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The wizard was on form, and so were his club...


Barcelona stunned Tenerife with a triple salvo just before the interval, and two more in the second period, to scoop a comprehensive victory and thus re-take pole position in La Liga.

Real Madrid had earlier in the evening grabbed top spot with a convincing win over Mallorca, but the Blaugrana overcame a difficult start at the Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez to run out leaders both on the night and in the table.

Lionel Messi provided two of the three first half goals, and another late on, on what was a banner evening for the young Argentine, who held the attack line brilliantly on an evening that saw Barcelona bereft of two of their African midfield stars.

Tenerife, meanwhile, were able to field star forward Nino along with Ayoze Garcia, the latter overcoming stomach flu and the former shaking off injury.

This late boost in team news gave the hosts confidence in the early stages, and in fact any observer would have felt that the islanders were on course for a shock victory.

Just five minutes in, Nino teed up Alfaro for a long-range effort after some poor Barcelona play, but the midfielder could only watch as his effort hit the post.

Luna and Alfaro then came close, the latter testing Victor Valdes, before Barcelona could even get a look-in.

While the chances were coming in and around the box, the culprits appeared to be in Barca's midfield, where Sergi Busquets was looking particularly vulnerable in the early stages.

However, ten minutes before the break Barca had taken the lead in what was surely a lesson to Tenerife in taking chances. Young Bojan was the architect, cruising down the left before cutting it back for a simple Lionel Messi finish.

Eight minutes later Lionel Messi whipped a free kick into the box off a Daniel Kome foul, and captain Carles Puyol was able to head it home for 2-0.

Still dazed and winded, Tenerife then succumbed to the deadly third strike. It was again Messi, and again Bojan set it up, this time with another square ball after a fine counter-attack, enabled by the vision of Andres Iniesta.

Barcelona were well and truly in control heading into the second period, the midfield having regained its confidence, and the only wonder was that there was such a long wait for another goal.

Fifteen minutes from time Bojan once again showed his worth by keeping the ball alive in the box and cutting back for Lionel Messi to score the finest goal of the evening, an audacious lob that left Sergio Aragoneses stranded.

That wasn't all: the fifth came five minutes from time, Luna guiding the ball into his own net following great play from Thierry Henry and Tenerife native Pedro.

Thus after the most disappointing of starts Barca were able to assert their dominance on all areas of the pitch, and regain top spot. The message from Pep Guardiola's men to Madrid seems to be, whatever you can do, we can do better...

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