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Deportivo La Coruña
2 March 2014
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande
• Attendance: 58930
A. Sánchez 9'
L. Messi 24'
Ángel Trujillo 27'
Full time in Camp Nou. Barcelona move back up to second in the Spanish Primera Division thanks to an eventually comfortable 4-1 victory over Almeria. The hosts bagged two in the first half through Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi, but Trujillo headed in a goal to make it 2-1 going into the break. It looked like the Catalan side would go on to notch up quite a few goals, but it took them to the latter stages of the match to make it 4-1 thanks to goals from Carles Puyol and Xavi. Not the most comfortable of wins, but three points all the same! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
90' + 1'
Messi turns sharply in the middle of the park and reverses a pass into the box for Pedro who smashes a shot at goal, but two or three Almeria defenders throw themselves in front of the attempt to make the block!
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA! Iniesta allows the ball to run past him on the edge of the box and Xavi collects, before whipping a superb strike into the far corner! Four-nil! Game, set, and match!
Final change made by Barca as Cristian Tello is introduced in place of Neymar, who receives a warm applause as he leaves the pitch.
Not this time for the Barca man, as his set-piece clips off the top of the Almeria wall and goes out for a corner kick.
Barcelona get the free kick after Messi is fouled and the Argentine will step up in an almost carbon copied position from his previous attempt, which flew in...
GOOOOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLL FOR BARCELONA! THE HOME SIDE CLINCH THE VICTORY!! Messi cannons a header off the bar from a Xavi corner kick, but Carles Puyol is on hand to tap turn home the rebound! Three-one, Barca get the three points!
PEDROOOOO! GREAT SAVE FROM ESTEBAN! Xavi slides a lovely pass through the middle for the substitute who takes one touch before lashing a strike towards the near corner, but the Almeria keeper gets across goal to beat the strike away with authority!
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Second change of the match from Tata Martino and it's a welcome one as far as the Camp Nou crowd are concerned. Andres Iniesta finally gets the chance to come on after warming up for a good 10 minutes, and he'll replaced Fabregas.
There is just an air of tension in Camp Nou at the moment. With Barcelona firing on all cylinders, they would have put this game to bed long ago, but the lack of confidence throughout the team at the moment is making these last remaining minutes uncertain.
Great chance for Almeria here as they have a set piece-opportunity six yards or so outside the box on the left wing. The cross comes in, but Valdes manages to come off his line to make the claim and take the pressure off his defence.
Well, the way the first half played out it looked like we would have a match full of goals, but there's only been three so far as Almeria continue to hang in there and keep themselves in with a shout. How hungry are Barcelona to add to their tally?
Barcelona follow suit and make a switch of their own as the opening goalscorer, Alexis Sanchez, is replaced by Pedro, who'll slot in down the right-hand side for the Catalan side.
Almeria make their second change of the match as Corona is replaced in the middle of midfield by Marcos Tebar, who'll play a similar role centrally in midfield.
GREAT CHANCE! Alves streams in at the back post to try and get his head to a cross but Esteban punches it away. The loose ball is eventually worked to Messi, but his shot is blocked by the Brazilian as he makes his way back into an onside position.
Barcelona are absolutely on the ascendancy here! The whole Camp Nou crowd is aiming to get behind their team so they can add to their goal tally, and with the game getting a little bit stretches, some more space may open up in the final third.
WHAT A MISS! Messi creates a fantastic chance for Neymar following a give-and-go with Sanchez at the top of the box. The Brazilian has time to pick his spot, but his attempt to guide a shot inside the far post is an awful one and he fires well wide of the target.
VIDAAAALLLL! Almeria go on a rare counterattack forward and spread the play across the park with a few passes. The ball comes to the Spaniard who rifles a strike at goal, but Valdes ends up making a solid save!
First change of the match from Almeria as on-loan Barcelona striker, Rodri, is replaced in attack by Helder Barbosa. He'll probably be employed on the right wing, which will mean Jonathan moving into the middle.
Neymar finds himself in a tricky situation with his back to his own goal down at the corner flag, but in signature style he gets out of the problem with a few stepovers and an electric turn of pace.
