Barcelona defeated Tenerife 4-1 at Camp Nou in the Spanish Primera Liga on Tuesday evening to stretch the gap between themselves and second-placed Real Madrid to four points.
Lionel Messi opening the scoring on 17 minutes and Roman equalised for the relegation candidates six minutes before the half-time interval. However, strikes from Bojan Krkic, Pedro and Messi in the second half assured Barca of staying top of La Liga at the end of Jornada 36 whatever the result might be between Mallorca and Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Barcelona started with a 4-3-3 formation with Krkic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Messi in attack. Tenerife knew that getting even a point against the Catalans at Camp Nou would be a huge achievement and commenced with Daniel Kome as the main striker upfront.
As expected, it was Barcelona who started doing the early running. The first chance was crafted in the fourth minute when Messi sent a lovely ball into the Tenerife penalty area. Xavi reached to the ball first and carved a cross for Ibrahimovic but it was headed out for a corner by Manolo Martinez.
However, a couple of minutes later the visitors could have taken an unlikely lead when a Carles Puyol miscue gifted Kome a chance but the 29-year-old blasted the ball over the Barca crossbar.
The home side then had a chance to break the deadlock when Daniel Alves found himself inside the Tenerife penalty area with only Sergio Aragoneses to beat but the Brazilian international right-back decided to put the ball into play instead of rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home.
On the quarter of an hour mark Tenerife had a penalty appeal turned down when Gerard Pique put in a challenge on Alfaro inside the Barcelona area.
A minute later Barcelona surged ahead and again it was Messi who was on target for the Blaugrana. Alves whipped in a great cross from the right that Ibrahimovic nodded towards the Tenerife goal and Messi was the first to tap in to make it 1-0 to the defending Spanish champions.
Messi could have struck his second of the evening in the 22nd minute when he received a pass from Xavi outside the Tenerife penalty area and curled a shot with his left foot towards the far post but it went just inches wide of the target.
Barcelona started to control possession and the rhythm of the match and had a half chance a minute before the half hour mark. Bojan Krkic did a couple of stepovers and sliced a pass to Messi but it was intercepted by Roman.
Aragoneses made a great save in the 35th minute when he kept out Maxwell's drive. The Barcelona left-back had galloped down the wing, played a quick one-two with Bojan and tried to slot ball into the far corner but the Tenerife custodian poked the shot wide.
Four minutes later the visitors equalised. Puyol gave the ball away cheaply and Tenerife took advantage with Kome playing a pass to Roman, who smacked it past Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
The league leaders couldn't respond between then and the end of the first half and it finished 1-1 at the break.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola made a change at half-time when he pulled out Pique and replaced him with Pedro.
Barca soon started to dominate the visitors. Seydou Keita took an attempt from 30 yards that dipped slightly and went just inches over the Tenerife crossbar. Two minutes later Xavi sliced open the visitors' defence as he released Bojan inside the area on the left side but the youngster couldn't reach it.
Messi then almost scored in the 57th minute when he floated in a dipping free kick that threatened to go in over Aragoneses. Sixty seconds later Ibrahimovic found himself in a good position to shoot but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Jose Antonio Culebras intervened.
The visitors then came close when Roman took a low and quick shot that had Valdes scrambling to clear the ball away from danger.
A minute after the hour mark Barcelona almost surged ahead when Alves floated in a cross with three Blaugrana players eagerly waiting inside the area. But the cross was too much for anyone to get a touch on.
However, the home side did eventually go 2-1 up and the goal came in the 63rd minute. Alves sent Bojan through from outside the area and the Barcelona striker made no mistake in netting his side's second from close range.
Barcelona nearly scored their third goal of the evening when Puyol almost tapped in the ball from close range following a Barca corner. Minutes later Pedro came closing to etching his name on the score sheet when he tried his luck with a shot but it went wide.
However, the Barcelona substitute did hit the target and that was in the 77th minute. Messi was given too much space and time on the ball and the Argentine international played a pass to Pedro on the right and the 22-year-old slotted the ball into the Tenerife goal with ease.
The visitors thought that they had made it 3-2 on 79 minutes when Nino slid the ball into the Barcelona goal after meeting a cross from the right but he was flagged offside.
Thereafter the Catalans stepped up a gear and launched attack after attack. Thierry Henry came close on 83 minutes when he tried to curl the ball into the top corner while Keita's header a minute later went wide.
Barcelona scored their fourth goal of the match in injury time to wrap up an emphatic win. Alves marched down along the right and floated in a cross that Messi smartly controlled and scored from close range. It finished 4-1 to the Catalans.
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