After suffering their first league defeat of the season last weekend Barcelona were back on form at the Nou Camp on Sunday when they played host to Osasuna. Jordi Roure was again in charge while Tito Vilanova undergoes treatment for cancer.
On particular form was Leo Messi, who opened the scoring in the 10th minute. While Loe equalised in minute 23 for the visitors, it was the world’s number one player who put Barça back in front. Three minutes later Arribas received his second yellow card for handling the ball inside the area and the visitors were down to 10 men, tipping the balance of the match completely; Messi scored from the penalty spot.
Pedro scored Barcelona’s third towards the end of the first half, and after the break, with a rejigged lineup for Osasuna, Messi scored the two goals of the second half 10 minutes in and then two minutes later.
1-0 Messi (min 10)
1-1 Raoul Loe (min 23)
2-1 Messi (min 27)
3-1 Pedro (min 39)
4-1 Messi (min 55)
5-1 Messi (min 57)
Well, it had to happen eventually. Barcelona played Real Sociedad on Saturday night and came away with their first league defeat of the season.
It started as business as usually with goals from Messi and Pedro in the sixth and 24th minutes, but towards the end of the first half Castro scored the hosts’ first goal and put the score level fifteen minutes into the second half. However, the clincher for Real Sociedad came right at the end of the match when Agirretxe scored their winning goal in injury time.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Catalans went down to 10 men after Pique received his second yellow card at the hour mark.
0-1 Messi (min 6)
0-2 Pedro (min 24)
1-2 Castro (min 39)
2-2 Castro (min 61)
3-2 Agirretxe (min 90)
Barcelona were forced to accept a draw last night at the Nou Camp when they played Malaga for the second time running, this time in the Copa del Rey.
The visitors opened the scoring with a goal in the 24th minute from Iturra. Minutes later Messi equalised, immediately followed by a goal Carles Puyol to put Barça in the lead.
However, despite Malaga being a man down for the last 15 minutes after Monreal was sent off, a late goal from Ignacio Camacho ended the match a draw. The quarter final will therefore be decided next week when the Catalans visit Malaga.
0-1 Iturra (min 24)
1-1 Messi (min 28)
2-1 Puyol (min 29)
2-2 Ignacio Camacho (min 88)
Barça continued ploughing their way through the rest of the league on Sunday night when they won their eighteenth league match of he season.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 26th minute after some sloppy play by the Malaga defence and the first half ended with a single goal. However, after the break it took just five minutes for Cesc Fabregas to score.
With 18 minutes to go Cesc came off to be replaced by Thiago, who added Barcelona’s third goal of the night in the 80th minute. With the result sealed it was Malaga’s turn to score off a free kick by Buonanotte in the closing minutes to end the night 3-1 to Barça.
0-1 Messi (min 26)
0-2 Fábregas (min 48)
0-3 Thiago (min 80)
1-3 Buonanotte (min 87)
Our congratulations to Lionel Messi, who has become the first ever player to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times after being crowned the 2012 winner yesterday. What adds to the magnitude of the achievement is that those awards were won on the trot.
Messi was up against Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and team mate Andrés Iniesta, who came second and third. Last year Messi created a new record for goals scored in a calendar year, beating Gerd Müller’s long standing record, which perhaps made the choice automatic for many voters.
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)