First Division - Day 15

Albacete 1 - Barcelona 2

Albacete: Gaspercic; Oscar Montiel, Siviero, Rubén, Peña; Gaspar, David Sánchez (Iván Díaz 87'); Redondo (Francisco 72'), Pacheco, Mark González (Momo 90'); Mikel. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Damià (Messi 96'), Oleguer, Puyol, Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Márquez (Rodri 89'), Deco; Iniesta, Eto'o, Ronaldinho (Sylvinho 89'). 4-3-3.

Team changes: Albacete: Oscar Montiel, Siviero, David Sánchez, Mikel for Buades, Alvaro Rubio, Viaud, Rubén Castro / Barcelona: Damià for Belletti.

0-1. 02. Iniesta. Won ball off Peña inside area and poked shot past Gaspercic.
1-1. 73. Mark González. Glancing header from Pacheco's inswinging free kick.
1-2. 85. Xavi. First time volley after David Sánchez headed clear long throw.

Barcelona moved twelve points clear at the top of the table pending Sunday's games after beating Albacete 1-2. They needed the luck of champions to do so though, Xavi volleying home the winning goal five minutes from the end after the Manchegans had missed more than one opportunity to take the three points.

Frank Rijkaard was down to twelve fit first team players, and drafted in Damià at right back after Belletti injured himself midweek. But it was Iniesta who returned to his home town to put the visitors ahead in only the second minute of the game after Peña gave the ball away, the young midfielder refusing to celebrate the goal out of respect for the fans.

There was little goalmouth action for the rest of the first half though, Eto'o firing in a shot from a wide angle which didn't trouble Gaspercic and Márquez just failing to turn a Van Bronckhorst free kick into the net. Víctor Valdés had to be on his toes though to get to a header from close up by Rubén, and he made another important save soon after the restart from Pacheco.

By now Barça were on the back foot, and the home side finally equalised when Mark González deflected Pacheco's dangerous free kick into the net. A few minutes later it seemed they must score when Mikel poked a shot towards goal with Valdés gone awol, but Puyol stopped the ball on the line and dribbled clear of two attackers who were closing in. But with the game heading towards a draw, Xavi struck the winner to keep up the momentum at the top of the table and leave Albacete hovring near the foot of the table.