Xavi threads a pass down the inside-right channel for Adriano and the left-back hits the byline before standing a cross up to the back post. Cesc attempts to keep it in but the ball drifted out on it's way over and Almeria get the goal kick.
Vidal and Adriano have a footrace down the right wing and it initially looked like the Almeria man was going to come out the victor, and does so, but the play is brought back as the referee deemed he committed a foul on the Brazilian. Bit harsh.
Almeria attempt to break out of defence down the left-hand side through Jonathan but it's all very tight near the touchline with six or seven players all battling for possession. Barca come out on top and play the ball along the back four.
Messi and Neymar link up once again as the former drives towards goal before sliding a pass out wide for his team-mate. The return pass comes back into the box but is deflected through to the arms of the grateful Esteban in the Almeria goal.
Ohhhh soft finish from Neymar! The former Santos man latches on to a fantastic defence-splitting pass from Xavi and bears down on goal, but can only muster a rather weak volleyed finish straight into the arms of Esteban!
Barca just picking up where they left off here as they dominate possession in central areas. They are facing 10 men behind the ball though and it's proved a slightly tough nut to crack at times.
We are back under way at Camp Nou!
Half time in Camp Nou. Barcelona were initially cruising after going 2-0 up thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi, but some poor defending from the hosts gifted Angel Trujillo a free header to make it 2-1. Plenty of goals still to come in this one so make sure you stick around!
Fair play to Almeria, they've been brave in their defending. But they are arguably lucky to be heading into the break with just a one-goal deficit.
A bit of a miscommunication between Messi and Neymar as Alexis whips a cross into the box and both men go for the ball. It's Messi who gets there first, but he turns his strike over the bar.
Almost a terrific chance created for Trujillo. The centre-back stays up after a set-piece once again and brilliantly chests down a cross from Corona, but just can't stretch enough to get away a shot at goal as Valdes comes off his lines to smother the ball.
There's definitely more goals in this, folks. Barca are probing to increase their tally and are looking likely to do so, but are always susceptible to conceding themselves, especially from set-pieces as we have seen.
Messi nearly scored again! Alexis Sanchez gets beyond the defence and latches on to a pass over the top before brilliantly cushioning a header into the path of the Argentine, who squeezes in an awkward header towards goal that goes just past the right-hand post!
NEYMAAAAAAARRRR! HOW CLOSE WAS THAT?! Puyol stays up top after a set-piece and receives the ball at the back post before reversing a pass along the box for his team-mate, who flashes a superb half volley towards goal, but unluckily for Barca it just shaves the outside of the post!
Messiiiiiii! Unlucky! The Argentine links up well with Neymar down the left wing before cutting into the box and unleashing a powerful strike towards goal, it just lacked a little bit of direction though and ends up going into the side-netting like his previous strike.
Oooohhhh that's poor from Dani Alves! The Brazilian gets into a superb position inside the box and all he has to do is pick out a team-mate, but ends up lashing a cross in that goes out for a throw in in the end.
Messi looks to latch on to a loose ball inside the box and almost, somehow, flicks the ball beyond Esteban and squeezes in a shot from the byline, but it was all just a little bit tight, and the ball goes into the side-netting.
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL FOR ALMERIA! THEY CLAW ONE BACK QUICKLY! A corner kick is swung into the box and Angel Trujillo easily heads in from just outside the six yard box! Valdes was nowhere! Horrible defending! Two-one!
Corona looks to atone for his error which lead to the Barcelona goal as he whips a cross-come-shot in with a free kick, which forces Valdes to retreat back and tip over the bar. Nearly crept in!
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!! Messi steps up and whips the free kick into the top left corner! A brilliant strike, and Esteban had no chance! Two-nil Barca!
The former Zaragoza man doesn't do so well in the next minute though, and goes into the book for pulling Messi's shirt. Free kick to Barcelona about 25 yards out.
Corona moves up the park through the middle and picks out Rafita with a glorious diagonal pass to the right flank. The right-back storms forward and lashes a cross into the box, but Adriano is on hand to clear.
