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Deportivo La Coruña
28 September 2013
• Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, Almería
Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayza Gámez
• Attendance: 11975
L. Messi 21'
Adriano Correia 56'
That's all from me for this evening guys and girls. Thanks for joining me. Good night!
FULL-TIME: ALMERIA 0-2 BARCLEONA The Blaugrana eased to their seventh consecutive win in La Liga with a comfortable 2-0 win over Francisco's side. Messi opened the scoring with a brilliant goal in the 21st minute before being withdrawn minutes later because of a thigh muscle injury. The substitution sucked some of the life out of Barcelona's play, though they did add a second goal through Adriano after a well-worked move shortly after half time.
90' + 3'
And there is the final whistle! Barcelona win 2-0!
90' + 2'
Tello strokes a shot just wide of the right-hand post from 15 yards as Barcelona go in search of a late third goal.
90' + 1'
Jonathan Dos Santos
90' + 1'
The fourth official signals for three minutes of added time.
Yellow Card Busquets
Xavi and Valdes exchange a few angry words after Almeria nearly break into the Barcelona penalty area. Neither looks happy with one another there, I'm not entirely sure how Xavi was at fault though.
Suso clips the free kick into the box but it is easily claimed by Valdes.
FREE KICK FOR ALMERIA! The hosts win a set piece in a dangerous position after Bartra catches Rodri 25 yards from goal.
OFFSIDE AGAINST RODRI! The attacker is flagged offside by the linesman on the far side after latching on to Azeez's through ball. Dubarbier has the ball in the net after Rodri swept it into the box but the goal does not count and play is pulled back for the offside.
Good defensive play from Pique and Bartra stops an Almeria attack in its tracks after Rodri had stolen the ball from Adriano and tried to cut inside on to his left foot.
BARTRA COMES CLOSE! The centre-back nearly scores his second goal in consecutive games after showing a great touch to control a high pass inside the Almeria box before polking an effort into the side netting.
For Almeria, Helder Barbosa replaces Verza for their last change of the game.
Alexis makes way for Tello as Martino makes his second substitution of the evening.
They fail to do so though, opting to play the free kick short instead. That quickly proves to be a silly decision as Suso loses possession cheaply to Busquets.
Alves fouls Rodri and Almeria have a free kick and another chance to test Barcelona's back line.
Fabregas swivels past Tebar, which the Almeria midfielder appears to take offence too, as he promptly fouls the Barcelona attacker and gives away a free kick.
Triangles. Triangles. Triangles. Barcelona are moving the ball beautifully inside the Almeria half.
Adriano is the second Barcelona player to have their achilles heel raked in this game, as Pellerano catches the Brazilian and concedes a free kick 45 yards from the Almeria goal.
This game could do with someone like Neymar or Cristian Tello to liven things up a bit!
The home side are enjoying a lot of possession at the moment, but without testing Valdes and Barcelona's defence. The away side, meanwhile, look happy with the scoreline and are not making any great effort to score a third.
Almeria though, make their first change of the evening. The robust Soriano is replaced by Ramon Azeez.
Neymar had been warming up and looked ready to come on before Barcelona scored their second goal. That change seems to have been put on hold by Martino for the time being.
Almeria's heads have dropped since that second goal. They are failing to press Barcelona, which is never a good idea against a team that monopolise possession.
Official reports from Barcelona are coming through saying that Messi sustained an injury to his right thigh muscle and will undergo further tests tomorrow.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
ADRIANO ADDS A SECOND FOR BARCA!! The left-back adds the finishing touches to a well-worked move to make it 2-0 to the Blaugrana. Fabregas provided his umpteenth assist of the season to set him up, sliding a cross to the Brazilian who flicked the ball into the far corner from six yards out.
GREAT TACKLE FROM ESTEBAN! The 38-year-old rushes from his line to dispossess Alexis with his feet as the Chile international looked to dribble past him and slot the ball into an empty net.
STAT: Xavi is the 10th player ever to play 450 Liga games for a single club.
Xavi curls a devilish free kick into the box from the left but Pellerano is in the right place at the right time to head the ball away under pressure from Pique.
