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Deportivo La Coruña
December 22, 2012
• Estadio Municipal José Zorrilla, Valladolid
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 24823
Javi Guerra 89'
L. Messi 59'
That's your lot from me then. I've been Daniel Edwards, and I wish you a merry Christmas and happy new year, for now goodbye!
Just when the home team earned the slightest hope of taking a point, Barcelona punished an error in the most savage way possible to end any doubt over the result. A deserved triumph for the Blaugrana, and one that will surely be dedicated to their absent coach who, we are happy to report, is now recovering at home after being cleared to leave hospital today.
The referee, finally, blows for the end. What an end to a game which looked to be fizzling out into a routine Barca victory!! 3-1 to the Catalans, who will enjoy their Christmas nine points clear at the top of La Liga.
90' + 4'
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
90' + 4'
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!! GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL!!!! Amazing stuff, substitute Cristian Tello goes alone and makes the Valladolid defence look silly, before finishing with calm. 3-1 Barcelona, that must be it!!!!
90' + 2'
But Barca survive! Pique is strong in the air and the ball is launched back upfield, who could have seen this sort of nervy finish coming?
90' + 1'
Iniesta concedes a free kick around 35 metres from the Barca net. Everyone is forward for the hosts....
Goal Javi Guerra
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL VALLADOLID!!!! Wow, this could be very interesting! Javi Guerra forces an excellent save from Valdes following a first-time cross, but the keeper is powerless to stop the No. 9 tapping in the rebound for an unlikely lifeline.
After about 5 minutes of uninterrupted possession, Jordi Alba fires in a cross. Valladolid have no problem working the ball back to Dani Hernandez.
The Blaugrana are finishing this game with a dizzying range of passing, teasing their opponents as if it was a training exercise.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
A second sub for Barcelona, and not a bad one. Thiago comes to the sideline, to be replaced by one Andres Iniesta. I've heard the lad is pretty useful.
Javier Baraja Vegas
A bizarre move from Dani Alves, who was released clean through on goal thanks to Messi and Villa's trickery. I don't think he realised, as his next pass goes backward and Barca's attack breaks down.
Nice move from Guerra who plays a one-two and tries to launch an offensive from deep. Mascherano is there though, and goes to ground to defy the striker.
Javi Guerra then tries the spectacular with an overhead kick, but it doesn't threaten Valdes and Barca retake possession.
Better from Valladolid, who make good use of the overlap on the right. The cross comes in, and it's Mascherano who heads behind for a corner.
That'll be the last contribution from the Niño Maravilla. Alexis comes off for Villa.
How was that not the third??????? Dani Alves does brilliantly to reach the byline and squares for Alexis, who heads straight to Hernandez. Alves wants the rebound, but appeared to be offside and Valladolid are saved.
If Pellegrini can take revenge on his old club, Madrid will go into the winter break no less than 16 points behind Barcelona, an incredible margin.
Don't forget that at full time here, focus switches to Andalucia where Malaga will host a Real Madrid team in desperate need of points. That kicks off at 8pm CET.
Lio just makes it look so easy at times! He waltzes past one marker barely at half-pace, shapes to shoot and hits just past Dani's right post.
Manucho desperately tries to latch on to a swinging cross in the Barca area, but cannot reach and the visitors clear.
Valladolid are robbed in the middle and Messi is back with the ball, threading through to Alexis. The Chilean has an inch of space but it is closed instantly by Balenziaga makes a great intervention.
Even before that goal our commenters were overwhelmingly on the side of the Catalans. Check out @shedcliff and his prophetic words... "I think they should, messi factor should prove why he's the best player in the world."
Yellow Card Óscar
Oscar goes in very late on Busquets as the midfielder brings out play deep in his own half, and deservedly picks up a booking.
The stats don't lie. Barcelona have enjoyed 71% of possession so far, taking nine shots in comparison to a paltry one hit by the home team.
AMAZING DANI!!! The goalkeeper is sent scurrying to his own goal-line after being caught out by a wayward back pass, and just manages to divert the ball out of harm's way.
For those of you still keeping count, that's number 91 (!) for the little Rosarino wizard. Hard to see how Valladolid can get back into this game now.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLL DE MESSI!!!!!!!! He didn't exactly waste time in making amends. Lio picks up the ball from Xavi, squeezes past one marker and drills into the corner of the net, to make it 2-0. Incredible.
What a miss from Messi!!!! Alexis has a bit of luck from a deflection but does brilliantly on the floor to steer the ball to his companion, who has the goal in his sights. Right-footed though, he steers well wide.
Messi fights down in the corner, and wins the kick. Barca meanwhile wanted a free kick after Busquets hit the floor, but nothing given.
For the moment the Blaugrana are content to spray the ball across the pitch, inviting their opponents to come and fight them for possession. Watch out though, Valladolid are causing worries when they surge forward.
Will Barca hold on for the win here? Send your thoughts to me at @DanEdwardsGoal in Twitter.
Yellow Card Sastre
Neither team has made changes in the interval, it's as you were regarding the 22 men on the pitch.
Sastre take the ball from Thiago with the use of a furtive forearm, and earns a yellow card.
Masterful stuff in these first minutes from Barcelona, who are knocking the ball around with ease.
Messi shows both sides of his game, robbing Sastre with a textbook tackle before setting off. He is downed by the same man, earning a free kick.
Again the post!!!!!! Alves does brilliantly to advance on Hernandez, take it wide and chips into the danger zone. Pedro meets it, but his header just grazes the upright and the home team survive.
Dani Alves controls down by the corner flag, but the ball just escaped from the Brazilian. Throw in for Valladolid.
