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Primera División

  • March 5, 2011
  • • 2:00 PM
  • • Camp Nou, Barcelona
  • Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 85000
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Barcelona 1-0 Real Zaragoza: Seydou Keita's Strike Enough To Hold Off Los Manos

Barcelona 1-0 Real Zaragoza: Seydou Keita's Strike Enough To Hold Off Los Manos

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Pep Guardiola's men did just enough to stretch their lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga thanks to Seydou Keita's finish.

 


Barcelona some what crawled their way to a slim 1-0 victory over Real Zaragoza at Camp Nou despite dominating the game, a single goal from Seydou Keita enough to see of their visitors who had their chances to snatch something from the match.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola rested one key man from each department of his team, with Eric Abidal, Andres Iniesta and David Villa sitting out the side, and it looked to have been a good move at half-time. Keita had a header disallowed before he slotted the ball home from close range in the 43rd minute but the Catalans failed to add to their  tally in the second-half. Florent Sinama Pongolle had the best chance for los Manos, the striker denied by a fine save by Victor Valdes after an hour.

Barcelona looked smooth and confident in the opening exchanges but the high line of the Blaugrana defence were caught out by a lung bursting run by Nicolas Bertolo. The midfielder took a pass first time with his head and had the speed to beat Gabriel Milito but Gerard Pique was around to cover well.

Zaragoza looked more than content to allow their hosts to control the ball in an attempt to hit them on the break. However, they were forced to defend in groups against each individual allowing Maxwell and Dani Alves to sneak down either flank. The system was working with few aerial targets in the middle for Barcelona and Lionel Messi dropping deep to orchestrate.

With almost twenty minutes played a corner created Barcelona's effort which called Toni Doblas into action. The Zaragoza 'keeper moved quickly down to his right to deny a volley from Pedro. Seconds later Doblas had to make a more routine stop from Xavi, the midfielder allowed far too much space 25-yards from goal but couldn't get enough angle on his drive.

Zaragoza were being pushed deeper and deeper with a flurry of attempts on goal, which began to look ominous for the home team. Bojan twice came close and then Messi watched his shot deflect away for a corner. Barcelona eventually found the net only for the referee's assistant to rule it offside, Dani Alves' cross picking out Seydou Keita who headed into the ground and over Doblas into the corner.

Doblas was then forced into his best save of the evening, rushing off his line to close the angle on Messi and the Argentine couldn't lift the ball over the former Real Betis shot-stopper.

The Catalan's continued to threaten leading up to the break, a wonderful pass from Alves finding Pique in an advanced position but a poor touch let him down, then Xavi again fired a shot from outside the box straight at Doblas.

Zaragoza were eventually left heart broken three minutes before half-time and it was Lionel Messi who ripped through the Blanquillos to create the chance. The Argentine eased his way past three defenders before slipping a low ball into the box from the byline. Maurizio Lanzaro missed his clearance, but Keita didn't as he slotted in a low shot to make it 1-0.


Barcelona were given an early second-half warning that they shouldn't take their foot off the pedal. Bertolo shrugged off Pique far too easily in the box but bent his shot just wide of Victor Valdes' left post.

With just over an hour gone Pep Guardiola's back would have spasmed at the defensive marking. Former Barca player Edmilson picked out a long ball beyond Pique for Florent Sinama Pongolle to chase and the former Liverpool forward chested the ball down well into his stride but saw Valdes thwart his toe poke one-on-one; it was a golden chance for Javier Aguirre's men.

Barcelona introduced David Villa to try and kill the game off, the former Valencia and Zaragoza man got straight into the action twice making Doblas work.

The visiting Aragons continued their counter-attacking policy and despite Sinama Pongolle almost getting clear of Pique for a second time, Barcelona kept their nerves to see out the game. They now lead Real Madrid by ten points at the top of La Liga. Zaragoza remain two points clear of the relegation zone.

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