First real glimpse of Messi. He collects possession on the right wing and takes on a couple of defenders before aiming a strike towards the bottom corner. It was accurate, but not particularly powerful, and Esteban makes a comfortable save in the end.
Superb block from Dubarbier after some wonderful play from Barca! Dani Alves gets into an advanced position down the right and cuts inside before exchanging a lovely one-two with Messi inside the box. The cutback to Alexis was on, but the Argentine defender got back into position to block the route to goal.
Yellow CardRamon Azeez
The first player to go into the book is Ramon Azeez. The Almeria man rather cynically pulls the shoulder of Neymar after the former Santos man turned sharply in midfield and was making a run through the middle. Deserved yellow.
Almeria very, very close to getting awarded a penalty here! Vidal does brilliantly to get beyond Dani Alves and cuts inside with pace and power, only to be hauled down by the Barca defender. Lucky for him it was JUST outside the box!
That's pretty greedy from Neymar! The Brazilian has acres of space on the left wing to stretch his legs and he initially does so to good affect by driving into the box. Alexis is begging for a pass at the back post, but he doesn't receive it, and Esteban makes the save from Neymar.
If memory serves, Almeria have only managed to get into the final third once so far and that was through a run down the right-hand side by Jonathan. Barcelona dominating in every department at the moment.
Almeria have now shipped 22 goals against Barcelona in five and a bit games, and you get the feeling the hosts are not going to let up as they have started the match with a point to prove. Could be a looooong night for the visitors!
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR BARCELONA! THE HOSTS OPEN THE SCORING! Fabregas receives the ball to feet inside the box and curls a strike to the far post which is saved, but Alexis Sanchez is perfectly positioned to tap in the rebound! One-nil!
Fabregas picks out Alexis Sanchez on the right wing with a terrific pass and the Chilean brings that ball down with a wonderful touch on the stretch to keep the ball in play. Pass was great. Touch was better!
Great save from Esteban! Xavi picks out Dani Alves with a signature pass out to to the right channel and the Brazilian controls on the header before squeezing a shot at goal, but the Almeria keeper makes himself big to make a solid save.
Don't forget folks, Almeria recently defeated the then league leaders, Atletico Madrid, with a shock win, so it may not be as easy a match as many are predicting for Barca this evening.
Mascherano aims a diagonal pass out to the right-hand side and Alexis looks poised to take the ball down and drive at goal, but Dubarbier rises high and put the ball out for a throw in with an intercepting header.
Neymar collects possession for the first time in the match and looks to take on Rafita at right-back, but the Almeria defender does well and sticks a leg out to make the tackle.
We are under way in Camp Nou!
A shock victory for Almeria would do wonders though, as three points would see them climb above Getafe, Malaga, and Granada.
Francisco Rodriguez's outfit have lost their last four away matches, conceding 10 goals in the process.
The Andalusian side have lost the last five encounters against Barcelona, and conceded 21 goals. Doesn't make for great reading for the away fans!
Barca may be coming off the back of a defeat, but in their last outing at Camp Nou they put six past Rayo Vallecano, so Almeria will have to break their recent slump in Catalunya if they are to get a result.
Tata Martino has been forced to shuffle the pack slighlt as two of his first-choice defenders, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, are suffering from injury. Carles Puyol and Adriano come into the defence for the Spanish champions.
Los Cules will be buoyed by the fact that title rivals, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, played out a 2-2 draw earlier today at Vicente Calderon. They can go into second place just one point behind Carlo Ancelotti's outfit with a win tonight.
Last weekend, Barcelona lost ground in the title race after a shock 3-1 defeat to Real Sociedad at the Anoeta, so will be aiming to get their championship assault back on track tonight against Francisco Rodriguez's men.
Almeria: (4-3-3) Esteban; Rafita, Trujillo, Torsiglieri, Dubarbier; Verza, Azeez, Corona; Vidal, Jonathan, Rodri.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Alexis, Messi, Neymar.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good evening folks, welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Barcelona and Almeria from Camp Nou!
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