Barcelona celebrated the eve of Three King’s with a 4-0 win against Elche in their first match of the New Year. The evening is marked across Spain with processions with children showered in sweets before going home to receive toys and other presents brought by the kings and as a special treat many youngsters were taken by parents and grandparents to watch the match.
The match saw the return of Victor Valdes in goal after several weeks being laid low by an injury sustained in the national squad and saw Barça quickly show the visitors that they meant business as usual after the Christmas break. Goals from Alexis and Pedro saw the Catalans two goals ahead at the quarter hour mark, which remained until the break.
Back on in the second half Barça failed to extend their advantage when Xavi missed a penalty, but Alexis soon made up for that with his second of the night, set up by Iniesta and Pedro. Minutes later Alexis scored his first hat trick for FC Barcelona when he scored from a free kick just outside the area.
1-0 Alexis (min 6)
2-0 Pedro (min 15)
3-0 Alexis (min 61)
4-0 Alexis (min 67)
Barcelona’s last match of 2013 took place yesterday afternoon in Madrid, where they had travelled to play Getafe. However, with the home team scoring twice within the first quarter hour it looked for a while as if they might drop points ahead of Atletico Madrid’s evening match against Levante.
However, as the Catalans carried on working away Pedro scored one for Barcelona, then equalised and finally put Barça a goal ahead in time for the break; that was all in nine minutes. Barcelona were still playing without Messi and Valdes through injury, and Neymar was absent through suspension, but with these key players missing the remaining squad were determined to go into the holiday break heading the table still.
After the break Barcelona were clearly in control and although Getafe had a good chance at equalising 15 minutes in, Cesc effectively sealed the result when he scored from a Pedro cross. And when Pedro was brought down inside the area Cesc scored his second of the night to end the match 5-2 and with the almost certain knowledge that they would remain at the top of the table over Christmas.
1-0 Sergio Escudero (min 9)
2-0 Lisandro López (min 14)
2-1 Pedro (min 33)
2-2 Pedro (min 40)
2-3 Pedro (min 42)
2-4 Fábregas (min 67)
2-5 Fábregas (min 71)
Barcelona are through to the next round of the Copa del Rey after beating Cartagena 7-1 on aggregate. Last night’s goals came from Pedro, an own goal from Mariano and from Neymar to end the match on 3-0.
Cartagena played to defend, and with their full squad aiming to stop the Catalans from scoring it proved difficult to find space. However, Pedro finally got the ball home after 30 minutes to put Barcelona into the lead, a result that stood until the break.
The second half also started slowly, but 20 minutes the ball was deflected into the visitors’ goal from a Tello cross. With the result now pretty much settled Martino made a number of changes and in the final minutes a Jordi Alba assist helped Neymar score the third for the night.
Barça will play Getafe in the next round, the first lleg of which takes place on 8th January and the return leg the following week.
1-0 Pedro (min 30)
2-0 Mariano (min 67)
3-0 Neymar (min 87)
If anyone really believed that Barcelona had lost their mojo after the couple of recent defeats, they must have changed their mind after last night’s display against Celtic. The Catalans came on looking like they meant business and within the first few minutes, while the visitors barely touched the ball, Barcelona were clearly on the attack and it took just six minutes before Pique put Barça ahead.
Barcelona continued to dominate possession, clearly in control of the match, and it looked as if the second was only a matter of waiting. Although it is perhaps surprising that the second goal, by Pedro, came nearly half an hour later Neymar’s first of the evening a couple of minutes before the break meant Barcelona had all but sealed the result.
In the second half Barcelona continued their onslaught when Neymar scored his second of the night. And ten minutes later he made it a hat trick to put Barça 5 goals ahead, his first Champions League goals and first hat trick for Barcelona.
With Tello brought on in place of Alexis it took just a few minutes before he too scored, when his shot rebounded off the heel of a Celtic defender and into the goal. And then, in the closing minutes of the match Celtic finally came to life. Samaras has a couple of good attempts on the Barça goal and scored to leave the final score at 6-1.
1-0 Piqué (min 6)
2-0 Pedro (min 39)
3-0 Neymar (min 43)
4-0 Neymar (min 46)
5-0 Neymar (min 56)
6-0 Tello (min 70)
6-1 Samaras (min 86)
While Barcelona had already earned their place in the next round, AC Milan’s goalless draw with Ajax meant that they would have ended at the top of the table anyway. However, after the recent criticism levelled at the team this result showed firmly that they mean business. We’ll learn who Barcelona faces next on Monday, with the next round taking place in Februay.
After a couple of disappointing results against Ajax and then Athletic Bilbao, Friday saw Barcelona play their first Copa del Rey match against Cartagena from Segunda División B.
Although there was never a real chance of the hosts making a big impact against Barça, they did do enough to create a slight upset at the quarter hour mark when Fernando scored the opener. However, with the Catalans back in their stride and creating chances Pedro equalised after 35 minutes; and just a few minutes later Cesc put Barcelona in the lead.
Following the break there was plenty of opportunity for Barça, who completely overwhelmed Cartagena, but it wasn’t until nearly 30 minutes into the second half that Pedro scored his second of the night. Now comfortably in the lead, Alexis was brought off in exchange for Jean Marie Dongou, making his debut for the first team. And what a night it will be for him to remember after he put the ball into the Cartagena net off a rebound.
