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Deportivo La Coruña
March 20, 2012
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 62401
L. Messi 17', 67', 86'
Guilherme Siqueira 62', 89'
The full time report and player ratings are still to come here at Goal.com so stay tuned! That's it from me, Keeghann Sinanan, it's been a blast! Remember to check me out on Twitter @Keeghann for any comments on tonight's game!
The night belongs to Lionel Messi, whose superb hat-trick sees him become Barcelona's top goalscorer of all time. His total stands at 234, and will doubtless be increased in the weeks and months to come. Behind the shadow of Messi's exploits, we saw an enthralling game of football. A Granada comeback from two goals down, two penalties conceded by Barcelona, and a Dani Alves red card gave this match no shortage of storylines. 5-3 is the final score here.
90' + 3'
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Abel
90' + 1'
Now, Messi on the attack with a 2 on 3 break for Barca. He slips a pass through to Cuenca, who is just caught offside! The high line from Granada exposed again there, but at this stage it matters little.
Yellow Card Alex Geijo
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Penalty Goal Guilherme Siqueira
SIQUEIRA SCORES!!! This time, he chips it impudently down the middle to beat the diving Valdes and round off his brace from the spot! What an incredible game this has been!
Yellow/Red Daniel Alves
In fact, Alves has been sent off for his second bookable offence after seeing another yellow card for conceding the spot kick!
It's Benitez winning one off Alves again! This time, the Brazilian is called for handball after Benitez's cross deflected off his leg onto his arm!
PENALTY TO GRANADA!!!
Granada floored as Barcelona run their passing carousel in the opposition half. The fans chant Messi's name from the stands. The Camp Nou in great spirits.
Assist Daniel Alves
MESSI GETS HIS HAT TRICK! Right on cue! Dani Alves with another ball that completely catches Granada out and puts Messi through on goal. The Argentine quickly darts past Cesar, turns back to face goal and puts it high into the corner! What a night for the Argentine sensation!
Time for Barcelona to run out the clock as the resistance from Granada is crushed once and for all. Really, all that will make this historic evening complete for the Blaugrana is for Messi to round off his hat-trick.
TELLO SCORES! Game, set, match! The move started with a marauding run down the right by Alves, whose square ball to Iniesta saw the midfielder turn brilliantly before releasing Messi towards goal on the left. The newly-minted record Barcelona goalscorer lets loose with a cross-cum-shot from an angle that is saved well by Cesar, but Tello reacts quickest to stroke the rebound confidently home!
Long ball from defence by Granada finds Geijo running through on goal. With Alves and Pique in hot pursuit, he controls it brilliantly but fires his shot disappointingly high and wide!
Another penalty call for Barcelona! Messi releases a fantastic through ball that puts substitute Tello through. He strides across the box, beating Cesar but goes down just as he was about to pull the trigger under pressure from Gomez! The referee decides against awarding anything after a glance at his assistant!
Gomez does extremely well to get a forehead onto the ball and clear the danger.
Free-kick to Barcelona out near the left byline. Messi and Xavi stand over it menacingly as bodies from both sides flood the box...
A Barcelona corner is blocked out well by Cortes, but sets up Cuenca on the left. However, this time, he cannot beat his man for pace or with a delivery into the box. Goalkick.
Granada's joy lasted all too briefly as a trademark Messi effort has seen them once more chasing the game. Do they have another comeback in them?
Assist Daniel Alves
MESSI SCORES! This is his moment! A clever dinked ball by Alves catches the Granada back four flat footed and picks out the Argentine's run perfectly and puts him one on one with the keeper. He then beats Cesar with a sublime lob that sneaks in under the crossbar to put Barcelona back in front and make him their all time leading goalscorer with 233 goals, beating out Cesar Rodriguez's longstanding record of 232! History is made!
Yellow Card Borja Gómez
UCHE!!!! The Nigerian cuts in brilliantly from the right and squares up to Puyol, gets an inch of space, but fires his shot just over!!!
Yellow Card Moisés Hurtado
Barcelona absolutely shell shocked. Two set pieces have seen the visitors claw their way back into the game. The Blaugrana storm down the field through Messi, who tees up Thiago for a shot that just goes wide!
