Barcelona’s first match of the New Year was marked by the Barcelona Derby, with city rivals Espanyol visiting the Nou Camp. Tito Vilanova was back in charge after the operation to remove a tumour on his salivary gland just before Christmas and his squad rewarded him well.
After Xavi opened the scoring in the ninth minute off Iniesta, but then Pedro scored two goals and finally Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013 in the 28th minute. Having reached four goals inside half an hour, the home side felt they had the game under control and eased back a little. While it looked as if they might increase their lead, Espanyol broke up the flow in the second half and Pedro, looking as if he would make his hat trick, had two goals ruled offside.
1-0 Xavi (min 9)
2-0 Pedro (min 14)
3-0 Pedro (min 26)
4-0 Messi (min 28)
Things have gone so well with FC Barcelona since Tito Vilanova took over as coach that it was inevitable that at some point something had to go wrong. Unfortunately has gone wrong is the return of Vilanova’s salivary gland cancer, requiring urgent surgery this week. He is due to undergo six weeks of chemo and radiotherapy after which he plans in returning to the job. We wish him a speedy recovery. Some good news regarding Eric Abidal, who prior to this bad news being announced was given the all clear by doctors after undergoing a liver transplant.
On Saturday night Barça played away at Valladolid with goals from Xavi, Messi and Tello, while Javi Guerra scored one for the home team. The last match of the season put Messi’s goal tally for 2012 at 91.
0-1 Xavi (min 42)
0-2 Messi (min 59)
1-2 Javi Guerra (min 89)
1-3 Tello (min 94)
For a horrible moment on Sunday night at the Nou Camp it looked as if things were going wrong, when Falcao scored at the half hour mark for Atletico Madrid, currently lying in second place in the Spanish league. However, four goals from FC Barcelona meant that the result was turned around and the gap at the top of the table opened up.
The visitors were creating all the chances at the start of the match, with the Catalans creating no real threat. However, once Falcao scored the opener the home team seemed to gain the focus required and it was just five minutes later that Adriano scored the equalizer, followed soon after by Busquets to put Barcelona in the lead.
Back on after the break Atletico had lost their early form, and as soon as Barça had the opportunity to attack they made it 3-1 thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi. However, that was not to be his last, with a goal two minutes before time, Messi’s ninetieth goal of 2012 and nine points clear of Atletico at the top of the table.
0-1 Falcao (min 30)
1-1 Adriano (min 35)
2-1 Busquets (min 44)
3-1 Messi (min 57)
4-1 Messi (min 88)
Barcelona beat Cordoba last night thanks to two more goals from Lionel Messi, who has further extended his record for the number of goals scored in a single calendar year. The result means Barça goes into the home leg of this last 16 knockout stage of the Copa del Rey, to be played at the Nou Camp on January 10th, with a clear advantage and should secure their place in the quarterfinals.
0-1 Messi (min 10)
0-2 Messi (min 73)
Lionel Messi scored the two goals required to beat Gerd Muller’s record for goals in a single calendar year. Messi has now scored 86 goals in 2012, breaking Muller’s 40 year old record, a feat that looked like it might be in doubt after his injury against Benfica on Tuesday; luckily it was not as serious as first feared and the Argentine scored both of Barça’s goals for the match.
Messi’s goals came at the quarter hour mark, and then just 10 minutes later to put the visitors 2 goals up. However, Betis were never going to make it easy for the Catalans and scored seven minutes before the break and looked like they might score again at the beginning of the second half when they came on looking to dominate.
However, neither team was to score again despite coming close and when the final whistle blew the scoreline was the same as at the end of the first half. The result leaves Barça six points ahead of Atletico at the top of the table.
0-1 Messi (min 15)
0-2 Messi (min 24)
1-2 Ruben Castro (min 38)
Barcelona’s draw againt Benfica ended in a 0-0 draw last night with a deisaster for Leo Messi when he was stretchered off with a knee injury. Despite already qualifying for the next round of Champions League, Messi came on in the second half to try and surpass Gerd Muller’s record for the most goals scored in a calendar year.
