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match report



image credit: ESPNsoccernet, Yahoo!Eurosport, EMD, AP, AFP/Getty, Reuters







(source) Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona moved back to the top of the Primera Division with a resounding 4-1 victory at Racing Santander.

Pep Guardiola's side stormed into a three-goal lead in a devastating spell midway through the first half.

Summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring after 20 minutes, and has now scored in all of Barca's four league games this season.

Messi added a second goal four minutes later, before Gerard Pique made it 3-0 with less than half an hour gone.

Messi completed his double with a stunning strike just after the hour, in what was the Argentina winger's last contribution before being replaced by Andres Iniesta.

Oscar Serrano then pulled a goal back for Racing with a fine solo effort.

But there was never any hint of a comeback and Barcelona sent out a new statement of intent by returning to the top of the table ahead of fierce rivals Real Madrid's game at Villarreal on Wednesday night.

Barcelona produced a sumptuous exhibition of attacking football to thrash Atletico Madrid 5-2 at the Nou Camp on Saturday night and seal a third successive league win in a row.

But Guardiola surprisingly claimed afterwards that his side had not been in control of that match and asked his players for more ahead of this encounter.

They threatened from the outset in this game and the first real opportunity came after eight minutes, when Ibrahimovic teed up Messi, but the Argentina forward hesitated instead of shooting first time and the chance was lost.

Then, after 20 minutes, the two combined again to give Barca the lead, when Messi picked out Ibrahimovic and the Sweden striker headed in off the post to score his fourth goal in as many league games.

And a minute later, the former Inter Milan man almost scored again, this time crashing a right-footed drive against the post after another pass from Messi.

The Catalans did not have long to wait for their second goal of the night, though, as Messi received the ball from Xavi on the edge of the box following a neat passing move, sidestepped his marker and drove a precise left-footed, angled shot into the far corner.

It was a difficult finish made to look easy.

Centre-back Pique effectively made the points safe when he was left all alone in the penalty area and calmly finished past exposed goalkeeper Tono after he was set up by Ibrahimovic's exquisite backheel.

Even Guardiola must have agreed that his side were in control.

And already three goals to the good, the Catalans did take their foot off the gas somewhat after that.

But they continued to look dangerous in every attack and Messi put the game well out of the home side's reach after 63 minutes, when he scored his trademark goal, cutting in from the right flank, running across the edge of the penalty area and lashing a left-footed drive into the net.

Serrano then bagged a fine solo effort after that, when he nutmegged Rafa Marquez and blasted a thunderous left-footed drive in off the post.

Barca missed further chances late on and had two decent penalty appeals turned away.

But it mattered little as they secured a fourth straight win in some style to throw down the gauntlet to Real Madrid.



















This game marked Márquez's 150th appearance in La Liga.







Post-match comments:
Google translated.

Pep: "We have been a serious team who played with a lot of sense. We played so simple that we could build this game. We can say that we have recovered what we did last year. We had control of the game. We played very simple, passing on the ball with great superiority inside, generating a lot of game."

"This time we wanted to create chances, but with an order."

"I am convinced that this is a team that is fine. The fact is that today we have gone very well from the back and we created a lot of game inside, some aspects of things that hinder any team. They have tried and have run a lot."

[about Ibra] "We hope that will gradually improve. He is a player of great quality. This has only just begun, and most importantly is that it is fine."


Piqué: "The team will again hope to keep winning."

"We started well. We knew that the Super were important.

"It looks like Barca and Real Madrid play at another level."

"Check with Barca's always looking forward."

"There were discussions with Zlatan, if you surrender or not. Ibra is Ibra."


Xavi: "We're happy. The marker is quickly put us ahead. It was a good match of ours."

"It's a credit to the work of the team, leaving motivated and hungry."

"We've been mentally better with the ball. We've enjoyed and have sought the high office to win the game."


Zlatan: "I do not know yet if I can play in Malaga. I think I'm OK, maybe I need some treatment. I am calm."

"The team is playing very well. I am very happy and want to continue improving."

"All the players are good at Barca."

"It is not easy. In the field doing our job and we have to be concentrated in order not to potential competitors."

"I am happy because my teammates help me a lot. I'm getting a lot better, playing better."

"Pique was very good (in the action of 0-3, when Zlatan has seen from behind).


Alves: "We recovered the tone at the start maybe we were not. Every time we are better. It is our goal. "

"We've done a great match."

"We moved the ball and created more often. And scoring goals, that is most important. The people upstairs have done very well."

"To be the best in the world we have to make a difference. We are waiting to be given the award for best player."



Injury news!

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic left Santander with another goal to his personal tally but also with a grade 1-2 ankle sprain, as confirmed by club doctors after the match.

Ibrahimovic suffered the injury right at the start of the second half in an innocent looking challenge on Henrique. He put his right foot down awkwardly and fell over. He was immediately checked out by doctors and then returned to the pitch. However, he was replaced by Pedro a few minutes later."









Arriving in Santander

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The match. In no particular order.

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omg luis! :D


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Comments

( 11 comments — Speak )
c0rrine
Sep. 23rd, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
LMAO AT HOW U ENDED THE POST

here is my weekly gif contribution









no one bothered to take pics of bloody pique wtf

and i really want henry to score.. i feel like our team as a whole won't be 100% until he starts getting his goals!

i really like how many assists ibra is getting
gaueko_izar
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
I missed the second half because I was in class (having class at 4 pm SUCKS) so I missed Messi's goal.

THAT IS BEAUTIFUL. :O
c0rrine
Sep. 23rd, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
that sucks to only be able to watch one half of a game aha!
gaueko_izar
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
It does. I either have to miss the first half or the second half depending...it happened last year too during CL matches. x____x

Boo time difference.
c0rrine
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
it's better to miss the first half! it sucks not knowing how a game finishes

but i've learned to use text/twitter updates :P
gaueko_izar
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
Oh definitely. If I didn't have Twitter updates sent directly to my phone yesterday I would have gone insane until I got back to my dorm. Yuck.
loveliestmofo
Sep. 23rd, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
Rafa gif, yay! I'm glad he's back, even with the dodgy defending.
c0rrine
Sep. 23rd, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
yep! i'll always be a tiny bit biased when it comes to this guy, i always let him off to easy :P
allineediskimi
Sep. 26th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
yeah! no one care about that. but when Piqué take a photo of Cesc WITH HIS MOBILE (SINCE THEY R BFF) everyone were screwing up ¬¬"
lobbo
Sep. 23rd, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
that was a beautifull match! yes, i want Henry to score toooooooooooooo
onsafety
Sep. 23rd, 2009 08:30 am (UTC)
didn't even notice luis until i read your "omg luis" and then squeed like mad and still am. omg luis. :3

( 11 comments — Speak )

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