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Deportivo La Coruña
7 April 2012
• Estadio de la Romareda, Zaragoza
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
• Attendance: 24000
Carlos Aranda 30'
L. Messi 39', 86'
That's it from me Luke Matthews tonight. I hope you enjoyed that one because I know I sure did. Congratulations too to those who correctly guessed the result. I hope you put a bet on! Anyways, check out all the other action from around Europe today on Goal.com. Until next time, Buenas Noches!
FULL-TIME! Barcelona win 4-1 courtesy of a brace from Messi and goals from Puyol and Pedro. The scoreline is rather flattering in the end yet the Catalans did deserve their win against 10-man Zaragoza.
90' + 4'
Yellow CardThiago Alcántara
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
GOAL BARCA! Pedro gets onto the end of Messi's lobbed pass to slam home and add some extra gloss on Barca's win.
Yellow CardCesc Fàbregas
Could Messi grab a hat-trick? No, de Silva is in on the Argentine to make a great saving challenge.
Penalty GoalLionel Messi
GOAL BARCELONA! Messi steps up and slams the ball into the net to grab his 60th goal of the season! Game over.
PENALTY TO BARCELONA! Paredes brings down Alexis in the box and the away side can seal a win here!
Yellow CardMaurizio Lanzaro
Messi misses! Fabregas' brilliant ball over the box sees the Argentine run through on goal but he could only lift it over the bar from close range. A poor miss to show he is in fact human.
Thiago comes close as the midfielder finds plenty of space in the box but his effort from Alexis' ball was tame.
Stoppage in play now as Alexis is caught late in a challenge and is on the ground receiving attention.
Barca are still searching for the goal that would surely put this game to bed. However, could there be a nasty sting in the tail?
BARCA COME CLOSE! After some mesmerising play by Messi, the Argentine cuts a fine ball to Adriano who instead of simply squaring the ball to Fabregas on the six-yard line, attempts a high cross which goes over the head of the former Arsenal man.
This game has dried up a little in terms of chances lately as Postiga's attempts to win a penalty are turned down. The Portuguese striker really did fall down too easily with the substitute Montoya and Puyol in close proximity.
What a man! After a nasty collision, Puyol runs to the sidelines to have a nasty gash on his head stapled together before sprinting back onto the pitch.
Another pleasing Barca stat now. The Catalans have won each of their last eight games when Puyol has found the net.
Zaragoza goalscorer is off now with the side's top scorer, Postiga coming on for the man who doubled his league tally tonight. Lanzaro is also on for Obradovic. Not sure how the home team will line-up now with a centre-back coming on for the Serbian who was playing left wing.
Alexis does brilliantly to get past Paredes but his effort from 15 yards out is wonderfully tipped around the post by Roberto. Great save there from the former Benfica man.
Despite still being in the lead, Barca have never really had control of this game and with nearly 30 minutes to go, this game is far from over.
Messi eventually strikes the free-kick yet it's an anti-climax as the ball rebounds off the wall. Alexis does shoot at goal but the keeper collects.
Yellow CardRubén Micael
Barca have a free-kick 30 metres from goal but there's a bit of a delay here as the Zaragoza wall decide to advance at Alves before he has struck the ball. With both sets of players then arguing, Adriano and Micael pick up bookings.
Keita has now made way for Busquets; the Malian having a disappointing game and also picking up a booking. Can Barca extend their lead for some much-needed breathing space?
Looks like Busquets could be about to enter the game to shore up the midfield.
The Blaugrana are yet to really do much in the second period and this will surely disappoint Guardiola with his team up against a 10-man side in the relegation zone.
After Lafita's knockdown, da Silva can only watch on as his powerful close range effort is deflected out for a corner by Puyol. Good start to the second period for Zaragoza.
Obradovic powers his way into the box after playing a one-two with Aranda yet the Serbian can only slam the ball over the bar.
Early drama! Jimenez has been sent to the stands after reacting furiously to a challenge by Thiago on Lafita.
We are back in action at La Romareda. I wonder what Jimenez had to say to his players at the break after seeing his team dominate for 35 minutes.
Your views from Twitter now. Deepak Nepal believes we have seen a very interesting game so far and predicts another two goals for Barcelona. Lionel Majid thinks it will also be 4-1, predicting another for Messi and Adriano to grab a goal. Keep your comments coming @LukasMaf and remember to follow me on Twitter!
I think you will agree, it's been an enthralling first period with plenty of action. Make sure you don't go anywhere with the second half coming up in 15 minutes. Oh, and keep your thoughts coming in on Twitter @LukasMaf!
HALF-TIME! We head into the break with Barcelona leading 10-men Zaragoza by two goals to one. Aranda missed an early penalty before making up for it by netting the opener. However, quickfire goals from Puyol and Messi have seen the visitors take the lead before Abraham was sent-off just before the break.
Zaragoza are down to 10 men! Abraham is show a second yellow card for tripping Alexis after the Chilean had wriggled past him down the wing. His coach will surely be furious to see him dismissed so close to half-time.
Yellow CardSeydou Keita
Little stat for you here. Zaragoza have lost their last seven league games to the Blaugrana, conceding an average of 3.29 goals per game.
So two Barcelona goals in the space of three minutes has completely turned this game on its head! Oh and that was Messi's 59 goal of the season in all competitions. Not a bad tally, I think you'll agree!