Bartra wins the ball from Suso with a slide tackle right in front of the two benches and though Almeria's technical area explodes with fury at the challenge, the referee waves play on.
A heavy touch from Vidal brings a promising Almeria attack to a close after he had dispossessed Alves and gone hurtling down the left wing at full pelt.
Suso is let off the hook by Barcelona after they fail to make the most of his sloppy pass just outside his own box. He gives the ball straight to Adriano but the Brazilian's cross is not a good one and Almeria are able to clear.
STAT: Barcelona have scored 11 goals from outside the area in 2013. Five of those have been scored by Messi.
We are back underway over in Spain. Barcelona get the second half started...
Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this game!
HALF-TIME: ALMERIA 0-1 BARCELONA The away side are a goal up at the interval courtesy of a divine finish from Messi after a well-worked moved involving Pedro. The Argentine had to be withdrawn shortly after though, through injury, and was replaced by Xavi. Since then the Blaugrana have looked slightly bereft of ideas in the attacking third, and Almeria will be pleased to be in touching distance of their opponents at the break.
45' + 1'
There is the half-time whistle! Barca lead 1-0 at the break.
CHANCE FOR ALMERIA! Rodri shoots straight down Valdes' throat from 15 yards after racing onto a clever flick from Soriano.
Pique is moving gingerly after clashing with Rodri inside the Barca box. The visitors could do without another injured defender after Mascherano picked up a knock against Real Sociedad on Tuesday.
Suso is causing problems for Barcelona playing on the right for Almeria, and he has just won yet another free kick after drawing a foul, this time from Alexis. The hosts are yet to make any of the set pieces count though, which will be a concern for their coach Francisco.
Vidal produces a lung-bursting run from left-back for the hosts, which nearly ends with a shot on goal but for a timely tackle by Bartra on the penalty spot. Great play from the former Espanyol man.
Suso shows neat footwork to dribble past Adriano on the right before caught by a clumsy challenge from Pique. The on-loan midfielder flicks the set piece towards Trujillo at the back post, but the centre-back is crowded out by Pique and Bartra.
Pedro tries to latch on to a looped pass from Fabregas but the veteran goalkeeper Esteban reads the play and comes off his line to grab the ball ahead of the Spain international.
Unsurprisingly Barcelona have lost that bit of magic since Messi was forced off, and they have not really threatened Almeria's goal in the past 10 minutes.
And now Xavi is down. Soriano caught the Spain international's heel as he tried to push forward with the ball, and though the experience midfielder went down immediately he is back on his feet now and looks okay to carry on.
SANCHEZ LETS FLY FROM A TIGHT ANGLE! The Chile international takes advantage of Fernandez's lack of pace by driving into the box and sending an early effort at goal from wide on the right. His effort is some way off target though.
STAT: Almeria have picked up just two points from their last 10 matches against the Catalans.
He was only on the pitch for 27 minutes but that was still long enough for him to score a sublime opening goal. Barcelona will hope their talismanic forward's injury is not too serious.
Yellow Card Verza
Off goes Messi! The Argentine makes way for Xavi, not Neymar, after appearing to pick up a knock. He was moving fairly freely as he walked off the pitch, and it looks like his substitution may be a precautionary measure by Martino.
Neymar is warming up for Barcelona on the sidelines and it looks like the visitors might be forced into making a change here.
Yellow Card Bartra
I must say Martino's dress sense is not quite up to the high standards of his predecessors. Pep Guardiola in particular, was an incredibly snappy dresser. The current Barca coach, not so. Today he is sporting a lurid green club polo.
Marcos Tebar whips the set piece towards Pellerano at the near post but his header is off target. Pique will breath a sigh of relief, as they Almeria defender had got in front of him to meet that free kick.
Adriano concedes a free kick on the right-hand side and Almeria have another chance to test Barcelona.
That was a wonderful goal from Messi, as if often the case. It was a bolt from the blue though, Barca had not really looked like scoring until the Argentine's moment of magic.
