First Division - Day 18

Mallorca 0 - Barcelona 2

Mallorca: Lux; Varela, Nunes, David Navarro, Fernando Navarro; Pereyra, Basinas (Trejo 70'); Jonás Gutiérrez, Ibagaza (Borja Valero 78), Arango; Güiza (Víctor 48'). 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol, Márquez, Milito, Abidal; Xavi, Touré Yayá (Edmilson 68'), Gudjohnsen (Bojan 46'); Giovani (Henry 63'), Eto'o, Iniesta. 4-3-3.

Team changes: Mallorca: Varela, Nunes, Basinas for Héctor, Ballesteros, Borja Valero / Barça: Gudjohnsen, Giovani for Deco, Ronaldinho.

0-1. 62. Márquez. Near post header across keeper from Xavi's corner.
0-2. 92. Eto'o. Fired shot past Lux after Bojan and Henry set him up.

La Liga returned this weekend after the two week winter break, with second placed Barcelona kicking things off at Mallorca with a 0-2 win. With Ronaldinho and Messi injured and Henry still not 100% match fit, Rijkaard lined up with Giovani in the front three. Manzano put out his usual formation, Güiza hoping to repeat the good form against the Blaugrana he showed whilst still at Getafe.

The first chance of the match fell to the locals, Güiza firing an angled shot just wide of the far post. Iniesta shot wide at the other end and Márquez headed weakly into the hands of Lux. Valdés was tested for the first time by an Arango free kick, and the Xavi fired a shot over the bar after Giovani and Eto'o had won the ball down by the corner flag.

Rijkaard brought on Bojan for Gudjohnsen at the break and Manzano replaced a limping Güiza with Víctor a couple of minutes later. Jonás led a couple of good attacks for the home side, but soon afterwards Barça won a corner, and Márquez lost his marker to steer an angled header down past the keeper.

Víctor had a penalty appeal turned down after he was felled by Puyol, and Edmilson came on for his first league appearance of the season, a timely return as Touré is off to the Africa Cup this week. The Ivory Coast midfielder did manage to pick up a fifth booking beforehand though, meaning he will serve out a one match ban whilst away.

Thierry Henry proved that he is nearing his top form when he had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside, and then brought a good save out of Lux. Valdés did well to keep out Varela at the other end, and with the game already in injury time Bojan and Henry combined to lay the ball on for Eto'o to score his side's second. It was not the greatest of wins, but as Eto'o had said earlier in the week, right now they need to win however they do it.