, in second place, has managed 50 goals. Champion makes a difference. (via FCBarceloa.cat)

Pinto, content: "I have endured the team has won"

The goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto, doubt until the last minute, took part in the victory, being well on the field. The '13 'is already thinking about the next game against in Donetsk, where he will travel with "enthusiasm and excitement."

One of the protagonists of the previous match was Jose Manuel Pinto, challenged by a sprained left ankle. Finally, the goalkeeper was able to help in the victory over Almeria FC Barcelona, ​​despite the end of the duel predicted trouble. "I felt good on the field, I spent three days working to help the team. When I cool the ankle may pass a bad night. Not sleep but the important thing is that I have endured and the team has won," he confessed.

"There are many points"

A Pinto not surprised by the resistance put by the opponent: "No one put it easy. In addition, people had very fast Almería ahead." He added: "Rather than the point spread on the Madrid, we are happy because all the remaining games are important." And is that the Andalusian has relativized the importance of the next classic. "There are many games and many points you have to go game by game," he said.

In fact, Barcelona's next match will be against Shakhtar in the back of the quarter-finals of the Champions. José Manuel Pinto has warned: "It's not easy in Ukraine, we must remember what happened against Betis. We must be prepared because it is a complex field and we have to aforntar the game with enthusiasm and excitement."

Here we review the valuations of other players.

Javier Mascherano:

"It's difficult at this stage where we all play things. Almeria has made it very hard but we learned to be quiet, especially when they have set."

"We are eight points clear of Madrid. The important thing is to keep winning our games because it is now one less. That's what will keep us until the end."


"They were very fast, but we always have a spirit of sacrifice and struggle and have won three important points."

"It's a big advantage but we have to add many points as possible, starting in Madrid."

"I held up well, I'm happy to return to play without discomfort."

"We are sorry for Bojan and hope he comes back as best as possible."

Andrés Iniesta:

"It was a tough match, as I think it will be that lie ahead."

"When the opponent comes forward everything costs more. We have tried to finish and have obtained the reward. Mission accomplished."

"The distance of eight points is very good. First think of the Champions League and then try to go to the Bernabeu to win." (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Mascherano out for Bernabeu

The yellow card that Javier Mascherano picked up on 17 minutes means that he too will be unavailable for the trip to the Bernabeu next Saturday, as it was his fifth and he will be suspended for one game. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Bojan out for between 6 and 8 weeks

Bojan suffered a partially ruptured ligament in his right knee during tonight’s game against Almeria and he will be out for between 6 and 8 weeks.

The bad news for the young Catalan came after he was carried off on the half hour. Tests showed that his injury will probably rule him out for the rest of the season, with doctors predicting a six to eight week recovery period.
(via FCBarcelona.cat)

Olabe: "In Barcelona, ​​you penalize errors"

Almería coach, Roberto Olabe said after his team defeated 3-1 by Barcelona that you can not make mistakes because you over-penalize.

"We were fine, but against Barcelona errors penalize you have been in controlled situations. The party needs to strengthen us for the work you guys have done and the commitment of the players," said the coach.

Olabe, which debuted at the Nou Camp as coach of Almeria, said they are trying to "regenerate" the confidence of a team that currently holds the last position of the Spanish league championship.

The coach acknowledged that they are "annoyed" by the outcome, but said he has seen aspects of "intangibles" that make you believe in the group.

"I think the players because I believe in his abilities. I will try to bring hope and confidence. Let's go all the way yet, and I say sure, because what I see and I convey is that we'll be in every game before the possibility of winning, "he said Olabe.

The coach said he saw the Barcelona well, but did not want to overextend because they only concern now is to make the descent into Almeria.

About Classic next week Olabe did not want wet, and only said: "May the best man win." (via SPORT)

Guardiola: "Winning at the Bernabeu would be a decisive blow to the League"

Barca coach Pep Guardiola said after the game against Almeria to win at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid would "deal a decisive blow" to the League, noting that they come out with the intention to take all three points.

After the victory at the Camp Nou against Almeria (3-1), Guardiola's team reach the classic 8-point lead, but this remarkable income will not change the technical plans for this game.

"Make no mistake, we will not go to the Bernabeu to speculate. We can not go thinking that if we lose nothing happens. We have the opportunity to deal a decisive blow to the League, because obviously if we lose will go five points with six games left to play" , said at a news conference Guardiola.