1-0 Fernando (min 15)
1-1 Pedro (min 35)
1-2 Fábregas (min 42)
1-3 Pedro (min 74)
1-4 Dongou (min 88)
Following the international break, and with a number of key players injured, Granada visited the Nou Camp on Saturday afternoon for a match attended by many kids thanks to the early start. Although Lionel Messi was one of those injured he showed off his latest Golden Boot, which he was awarded on Wednesday for a record third time as the highest scoring player in Europe last season. He has also been nominated again for the Player of the Year, which he has now won an incredible four times.
Despite lacking some key players, the team went all out right from the start, but despite a number of attempts on the Granada goal it was only after Cesc Fabregas was brought down in the area that allowed Iniesta to score the first from the penalty spot. Granada didn’t take that lying down though and soon were to make an attempt on the Barça goal, striking the crossbar and another attempt was stopped by reserve keeper Pinto, in place of injured Valdes. With the ball back under Barça’s control and in the Granada area, a second penalty was awarded after Iniesta was brought down. This time it was Cesc who put the ball away.
Back on after the break Pedro came close to scoring a third for the Catalans, but the ball went over the bar and soon after was brought down by Iturra; with two yellow cards, Granada was now down to 10 players. However, after making another attempt on the Barcelona goal, Neymar set up Alexis to make it 3-0. Finally, after a number of changes in the last 10 minutes, Pedro put the ball home to make it 4-0.
1-0 Iniesta (min 19)
2-0 Fábregas (min 39)
3-0 Alexis (min 70)
4-0 Pedro (min 89)
Barcelona continued their epic start to the season with another win last night against Betis. However, Leo Messi had to be replaced early on, after apparently suffering a knee injury and will undergo tests today (Monday) to discover the extent of his injury.
The early chances were created by the home side, with Victor Valdes forced to make two great saves early on in the first half, but as the Catalans settled in so came the chances. Cesc set up the opener for Neymar from Alex Song at 34 minutes, with Pedro putting Barça two goals up just a couple of minutes later.
Back on after the break Betis powered against the Barcelona goal only to hit the post, but quarter of an hour into the second half Cesc made it three; he also scored a fourth in the last quarter hour from a header. Betis’ only goal came in injury time, after Alves brought down Matilla in the penalty area, leaving the final score at 4-1 to FC Barcelona.
0-1 Neymar (min 34)
0-2 Pedro (min 36)
0-3 Fábregas (min 62)
0-4 Fábregas (min 78)
1-4 Jorge Molina (min 91)
Barcelona won their fifth match of the season on Saturday night thanks to an on form Victor Valdes, a hat trick from Pedro and a goal from Cesc. The Catalans were visiting Rayo Vallecano, who came close to going ahead early in the first half but were prevented from scoring by Valdes.
Barça also had some early chances, but were unable to capitalise on them, with Messi and Neymar threatening the host’s goal. And a disaster was narrowly averted when Montoya came close to scoring an own goal when he unexpectedly back passed to Valdes. However, the first goal finally came when Messi set up Pedro who kicked the ball home. 10 minutes later Rayo was awarded a penalty, after Adriano crashed into Trashorras, but Victor Valdes kept his head and stopped the ball.
Back on after the break Pedro scored his second of the night to give Barcelona a more comfortable advantage, after which both Messi and Neymar both came close to adding to the goal tally and it was the latter who set up Pedro for his hat trick in the 72nd minute. The final goal of the match came shortly after, when Xavi set up Cesc to make it 4-0 to Barça.
0-1 Pedro (min 32)
0-2 Pedro (min 47)
0-3 Pedro (min 72)
0-4 Fábregas (min 79)
Levante must have wondered what had hit them last night at the Nou Camp, when Barcelona ended the first half with six goals already. It must have been quite a relief in the second half for just one more to be scored, to end the match on 7-0, and a clear demonstration of how dominant Barça is likely to be this season.
Just as a reminder, this was the second home match with Tata Martino as coach – the first was the Gamper Trophy at the beginning of the month – and in those two matches his squad has scored 15 goals.
Alexis scored the first of the evening within two minutes, with Messi scoring goal number two at the 11 minute mark. However, when Dani Alves effectively sealed the victory for Barcelona after 23 minutes and Pedro making it 4 just two minutes after that.
Even at 4-0 it wasn’t over for the first half though, with Messi scoring his second and Xavi ending the first half 6-0. I can’t even imagine the moral in Levante’s dressing room during the break, but fortunately for their self esteem there was only one more goal, scored by Pedro in the 72nd minute.
Barcelona is clearly looking solid under the new manager, who has brought with him a new style of play that may well outsmart the best clubs in Europe this season. It’s early days, but there are strong indications that the 2013/14 season is going to be one to remember!
1-0 Alexis (min 2)
2-0 Messi (min 11)
3-0 Dani Alves (min 23)
4-0 Pedro (min 25)
5-0 Messi (min 41)
6-0 Xavi (min 44)
7-0 Pedro (min 72)
Barcelona played Thailand earlier today in the first match of their short Far East tour. Net mar opened the scoring, his first for his new club, with Pedro scoring a hat track and Messi scoring two. The remaining goal for Barça was scored by Alexis.
0-1 Neymar (min 11)
0-2 Messi (min 13)
0-3 Pedro (min 19)
0-4 Messi (min 25)
0-5 Pedro (min 35)
1-5 Teerasil (min 42)
1-6 Pedro (min 47)
1-7 Alexis lr (min 49)