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April 14, 2013
• Estadio de la Romareda, Zaragoza
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 30000
Thiago Alcântara 20'
Tello 39', 53'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls! Thank you very much for joining me! Have a lovely evening.
FULL-TIME: ZARAGOZA 0-3 BARCELONA The Blaugrana eased to a 3-0 win at La Romareda this evening, with Tello scoring two fine goals and Thiago also on the scoresheet. Barcelona won the game without playing brilliantly, and Vilanova also had the luxury of resting a number of players following their Champions League exploits during the week. The win takes them 16 points clear of Real Madrid for the time being, although Mourinho's side could close that gap back to 13 if they beat Athletic Bilbao later this evening. Zaragoza, meanwhile, continue their atrocious run of form that has not seen them win since 2012.
90' + 3'
There is the final whistle! Barcelona have cruised to victory!
90' + 2'
And now Villa is thwarted by Ruben! The Barcelona striker is dispossessed by a sliding block just as he pulls back his left foot to shoot inside the Zaragoza penalty area.
90' + 1'
The referee signals for three minutes of added time...
Villa is stopped in mid flight by a tackle from Sapuranu. The left-back has improved markedly in the second half, both in defence and attack.
STAT: Barca have completed 600 passes this evening, compared to Zaragoza's 298.
GOOD SAVE FROM ROBERTO!! A firm low shot from Alexis is kept out well by Roberto, the Zaragoza goalkeeper flinging his left arm out to tip the strike away from goal.
DECENT EFFORT FROM MONTANES!! The attacker has been a rare shining light for Zaragoza this evening, and he has just come close to scoring a consolation goal for the hosts. His shot from a tight angle on the left flew just wide of the right-hand post.
David Villa is now on for Barcelona. The Spain international spent two seasons at La Romareda between 2003-05, and scored 41 goals for the club during that time.
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
Yellow Card Álvaro
Alvaro was handed a yellow card for that altercation, having lashed out at Alexis after the Chile international fell to the floor following the foul.
Alves races down the right and hammers a cross towards Alexis on the penalty spot. Despite Alvaro winning the ball initially, Alexis steals it back and after being shepherded away from goal draws a foul from the Zaragoza defender.
Barca make another change - Xavi is replaced by Sergi Roberto, who is making his first league appearance of the season.
A win here would take Barcelona temporarily 16 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid. However, Jose Mourinho's side face Athletic Bilbao straight after this game at San Mames. Be sure to follow Goal.com's coverage of that game!
A rash tackle from Adriano on Rodri gives Vilanova the chance to make that change. Abidal is given a warm round of applause by both sets of fans as he comes on for Adriano, who was fortunate to just avoid a booking!
It looks like it might be Eric Abidal coming on for Barcelona. It is fantastic to see him back playing again after his liver transplant.
ROCHINA FIRES OVER!! The on-loan striker cuts in from the right and lashes a shot a yard or so over the crossbar with his left foot. He did well to shrug off a couple of challenges to find space to shoot there.
Very well played by Montoya! The left-back dispossesses Apono with a perfectly-timed tackle and then brings the ball up field for the visitors.
A few of the players on the Barca bench are warming up on the sidelines. Vilanova is yet to make any changes tonight.
Yellow Card Alexis Sánchez
Awful effort! Apono's strike flies high over Valdes' crossbar. The 29-year-old has been poor since coming on.
An ugly challenge from Alexis on Montanes results in a free kick for Zaragoza and a booking for the Chilean forward. This is nicely positioned for a shot at goal for Apono.
ROBERTO DENIES TELLO HIS HAT-TRICK! The Zaragoza goalkeeper comes off his line quickly to close Tello down as he tried to lift a lob over him and into the far corner. Roberto got a vital touch on the ball to deflect it behind for a corner.
Vilanova's men are lulling Zaragoza into a false sense of security by slowing the pace of the game down in the middle of the pitch, before suddenly upping the tempo with quickfire passes behind the home team's full-backs Sapunaru and Paredes to the likes of Tello and Sanchez.
STAT: Barcelona's passing accuracy as a team is 87% for this game. That is shockingly good.
Rochina is a former Masia player, who had spent the past couple of seasons at Blackburn Rovers before joining Zaragoza on loan at the start of 2013.
To perhaps emphasise that, Postiga has just been brought off by Jimenez and replaced by Ruben Rochina.
I feared for Adriano this evening up against Postiga, but he's performed very well at centre-back for the visitors.
Montanes swings a corner in from the left for Jimenez's team but Thiago is back inside his own box to nod the ball clear.
Another good cross from Sapunaru creates an opportunity for Zaragoza! A tame touch from Alves, allows Montanes to steal in and fire a low shot at goal. Valdes is equal to it though, and gathers the ball in his arms fairly comfortably.
Barca have been very clinical this evening. They've had four shots on target, and three of them have found the back of the net!
That second Tello goal will have gone down well with those of you at half-time who were suggesting Vilanova should start him against Bayern!
