First Division - Day 7

Barcelona 6 - Alavés 1

Barcelona: Bonano; Puyol, De Boer, Fernando Navarro (Gerard 73'); Mendieta, Xavi, Cocu (Rochemback 71'), Gabri; Saviola, Luis Enrique (Riquelme 46'); Kluivert. 3-4-2-1.
Alavés: Dutruel; Edu Alonso, Abelardo, Téllez, Llorens; Astudillo, Luis Helguera; Ilie (Karmona 46'), Jordi Cruyff, Ibon Begoña (Turiel 66'); Iván Alonso (Rubén Navarro 46'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Barcelona: Bonano for Víctor Valdés / Alavés: Luis Helguera, Ilie, Jordi Cruyff for Desio, Pablo, Magno.

1-0. 15. Kluivert. Dribbled through centre of defence and forced shot past Dutruel.
2-0. 27. Kluivert. Dived backwards on near post to head Xavi corner into net.
3-0. 34. Mendieta (penalty). After Luis Enrique pushed over by Abelardo.
4-0. 40. Luis Enrique. Took return pass from Saviola and hit shot past keeper.
4-1. 54. Ibon Begoña. Volleyed back into net after De Boer failed to head clear.
5-1. 65. Xavi. Received square pass from Saviola and shot into top corner.
6-1. 79. Kluivert. Ran on to Riquelme through ball to shoot low past Dutruel.

Barcelona bounced back after a recent bad run to thrash Alavés 6-1. The hero of the night was Patrick Kluivert, who scored twice in the first half hour of the game and finished off his hat-trick near the end. The Dutch striker's first came when he tried to find Saviola with a pass, and although the defence managed to block the through ball, Kluivert collected the rebound and ran on to force the ball past Dutruel. Then a few minutes later he met a Xavi corner on the near post to angle a spectacular header past the keeper.

Up to that point Alavés had scarcely set foot in the Barcelona half, and they could have been further behind if Llorens had not cleared off the line from Xavi. The visitors had lined up with three former Barcelona players in their line up, Dutruel, Jordi Cruyff and Abelardo, who was applauded by a large section of the crowd at the start of the match. However the defender was not having his best night, and ten minutes before the break he gave away a penalty with a clumsy challenge on Luis Enrique, allowing Mendieta to score his first league goal for his new club from the resulting spot kick.

Before the referee blew for half time, Luis Enrique scored a fourth goal after a quiick passing move with Kluivert and Saviola. The game was safe, and Van Gaal decided to bring on Riquelme at the break, resting his captain who was only just returning after an injury. Immediately after the restart Dutruel was called upon to save a Frank De Boer free kick, but a few minutes later the Dutch defender gave the ball away to Ibon Begoña who fired a shot straight back past Bonano, who had taken over from Víctor in the Barcelona goal.

That was only a brief respite for Alavés though, and after Dutruel saved twice from Saviola, Xavi made it five with a shot into the top corner of the net. Ten minutes from the end Riquelme got in on the act, slipping a ball through for Kluivert to complete his hat-trick. Jordi Cruyff hit the post for the visitors in the dying minutes, but by then most of the fans had started to make their way home, happy that their side were back on track. Alavés drop dangerously close to the relegation zone, and could be in the bottom three after Sunday's games. With a UEFA cup match against Besiktas to come on Thursday though, they have to put that behind them. They don't have time for sympathy.