We're back here, Barcelona get us started 1-0 to the good.
Well that was exactly what the home side did not need, a goal right on the brink of half time. They'll have to come out battling in the second 45, always dangerous against Barca.
Half time in Jose Zorrilla, that late strike has put the away team into the ascendancy as they lead Valladolid by one goal to nil.
Pedro strays offside as Barca press forward again, and it's a brief respite for the home team.
You just don't tire of seeing this team rip apart their rivals in that fashion. Valladolid have defended well, but just had no answer as they were annihilated through the middle, great stuff.
Assist Jordi Alba
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!! There it is, wonderful team play from Barca. Xavi to Messi, to Alba and Xavi pops up in the area to slide in and convert the cross. 1-0 Barcelona.
Barca again break with numbers, and Dani Alves has options ahead of him. The full-back hesitates though, and is robbed by Perez.
Yellow Card Thiago Alcántara
Thiago tugs his way into the referee's book, earning a yellow for impeding Omar as he tried to launch a counter.
Busquets looks for Alexis who is on the shoulder of the last man, but the offside flag is raised. The Chilean looked to be level there, I must admit.
Barcelona's dominance has been almost total these past 20 minutes, they haven't given their opponents time to breathe. But still, we continue deadlocked in Castilia.
Yellow Card Sereno
SO CLOSE!!!! La Pulga smashes the ball towards goal, Dani is beaten all ends up but is saved by his post!!
Another dangerous free kick, Thiago felled right on the edge of the box. Messi wants it, Xavi is there too...
Incredible legs from Messi there! He begins Barca's counter near the halfway line and lays off to Alves, and just keeps going. The Brazilian finds Lio in the box with a deep cross, but his header goes straight to Dani.
Well the Catalans are certainly on top at the moment, but so far no goals to show for their exertions. A long cross from the right goes astray, and Dani Hernandez takes his time in restarting play with a goal kick.
@NDynamo thinks "I think barca is going 2 win but its going 2b difficult".
A fairly uncontroversial comment from @ibjcadet via twitter, who opines "messi wil score today". It wouldn't be much of a surprise.
Messi to Alexis, who cuts in from the left and fires in the low cross. Pedro is there, but is surprised by the delivery and does not react; meanwhile the home defence is on hand to clear.
Jordi is a permanent fixture in the Valladolid half, and has been used a lot by his team. The ex-Valencia player fires in another cross, but Dani claims with authority.
Bueno hauls down Messi and becomes the first yellow card in this game. Xavi take the kick and curls menacingly, the ball just passing Hernandez's left post for a goal kick.
Yellow Card Bueno
The early possession count is pretty unsurprising. Barcelona have had around 70% of the ball.
Messi is in the box and Dani Alves tries to find him with a cross that flashes across the Argentine. Alba has it on the other side and tries the same, but Valladolid close well.
Any predictions, comments or musings on this game or just life itself, send them my way to @DanEdwardsGoal
An interesting stat concerning today's referee Clos Gomez. Under the watchful eye of the Aragon native Barcelona have never lost, picking up seven wins and two draws.
Rukavina and Alexis tussle by the goal-line and it's a corner for Barca. The ball is whipped in, but Valiente has no problem in clearing.
Awful ball from Thiago and Valladolid have the chance to counter with Oscar. He has Manucho ahead, but the pass is equally dire and Valdes cleans up with ease.
Messi surges through and looks to open the game for Alba. The full-back can't control though, and after saving a goal kick cannot avoid the throw.
Omar is giving the visitors a few problems on that right flank, the wideman is rapid and not afraid to carry the ball.
Valladolid push down the right and Jordi Alba is forced to concede a corner. The ball almost falls to Manucho but the striker is well offside, free-kick Barcelona.
The Catalans are pushing hard now, Messi switches play for Alexis who moves the ball inside, Hernandez is sharp in goal, however, and claims a cross with away shirts waiting.
We all knew who was taking that one! Lio goes for his 91st of the year, but it is comfortably patted down by Dani and retrieved at the second time of asking.
Messi has the ball, he jinks and wriggles and looks to carve Valladolid open. The Argentine is stopped, but illegally - a dangerous free-kick.
Valladolid will not shy away against the league leaders, they are pushing men forward albeit with little success so far.
UUUUUUHHH Alexis!!! The Chilean had the goal in his sights from a low cross, but tried to convert with his right horribly off-balance, and ended in a heap.
The surface looks a wee bit greasy in Valladolid, Mascherano almost let the hosts in with a slip in his own area but he was spared thanks to a tumble from the attacker.
Barcelona immediately settle into possession, Dani Alves has the ball and swings in a cross in search of Messi, but Dani is there first to claim for Valladolid.
Valladolid kick us off here, sit tight and enjoy!
The players are out on the pitch now, every man from both teams wearing shirts dedicated to Vilanova. Meanwhile Goal.com has heard the man himself has been discharged from hospital, wonderful news.
Before this game starts, let's remind ourselves how the top of La Liga appears. Barca are currently six points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top, and if they take the honours here they will have a very welcome Christmas pressie of a nine-point cushion to take into January.
And now for Barca... Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Pedro, Alexis, Messi.
Let's take a look at today's teams. The home side first... Dani, Rukavina, Sereno, Valiente, Balenziaga, Sastre, Víctor Pérez, Omar, Óscar, Bueno, Manucho
The Catalans come to this match without coach Tito Vilanova, who was operated on this week after being diagnosed with a tumour. Jordi Roura will be on the bench for this one, and of course we wish Tito the very best in his fight back to health.
Ladies and gentlemen, señoras y señores, hello and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Barcelona's visit to Jose Zorrilla as they take on Valladolid.
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