Goal Lionel Messi
OUTRAGEOUS FROM MESSI! Barca string a neat passing move together and the ball eventually finds its way to Messi on the right-hand side. He glides past Vidal, plays a neat one-two with Pedro, and then crashes a brilliant effort into the back of the net off the left-hand post.
Suso swings the free kick into the Barca penalty area but it is comfortably caught by Valdes, under little pressure.
Almeria have a free kick of their own after Busquets catches Suso, and the youngster will take the set piece himself 45 yards from Valdes' goal.
Vidal nutmegs Alves with a nonchalant backheel in the Almeria left-back position, which prompts huge cheers from the home fans.
STAT: Almeria have committed five fouls in the opening 14 minutes, the latest and ugly challenge by Verza on Iniesta in the centre circle.
GLORIOUS CHANCE FOR PIQUE! Almeria fail to track the defender's run as he lopes forward to connect with Messi's free kick from the right, but his header from eight yards is tame and bounces some way wide.
Adriano looks fairly put out after being caught by Suso, who slid in dangerously to try and dispossess the Brazilian. The referee has a quick word with the Spanish youngster, before Barcelona take the free kick and move the ball out to Alexis Sanchez on the right.
Rodri does well to keep the ball in play high on the right for Almeria, and he quickly flicks the ball back to Suso in space. The attacker sets himself before curling a cross into the box, but it was miles away from any of his team-mates and bounces out for a Barca goal kick.
A high searching ball from Christian Fernandez is aimed towards Suso on the right-hand side but the on-loan Liverpool midfielder fails to get the better of Pique as the Spain international nods the ball up field.
STAT: The last four meetings between these sides have seen Barca rack up an aggregate scoreline of 19-1, including an 8-0 away victory in 2010.
The visitors are beginning to settle into their stride here, though Soriano did just break on the counter for Almeria before being tackled by Gerard Pique. The home team will need to make the most of opportunities on the counter, as that is when Barcelona look most vulnerable. In their comprehensive 4-1 win over Real Sociedad on Tuesday they conceded a very sloppy goal on the break late on.
Some typical slinky play from Messi bamboozles Aleix Vidal and after an extended spell of pressure Andres Iniesta forces a strong stop from Esteban with a rasping effort from 20 yards.
Sergio Busquets is caught by Jonathan Soriano and the visitors have another free kick. It's been a stop-start opening over in Spain.
It will be interesting to see how Pedro responds having been restored to the Barcelona starting line-up this afternoon. The in-form forward had to make do with a place on the bench for their win over Real Sociedad midweek having scored a hat-trick days before against Rayo Vallecano. Does he have a point to prove to Martino?
And there is the first foul of the game! Alexis Sanchez is caught by a late challenge from Verza in the centre circle. Free kick to Barca.
The home side get the game underway and quickly move the ball back to their goalkeeper as Barcelona's front three hassle them for possession.
We're just minutes away from kick-off over in Spain as both teams make their way out onto the pitch.
So Martino continues his juggling of the Barca squad by dropping Neymar to the bench and starting Pedro in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez. Elsewhere Marc Bartra comes in at centre-back to replace the injured Javier Mascherano.
SUBS: Pinto, Song, Montoya, Xavi, dos Santos, Neymar, Tello
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Bartra, Adriano; Iniesta, Busquets, Fabregas; Sanchez, Messi, Pedro
SUBS: Ustari, Silva, Diaz, Barbosa, Azeez, Corona, Dubarbier
ALMERIA (4-4-1-1): Esteban; Nelson, Pellerano, Trujillo, Fernandez; Vidal, Tebar, Verza, Suso; Soriano, Rodri
Without further ado, let's have a quick look at the two team's starting XIs...
Almeria’s start to the campaign is in stark contrast to Barca's, as they have failed to pick up a win, earning just three points from their six games.
My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through the game as it unfolds at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos. Fingers crossed it is a cracker!
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to our live coverage of Barcelona's Liga trip to Almeria. Tata Martino's side have a 100% record from their opening six league fixtures, winning all six, and the Blaugrana be looking to continue that impressive start today.
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