GOAL BARCELONA! 2-1 to Guardiola's men and it's that man again, Messi. On the counterattack the Argentine controls Alexis pass before sidestepping da Silva and thrashing the ball into the roof of the net from 15 yards out. Superb finish.
So despite failing to convince so far tonight, the Catalans are level. Do they deserve to be? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter.
GOAL BARCELONA! What a mistake from Roberto! The goalkeeper attempts to claim the corner yet he misses it completely leaving Puyol to poke home from 12 yards out. After all their early good work, Zaragoza have been drawn back level.
Roberto does brilliantly to deny Fabregas' effort, parrying the ball out for a corner.
On Twitter Ayomide Eni-Ibukan is predicting a 2-1 win for the home side. After viewing the early evidence, you could very well be right! Nishant Pant claims Barca aren't as dominant when Xavi is not in the starting line-up. A very fair point you make.
Zaragoza are buoyed after that goal and are defending as a unit as Barca attempt to find a way back into this game. They're going to find it tricky, especially with La Romareda faithful throwing their weight behind their team.
So Aranda has definitely made up for that earlier penalty miss. He seems the kind of player who is unable to put away the easier chances but thrives on netting the difficult ones.
GOAL ZARAGOZA! The home team are ahead! Alvarez's through ball finds Aranda who powers past Mascherano before seeing his tame effort blocked by the legs of Valdes. However, the quick-thinking striker is able to get his head onto the rebound, diverting the ball into the net. Could tonight be the end of the title race?
Decent corner whipped into the box by Fabregas yet Puyol can only head his effort over the crossbar, much to the delight of the home team's goalkeeper.
Yellow CardFranco Zuculini
So Barca are still 0-0 but I'm not sure how! The Catalans have been second best so far tonight but it will be Zaragoza kicking themselves.
Missed PenaltyCarlos Aranda
Penalty saveVíctor Valdés
PENALTY SAVED! What a shocking spot-kick! Aranda's low effort and is easily parried by Valdes who atones for giving away the penalty. The rebound is headed off the top of the bar by Lafita.
Yellow CardVíctor Valdés
PENALTY FOR ZARAGOZA! Just seconds after Aranda's effort comes off the post, Lafita is brought down by Valdes for a spot-kick. The keeper is booked too!
Just as I say that, we have our first keeper tested! Messi attempts to catch Ricardo out with an audacious free-kick from distance yet the glovesman is alert enough to catch the ball with ease.
The reigning Liga champions are yet to really click into gear so far tonight with neither side having a shot on target in the opening 20 minutes. Who will draw first blood tonight?
First sight of goal for Messi. The Argentine picks the ball up in the box from an Alexis pass but despite trying to twist and turn himself into space, he just couldn't shrug off his marker who was able to deflect his shot clear of danger.
Some predictions from you guys now. Rachanash Restha believes Barca will run out 5-0 winners tonight while Nishant Pant feels it will be a 2-2 draw with Messi grabbing a penalty. Do you agree or disagree? Keep them coming @LukasMaf!
Lafita and Aranda link up very well in attack before the latter is brilliantly dispossessed by a Mascherano sliding tackle. Corner for the home team though...
Barca are definitely having more of possession at the moment but isn't that always the case. No real chances from the visitors as of yet with Zaragoza creating the only clear chance so far.
Pedro does his best to sprint down the right wing yet his former Barcelona B team-mate, Abraham keeps pace and puts the ball out for a throw-in.
The home team are doing really well at the moment in closing down their opponents but how long will they be able to keep up this intensity?
So an early scare for Barca who can thank themselves lucky that the scoreline remains 0-0.
ZARAGOZA SHOULD SCORE! The ball is squared along the six-yard line by Micael to Aranda yet the forward completely misses his lines as he ends up back-heeling the ball away from goal. The striker has only scored one league goal this season and from that evidence, it's easy to see why.
The home crowd have been left incensed as Lafita falls under a challenge from Mascherano. However, no free-kick is awarded to the attacker.
Barca are immediately on the attack as Alves looks to whip an inviting ball into the box. However, the Zaragoza back-line stand steady and clear the danger.
We are are underway here at La Romareda and there is a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium this evening with all the home faithful in high hopes.
Both sides are now on the pitch so we're only a minute or two away from getting this one started. Barcelona will be in their change strip of all black while the home side wear white shirts and blue shorts.
Barcelona are going in search of their ninth consecutive league win this evening against a team who are in the relegation zone. However, Zaragoza have recently beaten Valencia and Atletico Madrid so the home team will certainly be confident tonight. I want your predictions folks!
Look away now Barca fans. The last time the Blaugrana started a game without Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets they lost to Osasuna. Thiago, Mascherano and Sergi Roberto started that game.
Remember you can let me know your thoughts and opinions on the game via Twitter @LukasMaf. What do you folks think of Pep leaving out Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta? Rather surprising team news, even if I do say so myself!
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano; Keita, Thiago, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Alexis
Zaragoza (4-2-3-1): Roberto; Alvarez, Paredes, Da Silva, Abraham; Pinter, Zuculini; Ruben Micael, Obradovic, Lafita; Aranda
Here come the teams...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the Saturday evening Liga fixture between Zaragoza and Barcelona from La Romareda. I'm Luke Matthews and I will be guiding you through tonight's action. With Real Madrid not in action till tomorrow, the Blaugrana can close the gap on Jose Mourinho's men to just three points. However, standing in their way is a Zaragoza side who despite being 18th in the table, are currently on a three-game winning run.
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