Despite Barça being full of youngsters they dominated possession early on, but Benfica had a few good chances at the Barcelona goal. While Messi was on the Catalans regained control and it looked like things might go their way. However, the injury happened in six minutes before time, a devastating blow to both Messi and FC Barcelona.
The Argentine player will reportedly miss two training sessions in order to get him back to match fitness as he lies just one goal behind Muller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year. He has four games remaining in 2012 to match or exceed the record.
Once again Barcelona showed what incredible talent they possess in a 5-1 win against Athletic Bilbao at a cold Nou Camp on Saturday. The win was the thirteenth out of fourteen matches and means that Barça have made the best start to the season by any Spanish team ever.
Gerard Pique opened the scoring, with a goal after 20 minutes, with Messi scoring just minutes later. With the Catalans attacking the Bilbao goal mouth at every opportunity it looked like they would soon score again, and just before the hald time whistle Adriano made it 3-0.
Cesc Fabregas scored Barça’s fourth in the 56th minute, with Ibai Gómez scoring the only goal for the visitors in minute 64. However, just five minutes later Leo Messi scored his second goal to make it 5-1, and came close to scoring a hat trick before the final whistle blew.
1-0 Pique (min 21)
2-0 Messi (min 24)
3-0 Adriano (min 45)
4-0 Cesc (min 56)
4-1 Ibai Gómez (min 64)
5-1 Messi (min 69)
Barcelona gained a convincing win against Levante on Sunday night, allowing them to open the lead up over Real Madrid to 11 points, after their archrival lost against Betis the previous night.
While the first half ended without a goal, just two minutes after the break saw Barça’s first from Leo Messi after being set up by Iniesta. Five minutes later the Argentine made it 2-0, once again thanks to Iniesta, who was perhaps man of the night; minutes later he put the ball into the Levante net to make it 3-0 to the Catalans, and he helped create the fourth goal for Barça, scored by Cesc Fabregas.
All in all a useful win against Levente, who went into the match in the number four spot in the league. They have now dropped to six, but even so have made leaps and bounds in the last two seasons when they were considered one of the weakest teams in the league.
0-1 Messi (min 47)
0-2 Messi (min 52)
0-3 Iniesta (min 57)
0-4 Fabregas (min 63)
A goal from Dani Alves and two from Lionel Messi in the first half ensured that FC Barcelona qualified for the next round of Champions League last night in a cold night in Moscow.
After the setback in Glasgow, the Catalans came on with a real sense of purpose. The second half saw a couple more opportunities for Barcelona but they failed to capitalise on them and while the home team mounted a comeback it was short lived and they failed to dent Barcelona’s defence.
0-1 Alves (min 15)
0-2 Messi (min 26)
0-3 Messi (min 38)
FC Barcelona won their eleventh league match of the season on Saturday night, in a game that saw the welcome return of Carles Puyol after his elbow dislocation; and with Gerard Pique back too, Barça’s defence was back up to full strength.
The Catalans stared off well, taking the lead at the quarter hour mark thanks to a goal from Leo Messi. The controlled the match completely, quickly retaking possession from Zaragoza whenever the visitors gained the ball. However, when Zaragoza did get the chance to attack the Barcelona goal they broke through and were able to equalise from the resulting corner. Five minutes later though, Alex Song scored his first goal for Barça after being set up by Messi.
While Zaragoza created some chances, after the break Barcelona once again reigned and in the 58th minute Messi scored from a Montoya cross. It was good to see Carles Puyol receive a standing ovation when he was substituted with Bartra, but the defence remained pretty much impenetrable. Cesc set Iniesta up twelve minutes from the end only for the shot to hit the post, and the score stood at 3-1 when the final whistle blew.
Out of a possible 36 points from the twelve league matches played, Barça has now taken 34, a truly remarkable record for Tito Vilanova in his debut season as coach.
1-0 Messi (min 15)
1-1 Paco Montañés (min 23)
2-1 Alex Song (min 27)
3-1 Messi (min 58)