Barcelona 4-0 Racing Santander: Vintage Barca Back To Winning Ways

The Blaugrana marked Pep Guardiola's 100th official game in charge with a confident victory over los Racinguistas.

Barcelona coasted to victory against Racing Santander in the Camp Nou to restore their five point lead at the top of the Primera Division table. Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez all scored in the first half, while Thiago added to the scoreline late on.

Bojan Krkic was given a rare start up front for the hosts, but it was a mainstay of the side who opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

A simple long ball into the box from Rafael Marquez was completely misjudged by Jose Crespo and Iniesta was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and turn it past Fabio Coltorti. It was his first goal of the season in his 300th game for the club.

Coltorti then pulled off a fine one-handed save from Lionel Messi after the Argentine had exchanged passes with Sergio Busquets on the edge of the box as the Blaugrana looked to establish a healthy early advantage.

Midway through the first half the 'keeper was called into action again, this time at his near post. Bojan skipped past a challenge on the edge of the area and fired a shot at goal from a narrow angle, but Coltorti turned it behind.

Racing's attacking threat was all too rare, but Victor Valdes was still alert to claim the ball well when Xisco headed Papa Diop's free kick back across goal.

The lead was doubled just before the half hour mark after Busquets won a free kick on the edge of the area. Henry stepped up and his effort went through the defensive wall into the corner, with Coltorti powerless to prevent it from going in.

Toni Moral was booked for a clear handball to provide Barcelona with another free kick in a dangerous position, and they took advantage of it. This time it was Marquez who curled a free kick over the wall and in off the post. It was 3-0, and los Verdiblancos were yet to register a shot in anger.

The visitors should have scored moments later, however. Valdes spilled a cross at the feet of Sergio Canales and the youngster's shot was goal-bound, but the offside Xisco poked the ball into the net himself. The on-loan striker should have connected with a Canales free kick just before half time but failed to make any contact with his close-range header.

There were no changes at the break, and the second half began in the same fashion as the first had ended with Barcelona looking comfortable. The visitors were clearly frustrated, evidenced by Oriol's reaction after tumbling over Henry's outstretched leg in the Racing penalty area.

With one goal to his name, Iniesta was on the lookout for a second. On the hour mark, a ball broke free on the edge of the box and Iniesta was quick to fire a shot at goal, but it was easy for Coltorti to save.

Despite the hosts' dominance in possession, they were not creating many clear-cut openings. Pep Guardiola decided to take off Carles Puyol after the captain suffered a clash of heads in the penalty area, although the substitution was more precautionary than anything.

Gerard Pique nearly added a fourth as he collected a cross in the six-yard box but the ball was snatched away from him before he could pull the trigger on the volley. Coltorti was called into action when Messi cut inside from the right flank and unleashed a shot with his left foot, but the Swiss shot-stopper beat the ball away.

In the 84th minute, Barcelona finally scored their fourth. Messi cut the ball back from the byline for substitute Thiago to sidefoot home via a deflection for his first senior goal.

It was a perfect end to Guardiola's 100th official game in charge of the Blaugrana as his side recorded their 71st win under his stewardship to extend their lead at the top of the table.

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