The former Malaga man's cross is weak though, and is easily picked off by Bartra and cleared up field.
Zaragoza's sub Apono lines up a free kick 20 yards from goal...
Assist Thiago Alcántara
Yellow Card Apoño
FINE INDIVIDUAL GOAL FROM TELLO!! The Barca winger notches his second of the evening after receiving a pass on the left, sprinting into the box, tricking Loovens with a blistering step over and then hammering a shot into the far corner with his left foot. Great play from the 21-year-old!
Zaragoza have got a job on their hands if they want to turn this round. The Aragonese outfit were in 18th place going into this game, having not won at home since Novermber.
Montanes drives into the Barca box on the left but is forced into passing back to Apono by some aggressive defending by Alves.
Another super pass from Thiago creates a chance for Barcelona. Tello races on to the midfielder's firm through ball but cannot test Roberto after controlling the ball with his right foot.
ALEXIS STRIKES THE CROSSBAR! The Barcelona forward crashes an effort against the woodwork from the right-hand side of the Zaragoza box with Roberto well-beaten.
Alves beats Postiga in the air as Zaragoza threaten at the start of the second period. It was an enticing cross from Sapunaru that forced the interception from the Brazilian.
On come Apono and Jorge Orti for Zaragoza for the second half. The home side get things going at La Romareda...
There is a lot of love for Tello's first half performance in the comments box. A few of you are saying he should start against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Who would he replace? Let me know your thoughts!
Join me in a few minutes for the second half of this exciting game! Who needs Messi, eh? Barca are doing okay without him so far this evening.
HALF-TIME: ZARAGOZA 0-2 BARCELONA The Catalan giants stormed to a 2-0 lead at La Romareda, largely thanks to two moments of brilliance from Thiago. The first resulted in a goal, as he exchanged passes with Alexis before firing a shot past Roberto, and the second created Barcelona's second. The midfielder dissected Zaragoza's defence with a pass to Tello, who took a touch before curling a shot into the back of the net.
45' + 1'
And there is the half-time whistle! Barca lead 2-0 here!
HORRIBLE FROM PAREDES! The Zaragoza captain misses the target by a long long way after attempting a long range strike with his left foot.
A fabulous pass from Thiago finds Alves in space on the right, but the move breaks down in emphatic fashion as Cesc catches Loovens with an elbow as they challenge to meet Alves' cross.
STAT: Barcelona have scored at least two goals in 25 of their last 27 matches in La Liga.
Xavi's lofted corner looks to have been cleared by Zaragoza, but it goes only as far as Alexis, who kills the ball with his chest and hits an instinctive shot at goal that Roberto dives to his right to keep out.
Alvaro heads the ball behind his own goal as Barca attack once more. And now the visitors have a corner kick.
Assist Thiago Alcántara
TELLO MAKES IT 2-0 TO BARCA!! Vilanova's men extend their lead thanks to a clinical finish from the unfavoured right foot of Tello, after he was put through by a brilliant pass from Thiago. The speedy winger did well to control the ball with his weaker foot and then curl a shot past Roberto at the near post.
And now Cesc wants a penalty! A high pass bounces up and flicks off Sapunaru and out for a corner kick for the Catalan giants. Despite it catching the defender's chest Fabregas is trying to argue that it struck his arm. The referee is having none of it.
STAT: Zaragoza have not won a Liga match at La Romareda since a 5-3 success over Deportivo in November.
Jimenez is furious on the sidelines that the referee has failed to give Rodrigo a penalty there. He was caught first by Montoya and then Song in the space of a few seconds.
THAT WAS DUBIOUS DEFENDING FROM SONG! The Barcelona midfielder catches Rodrigo in the face as Zaragoza launch a rare ball forward, and the attacker is still down receiving treatment.
Barca are camped outside the Zaragoza penalty area. Only a vital interception from Alvaro just stopped Alexis from bursting through on goal.
Song looks for Cesc with a curling pass from the right but it is misplaced and is only just kept in play by Tello on the left wing. The youngster slips a pass back to Thiago who tries to find Alves on the right side of the Zaragoza box but Glenn Loovens is on hand to head the ball up field.
Zaragoza are struggling to touch the ball as their opponents go about monopolising possession like they so often do. Movilla and Jose Mari are chasing shadows in the middle of the pitch.
Don't forget guys and girls, you can get in touch with me at any point tonight by using the comments box on the right or contacting me on Twitter at @charliefscott. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the game.
Zaragoza's fans are appealing for a free kick after Montanes goes down under a challenge from Alves but the referee David Fernandez tells the attacker to get to his feet. A replay shows there was very little contact in that tackle from the Brazilian full-back, so credit to the referee for waving play on.
STAT: Barcelona have had 71% of possession so far in this game and have already completed 182 passes!
HORRIBLE TACKLE FROM MOVILLA! The Zaragoza midfielder crashes into Alexis very late after Thiago had slipped a pass out to the Chile international. The referee reaches for his pocket and brings out a deserved yellow card.
