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Played
March 2, 2014 8:00 PM GMT
Camp Nou — Barcelona
Referee:‬ Carlos Del Cerro‎
Attendance:‬ 58930‎
 
24′ Lionel Messi
 
83′ Carles Puyol
 
89′ Xavi
 
Top of the Match
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Flop of the Match
Rodri
Rodri
UD Almería
Neymar
Neymar
Barcelona

Barcelona 4-1 Almeria: Messi & Puyol put Catalans one point off Real Madrid

Alexis Sanchez scored the opener before the Argentine doubled the scoreline and, though the visitors pegged a goal back, the skipper and Xavi finished them off

By Ryan Benson

Lionel Messi Barcelona Almeria La Liga 03022014
Getty Images
Barcelona reacted to the draw between their title rivals by defeating Almeria 4-1 on Sunday to go one point behind leaders Real Madrid.

Alexis Sanchez gave Barca the lead before Lionel Messi netted his 229th La Liga goal with an inch-perfect free-kick, a strike that saw the Argentinian overtake Real legend Raul to become the third-highest Liga scorer in history. Angel Trujillo unexpectedly pulled one back for Almeria but goals from Carles Puyol and Xavi completed the rout.

Gerardo Martino made six changes to the side which lost 3-1 to Real Sociedad last week, with Andres Iniesta being the most high-profile player to lose his place.

Barca looked destined to put that disappointment behind them from the outset, with Sanchez opening the scoring after just nine minutes by converting the rebound after Esteban failed to hold Cesc Fabregas' effort.

Almeria's task then became even more daunting on 25 minutes, as Messi expertly curled an unstoppable free-kick into the top-left corner from 25 yards to claim yet another goalscoring milestone.

However, Almeria earned themselves an unlikely lifeline just two minutes later, when Miguel Angel Corona's inviting corner was headed past the stranded Victor Valdes by defender Trujillo.

Messi almost restored Barca’s two-goal cushion late in the first half, but he nodded just wide after beating Esteban to a loose ball in the area.

The hosts made a sluggish start to the second half, but that did not stop Xavi creating a great opportunity for Neymar as he fed the Brazilian into the left side of the area, only for the forward to shoot straight at Esteban.

Valdes then had to bail Barca out just after the hour, as Aleix Vidal inexplicably found space in the home side's area before letting fly with a powerful left-footed effort that went right at the keeper.

Neymar wasted another big chance shortly after as he opened his body up and shot well wide of the far post from close range.

But Barca finally put breathing space between themselves and Francisco's men seven minutes from time as Puyol knocked in after Messi's towering header had hit the bar, before Xavi stroked an excellent finish beyond Esteban from 20 yards.


Barcelona

1
Víctor Valdés
Goalkeeper
2.50
5
Carles Puyol
Defender
83′
3.00
21
Adriano
Midfielder
25′
3.00
22
Daniel Alves
Defender
3.00
4
Cesc Fàbregas
Midfielder
79′
2.50
6
Xavi
Midfielder
89′
3.50
14
Javier Mascherano
Midfielder
3.00
16
Busquets
Midfielder
3.00
9
4.00
10
Lionel Messi
Striker
24′
4.00
11
Neymar
Striker
88′
3.00

UD Almería

3.00
1
Esteban
Goalkeeper
2.50
-
3.50
-
2.00
-
2.00
20
Rafita
Midfielder
2.50
7
Verza
Midfielder
81′
2.50
8
2.50
15
Corona
Midfielder
23′ 27′ 71′
2.50
-
Ramon Azeez
Midfielder
17′ 79′
2.50
31
Rodri
Striker
62′
2.50
-

Substitutes

25
Oier
Goalkeeper
 - 
15
Bartra
Defender
 - 
18
Jordi Alba
Defender
 - 
8
 - 
17
Alex Song
Midfielder
 - 
7
Pedro
Striker
72′ 89′
 - 
20
Tello
Striker
88′
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
-
Cuesta
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
 - 
22
Mané
Defender
 - 
-
Tébar
Midfielder
71′ 86′
 - 
-
Suso
Midfielder
79′
 - 
-
Óscar Díaz
Midfielder
2.50
10

Coach/Manager

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atlético Madrid
27 5
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
Barcelona
25 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Striker
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
Striker
Barcelona
17 0