With Real Madrid’s dramatic defeat in the Madrid derby on Saturday, all eyes were on FC Barcelona, who travelled to the Basque Country on Sunday to play Athletic Bilbao. While Barça’s fans may have hoped for their club to walk away with three points in the bag, few could have predicted they do it so dramatically.
The match started with both teams keen to score the opener and while the hosts came close, it was Messi who scored first from a free kick. The pace continued frantically in the aftermath, but again it was Barcelona who managed to capitalise on the situation when Suarez knocked the ball home from the edge of the area off a Messi assist. Despite being two goals ahead, the pace continued and both sides continued to created opportunities although they came to nothing and the Catalans went into the break 2-0 ahead.
Twelve minutes into the second half Athletic finally scored when Mikel Rico put the ball into the Barcelona net on the rebound and started a period of frenetic goal scoring. Minutes later De Marcos put the ball into his own net to open up Barcelona’s lead again and Neymar scored again two minutes after that. But two minutes later Aduriz scored a second goal for Athletic.
Any hopes that the hosts had to turn the match around though were dashed when Xabier Etxeita was shown a red card for kicking Suarez hard in the knee. When he did come back on briefly after treatment, Pedro came in in his place and soon made his mark, with the final goal of the match just minutes from the end.
0-1 Messi (min 14)
0-2 Suárez (min 25)
1-2 Mikel Rico (min 57)
1-3 De Marcos (og) (min 60)
1-4 Neymar (min 62)
2-4 Aduriz (min 64)
2-5 Pedro (min 84)
Two goals each from Messi and Neymar and one each from Pique and Pedro saw Barcelona spectacularly take apart Elche on Saturday. Despite some pressure from Elche early on that saw the hosts coming close to going ahead, Pique scored the opener after 34 minutes.
With Barcelona facing Atletico on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, Luis Enrique chose to start a number of key players on the bench and it took a while for Barça to find their rhythm, with Pique’s goal coming off a free kick by Xavi just outside the area. Going into the break though the squad must have been disappointed at being a single goal ahead.
The second half started with Elche looking renewed, but when Neymar was fouled inside the box Messi made sure to score from the penalty spot. The Catalans were helped when Fajr was given his marching orders by the ref and soon after Neymar scored Barcelona’s third, followed shortly after by the fourth; both goals were set up by Messi.
With just minutes to go for the final whistle Messi scored his second of the night to put Barça on 5. That would have been enough, but Pedro scored at the last minute off a Neymar assist to make the final score 6-0 to Barcelona.
0-1 Piqué (min 34)
0-2 Messi (min 53)
0-3 Neymar (min 67)
0-4 Neymar (min 69)
0-5 Messi (min 86)
0-6 Pedro (min 91)
After Barcelona 5-0 victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 there was little hope for Elche in their home leg last night and Luis Enrique opted to field a number of Barcelona B players in order to rest some of Barça’s big names.
It took 20 minutes for the Catalans to make their mark, with a goal from Mathieu. 20 minutes later Sergi scored a second and shortly after Pedro scored a third from the penalty spot. Three goals up and winning 8-0 on aggregate, it took the entire second half for the visitors to score the final goal of the night when Adriano headed the ball into the Elche net in injury time.
Barcelona face Atletico Madrid in the next round after they knocked Real Madrid out of the competition.
0-1 Mathieu (min 21)
0-2 Sergi (min 40)
0-3 Pedro (min 43)
0-4 Adriano (min 90)
Barcelona’s last match of 2014 took place at the Nou Camp on Saturday and despite going ahead in the first minute thanks to a goal from Pedro, for much of the match Barça looked uninspired despite their normal high possession.
After Pedro’s opener, assisted by Rakitic, there were a number of chances for the hosts but despite that the first half ended with just that single goal.
Seven minutes into the second half and Suarez put Barça further in the lead with his first league goal for the Catalans. However, it was the closing minutes of the game that the match really got going with Pique scoring 11 minutes fromn the final whistle, followed by Messi justa couple of minutes later. The final goal of the match came during injury time, when Messi scored his second of the match and FC Barcelona ended winning 5-0.
1-0 Pedro (min 1)
2-0 Suárez (min 52)
3-0 Piqué (min 79)
4-0 Messi (min 81)
5-0 Messi (min 90)
Barcelona last night firmly qualified for the last 16 of the Copa del Rey after beating Huesca 8-1 after beating them 4-0 in the first leg.