Yellow Card Movilla
Great block from Adriano! Francisco Montanes tries to get a shot away at goal from 20 yards but Barcelona's centre-back throws his body in the way to stop the attacker's effort.
Xavi's arcing pass from the set piece is caught comfortably by the Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto.
And now Barca have a free kick 40 yards form goal...
Assist Alexis Sánchez
Goal Thiago Alcántara
GOALLLL!! THIAGO FINISHES OFF A BRILLIANT BARCA MOVE!! The 22-year-old sprints forward with the ball, flicks it out to Alexis, receives a pass back inside the Zaragoza box before holding off the challenge of Alvaro and slipping a fine shot past Roberto and in off the post.
A poor delivery from Sapunaru is deflected away by Bartra and Barcelona have a great chance to counter.
Thiago brings the ball out of defence for Barca after a Zaragoza attack breaks down and he moves it quickly out to Tello on the left. The Spaniard swings a ball across to Sanchez on the opposite side but he is wrongly adjudged to be in an offside position and the home side are gifted a free kick.
Alexis Sanchez's first involvement - that I've noticed anyway - is to play a pass straight to Alvaro from a promising position on the right after being found by a delicate chip from Xavi.
STAT: The visitors have been winning at both half time and full time in each of their last nine matches in all competitions against Zaragoza.
The defender attempts to curl a cross towards Postiga from the set piece but the free kick is under hit and Song is able to head the ball clear.
Marc Bartra clatters into a challenge with Rodri on the near side which results in a free kick for Jimenez's side that Alvaro will take.
The flag goes up against Postiga as he tries to meet a cross from Movilla inside the Barcelona box, and though the home side protest the linesman has got that decision spot on.
Barca start to move the ball neatly on the edge of the Zaragoza penalty area but when it is eventually switched out to Tello he is dispossessed strongly by Sapunaru.
Adriano does well to beat Postiga in the air as Zaragoza try and threaten through the middle. The striker has a few inches on Barcelona's makeshift centre-back, so the Brazil international may have his hands full this evening.
Song overhits a pass to Dani Alves on the right wing and the Brazilian is not pleased about that, he was in acres of space.
Postiga is penalised for straddling Adriano over on the right and Barcelona have a free kick just outside their own penalty area. It looked as if the Brazilian defender had handled the ball seconds before, but the referee and his official on the far side clearly missed that!
STAT: Barcelona's captain this evening, Xavi, completed all of his 96 attempted passes against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, setting a new Champions League record for most passes completed with a perfect success rate.
We've seen a sublime touch from Tello already, and now Jose Movilla has provided one from the opposite end of the spectrum. The Zaragoza midfielder tries to lift a pass over Adriano to Helder Postiga but gets far too much on it and the Portuguese striker can do nothing to stop the ball running out of play.
WHAT A TOUCH THAT IS FROM TELLO! The Barca youngster controls the ball exquisitely on the left to bamboozle Cristian Sapunaru and cut inside and get a shot away. Sadly his strike doesn't match his first touch, and the ball flies out for a goal kick.
The referee David Fernandez gets the game at La Romareda underway...
STAT: Manolo Jimenez's side find themselves in the thick of a relegation battle in La Liga as we head into the final games of the season. They would love a victory tonight, having not won in the league in 2013.
How about a quick stat before we start?
For the hosts Helder Postiga shrugs off a knock to start as a lone striker, while Apono's recent muscle injury means that he is only named as a substitute this evening.
Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba have been rested by Vilanova, while Gerard Pique, Pedro and David Villa are only on the bench. Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya make rare starts in defence while Alex Song and Thiago start alongside Xavi in midfield.
So the big news is that Lionel Messi is not involved for the visitors today! The Argentine came off the bench to inspire Barcelona to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals during the week, and the same hamstring injury that restricted his involvement on Wednesday keeps him out of this match.
Subs: Oier, Pique, Abidal, Dos Santos, Sergi Roberto, Pedro, Villa
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Adriano, Bartra, Montoya, Song, Xavi, Thiago; Alexis, Fabregas, Tello
Subs: Franco, Fernandez, Oriol, Apono, Romaric, Rochina, Orti
Zaragoza (4-5-1): Roberto; Sapunaru, Alvaro, Loovens, Paredes; Victor, Movilla, Rodri, Jose Mari, Montanes; Postiga
Stay tuned to find out who does and who doesn't make Barcelona's starting XI...
Having overcome the challenge of Paris Saint-Germain during the week to seal a place in the last four of the Champions League, Barca coach Tito Vilanova has chosen to rest some first-team players, while others are ruled out through injury.
The Catalan giants currently enjoy a 13-point lead over their rivals Real Madrid, but will look to extend that to double figures tonight, although los Blancos do also play this evening - against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
My name is Charlie Scott and I am the lucky man entrusted with guiding you through the game in Spain as it unfolds. As always you can get in touch with me at any point during proceedings tonight, by posting in the comments box to the right of this commentary, or by tweeting me at @charliefscott.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Liga clash at La Romareda between Zaragoza and the league leaders, Barcelona.
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