Catalan coach said that they have to approach the game like last year when both teams get very stuck in the standings, so the idea that will send it to their players.

"The feeling is that I have to convince players to try to win the game, and not with the idea that if we lose nothing happens. We must try to master and try to score goals," said Guardiola.

In this sense, the Barca coach stressed that a Barça-Madrid is never "decaffeinated", and warned of the danger of whites, especially in the counter.

With regard to the suffering victory at Almeria, the Catalan coach explained that "in general" did a good game, although they had to overcome the initial goal of Corona.

Guardiola was "pleased" because it was a meeting "dangerous" and said that an example for the league clashes left at the bottom sets the table, which remain in first division play.

Before the classic face of Jose Mourinho, the club will face Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, a party that gives you much respect for Guardiola despite the advantage gained in the first leg ( 5-1).

"We have to do a very good defensive game and a very good combination to be free," said a Guardiola said that Barca should "control very well emotionally," the meeting.

For the coach, the worst news of the day was out injured for Bojan Krkic, "a drama" laying miss the rest of the season.

He also lamented the penalty for Javier Mascherano Classic-by-card accumulation but said they will find a solution to replace it, and that it will resort to the subsidiary. (via SPORT)

[La Liga -Liga BBVA - 31] FC Barcelona 3 - 1 UD Almería

Barça came from behind to take three vital points and beat Almeria 3-1 at the Nou Camp tonight with a goal from Thiago and two from Messi, one a penalty, that send them to the Bernabeu next week with an 8 point lead.
The team did what had to be done and now go into the big game next week with a comfortable eight point cushion over their great rivals. This was a hard earned win over bottom club Almeria, who limited Barça early on and even took the lead, before Guardiola’s team’s courage and talent once again proved enough to take the three points.

Barça made a number of changes to their starting line up, with Pinto finally making it after recovering from his ankle injury, Milito, Maxwell, Thiago and Bojan all getting a run out. The keeper in truth had a quiet game- there was nothing he could do about Almeria’s goal, which was their only serious attempt –but Thiago and Bojan made a bright start , combining on 15 minutes with the former firing over the number 9’s cross after a galloping run down the right.

Almeria were containing Barça though, with a high defensive line and stopping the normally fluid passing game the league leaders, so much so that they forced four corners in the first 20 minutes before Messi led a Barça reaction and the team upped the pace to begin creating good chances.

Barça began the second half looking determined to open the scoring and David Villa, who had replaced the injured Bojan on the half hour, was unlucky to see his shot hit the post. Straight after that, Corona rounded off a quick counter to put the visitors ahead and stun the home crowd, but the leaders hit back immediately when Almeria keeper Diego Alves brought down Villa in the box and Leo Messi put away the penalty to make it 1-1.

Now Barça poured forward with continuing attacks, as Guardiola gambled with Pedro replacing Milito and Mascherano dropping back to centre half . The Spanish winger’s first intervention ended with a shot into the side netting after Alves had parried a Villa shot. The goal had to come and it was Thiago who got it, firing in a great effort from a corner. Almeria managed to hang on at 2-1 until Messi again popped up to score in the final minute and confirm Barça’s top spot ahead of next week’s big game.

[Technical Data]
FC BARCELONA: Pinto; Alves, Piqué, Milito (Pedro, min. 53), Maxwell; Mascherano, Xavi, Thiago (Keita, min. 67); Iniesta, Messi y Bojan (Villa, min. 30).

UD ALMERÍA: Diego Alves; Luna, Silva, Acasiete, Michel; Juanito, Bernardello, Corona (Uche, min. 56), Juanma Ortiz; Crusat (Goitom, min. 70) y Piatti.

Referee: Ayza Gamez (Valencia). He showed yellow card to Bojan, Mascherano and Villa by the Bernardello Barca, Diego Alves and Juanma Ortiz, by Almeria.

Goals: 0-1, min. 49. Crown topped all alone Piatti center in a counterattack, 1-1, min. 53, Leo Messi converted a penalty from Diego Alves Villa. 2-1, min. 63. Thiago finished off a corner taken by Messi. 3-1, min. 90 +1. Messi takes advantage of a blunder by Marcelo Silva and beat Alves.

Incidents: 80,452 spectators at the Camp Nou.