GRANADA EQUALIZE!!!! Siqueira rolls in confidently down the left, sending Valdes the wrong way! 2-2!!!
Assist Dani Benítez
Penalty Goal Guilherme Siqueira
Benitez goes down the left, with Alves in hot pursuit. The two tussle, Alves puts his hands on Benitez's shoulder, and the Granada man goes down just inside the area. There was contact, but Benitez certainly made the most of it!
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
PENALTY TO GRANADA!!!
Ooh, Pique gets his head to Xavi's delivery, but it goes straight at Cesar!
Yellow Card David Cortés
Cortes goes into the book after bringing down Cuenca. Xavi stands over a free kick near the corner flag...
How will Barcelona respond? They go on the offensive immediately from the restart, but rush things too much as Xavi's pass ends up in the keeper's hands.
Assist Carlos Martins
GRANADA PULL ONE BACK!!! The free kick is taken by Carlos Martins, who hits it towards the head of Maniz. The Granada skipper then out-jumps Pique and plants a header into the corner! 2-1, and game on!
Free kick to Granada, after Ighalo is double teamed by Pique and Puyol on the left. Rare chance for the visitors from the set-piece.
MESSI!!! The Argentine goes close twice! First he collects the ball at the top of the box, and it takes four Granada players before his shot is blocked! Immediately after, Cuenca sends another teasing cross in that finds Messi unmarked ten yards from goal, but with the headline writers at the ready, he can only scuff his shot wide! Bad miss!
Granada are playing a dangerous high line, which is giving Barcelona all kinds of angles to exploit.
Barca win possession back from the drop ball and resume the match.
An advertising banner has blown onto the field, temporarily halting play. Drop ball to come soon...
Yellow Card Seydou Keita
Keita sees a deserved yellow for a foul on Carlos Martins
Alves wins a throw in on the left after seeing a marauding run halted by the boot of Siqueira. Barca start the second half as they left the first, in complete control.
Here we go again, remember that you can reach me on Twitter @Keeghann!
Remember, if Lionel Messi scores in the second half, he will become Barcelona's all time record goalscorer at 24 years of age, in only his eighth season in the Blaugrana first team. It's all set up for him to make history in the second half, in front of his home fans, so join us in a bit!
Barcelona have got Granada squarely under their thumb here at the Nou Camp. They have not looked troubled in the slightest, as an early goal from Xavi and Messi's record-equaling 232nd strike in Barcelona colors have set them well on their way to victory. The gap between themselves and Real Madrid at the summit of La Liga can be provisionally reduced to five points if such a result occurs.
45' + 1'
The referee blows for half time!
Granada take another stab at making something happen in the Barcelona half. They fail once more, as Ighalo simply cannot get past Puyol, who stuck to him like glue near the right corner flag. The hosts build from the back again.
Sanchez gets a small opening to fire a ball in from the right. Mainz, however, is quick to clear the cross at the near post with Barca players beginning to queue up in the centre!
Barcelona on the attack once more, Thiago plays in Messi on the edge of the box, but Mioses does brilliantly to block his shot just as he pulled the trigger.
We have a Granada sighting! Benitez makes some inroads down the left and creates an inch of space behind Alves for a cross. The ball is a good one, just missing Ighalo before Puyol clears the danger. That immediately launches Barca on the counter, but the Blaugrana's advance is halted by an offside call on Messi.
Cuenca wins another corner as his low cross is deflected out by Cortes. The 20-year-old has been highly impressive out on the left, playing a hand in both goals while giving Cortes and Mainz no end of trouble.
Xavi pings a deep ball through to Sanchez, who tries to make a diagonal run in towards goal, but is just caught offside, his second such call of the night.
Messi holding possession here, before slipping a ball in that almost puts Cuenca clean through. However, the pass is slightly overhit, leaving the youngster scrambling to stop it from crossing the byline.
Yellow Card Dani Benítez
Benitez is our second caution of the night, booked for protesting a foul awarded to Barcelona.
A brief Granada foray into the Barcelona half ends all too quickly as Puyol steps forward to nip the ball off the toes of Jara. Story of the night for the visitors so far, really.
Half an hour gone, and Barcelona look well on their way to a comfortable three points. They have not gotten out of second gear so far, nor have they needed to.