Pedro scored a hat-trick in the first half, opening the scoring nearly 20 minutes set up by Munir, with Sergi Roberto and Iniesta scoring one each to go into the break 5-0. The second half saw three more goals from Barça, scored by Adriano, Adama and Sandro, while the guest team scored one just minutes from the end.
As usual with the Copa del Rey some of Barça’s big names sat it out, but it was a good opportunity for some of the reserve players to show what they could do; Adama scored his first goal for the club, while Jordi Massip made his debut in goal.
1-0 Pedro (min 19)
2-0 Pedro (min 25)
3-0 Sergi Roberto (min 28)
4-0 Iniesta (min 38)
5-0 Pedro (min 42)
6-0 Adriano (min 66)
7-0 Adama Traoré (min 76)
8-0 Sandro Ramírez (min 81)
8-1 Gaspar Gálvez (min 84)
FC Barcelona beat RCD Espanyol 5-1 last night in the city derby that saw Lionel Messi score his third hat-trick in four matches and taking his career goal tally to more than 400.
The visitors were first to score when Sergio Garcia managed to put the ball out of the reach of Claudio Bravo. Barça were caught unaware when they looked to the ref for an apparent foul on Busquets, while Espanyol closed in on the Barça goal to score.
Stunned to go down, Barcelona was soon attacking the Espanyol goal, although not making the play count. Espanyol came close to scoring a second, only to be saved by Bravo but just as it looked as though Barça would go into the break behind, Suarez and Xavi set up the ball for Messi to put inside the post and equalize seconds before the half time whistle.
Back in after the break, it didn’t take long for Messi to put Barcelona in the lead with his second of the night and minutes later Pique made it 3-1. With a win almost assured the home side settled back a little but in the 77th minute things came together with Alba’s long pass to Pedro who scored goal number four for Barça and if the job wasn’t already done, three minutes later Messi scored his third of the night off a Pedro assist.
0-1 Sergio Garcia (min 12)
1-1 Messi (min 45)
2-1 Messi (min 49)
3-1 Pique (min 52)
4-1 Pedro (min 76)
5-1 Messi (min 80)
Andres Iniesta’s marked his return to football last night with one of four goals scored against Huesca in the Copa del Rey.
After scoring the second goal of the night, Barça went into the break three ahead, finishing off the job with a single goal 25 minutes into the second half. Iniesta had been out of action for 40 days following an injury, so good to see him back. It was hardly top flight football, with many reserve players, but a good way for him to ease back into action.
Rakitic (min 11)
Iniesta (min 15)
Pedro (min 38)
Rafinha (min 71)
Sunday saw FC Barcelona travel down to Valencia where they beat Levante in a tremendous match with plenty of goals for the Catalans.
Early on the home side looked as if they might score for themselves, but just after the half hour mark Neymar broke the deadlock to put Barça ahead. But after Messi was brought down in the box he uncharacteristically shot wide from the penalty spot, losing the chance to open the gap. However, Rakitic did that towards the end of the first half, leaving Barcelona with the clear advantage going into the break.
Back on for the second half, Neymar went down to cause a moment of panic on the Barcelona bench. Although he appeared to be uninjured, Sandro Ramírez was brought on in his place and soon made his mark felt when he scored off a Messi assist. With three goals it might have been the end of the night, but Pedro scored one more minutes later and, finally, Leo Messi scored goal number five a quarter hour from the end to leave Barça with a one hundred percent record this season.
0-1 Neymar (min 33)
0-2 Rakitic (min 43)
0-3 Sandro Ramírez (min 56)
0-4 Pedro (min 63)
0-5 Messi (min 76)
With just 10 days before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the seven players from FC Barcelona selected for the national squad headed for the USA on Monday to participate in their final training camp before the big event and play a friendly against El Salvador.
The seven Barça players picked to play for Spain are Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio, Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc and Pedro and hopes will be high that Spain can again take the title as they did so memorably in 2010 with a squad dominated by Barcelona players.
Following the US tour the squad will fly to Curitiba during the group stage of the competition.
Gerard Pique yesterday extended his contract with FC Barcelona by four years to 2019. Pique’s contract was due to run our at the end of next season but has come to an agreement with the club and will sign the new contract shortly.
At the same time Cesc Fabregas is reportedly being made available, with the club looking to see how how much they might be offered. His current valuation is around €40 million. Other players the club is open to offers for include Mascherano, Alex Song, Pedro, Alexis, Tello and Dani Alves.