Cuenca again doing well to hold the ball up at the top of the box, looking for someone to make a burst towards goal. Sanchez is the first to do so, but he is caught just offside.
Xavi sets up Alves from range with a corner from the right. Alves, as is sometimes his wont, decides to let fly from well out, but he only succeeds is smashing the ball into the advertising boards on the side.
Penalty? Sanchez again collects the ball on the right side of the box and squares up to Gomez. He tries to turn the defender inside out, and goes down after what appeared to be a little contact! Nothing given though!
SANCHEZ!!! Some more fantastic play by Cuenca sees him evade the attentions of two Granada defenders before slipping in Sanchez just inside the area. The Chilean takes a touch inside before unleashing an absolute piledriver that goes just over the crossbar!!
Granada free kick about 40 yards from goal. Rare chance for the visitors to get a sight on goal as the ball is hit into a crowd of players, but too many bodies get a touch to it and it bobbles through to Valdes.
A graphic has appeared on the big screen at the Camp Nou, showing Messi and Rodriguez, both Barcelona all time scorers, over the number 232, their goals total for the club. History is being made tonight!
MESSI MAKES IT 2-0! Cuenca does brilliantly on the left, skipping past a defender and firing a cross that takes a deflection en route to Messi in the box. The Argentine then sidefoots it sublimely on the volley into the bottom corner to score, and equal Cesar Rodriguez's record of 232 all time Barcelona goals!
So far, Barca have found things simple, as Granada have not been threatening in the slightest, apart from that early chance for Martins. The hosts are finding holes in midfield with regularity.
MESSI! Sighs of relief from the visitors there, because the Argentine was teed up at the edge of the box in space by Sanchez, and luckily for them, he could not put any sophistication on his shot and sends it straight into Cesar's arms.
Yellow Card Ighalo
Ighalo the first player to be booked, after bringing down Xavi.
Sanchez receives the ball from a fortuitous deflection just inside the Granada box. Two defenders do not faze him as he starts the stepovers, but he is soon robbed of the ball and sees is deflect back off him for a goal kick.
Adriano goes close! Barca attack again in a sweeping move from the back. The ball finds its way to the Brazilian outside the area, but he drags his shot wide of the far post.
That goal was Xavi's 10th in La Liga this season, making him their second highest scorer this year after that man Messi.
GOAL FOR BARCA!!! It's Xavi who opens the scoring after only four minutes! A clever cushioned header by Messi is put into Xavi's path, and the midfielder does just enough to put the ball home!
Ooh, early opening for Granada!!! Dani Alves dribbles himself into trouble and loses possession to Carlos Martins at the top of the box. The Granada man lets fly but flashes just wide!
Here we go!
If Twitter's your thing, then you can reach me @Keeghann throughout the match. We're about to get underway...
Granada enter the field with shirts that bear messages of support to Eric Abidal after the news of his impending liver transplant. Barca meanwhile show their support with bands that hail stricken Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed on the weekend. Classy move from both teams.
Granada meanwhile see Carlos Martins start despite being sent off on the weekend, as the committee that normally deals with matters of suspensions and bans did not have a chance to meet in time for the game.
For the hosts, Puyol and Sanchez return to start, after being named as substitutes during the 2-0 win over Sevilla at the weekend. With the likes of Fabregas, Pedro and Iniesta on the bench, coach Pep Guardiola does not lack for options.
The big story tonight - Lionel Messi is one goal shy of equaling Cesar Rodriguez's all time record of 232 goals for the Blaugrana. Rodriguez's record has stood since 1955, and the stage is set for Messi, with 231 goals as things stand, to make history tonight.
Subs: Juan, Henrique, Geijo, Abel, Lopez
Granada (4-2-3-1): César; Nyom, Iñigo, Borja, Siqueira; Uche, Moisés; Rico, Jara, Martins; Ighalo
Subs: Pinto, Pedro, Cesc, Tello, Busquets, Mascherano, Iniesta, Muniesa.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Adriano; Keita, Thiago, Xavi; Cuenca, Messi, Alexis
The teams are in...
Greetings one and all, and welcome to the La Liga clash between Barcelona and Granada at Camp Nou! Keeghann Sinanan here, delighted to bring you the play by play.
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