First Division - Day 34

Barcelona 3 - Xerez 1

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Puyol, Chygrynskiy, Márquez (Piqué 52'), Maxwell; Xavi, Touré Yaya, Keita; Jeffren (Messi 52'), Ibrahimovic, Henry. 4-3-3.
Xerez: Renan; Francis, Gioda, David Prieto, Aythami (Carlos Calvo 46'), Casado; Orellana, Víctor Sánchez, Keita (Moreno 61'), Armenteros (Alustiza 78'); Mario Bermejo. 5-4-1.

1-0. 14. Jeffren. Took Xavi pass and rounded Casado to score from tight angle.
2-0. 24. Henry. Played ball in to empty net after Ibrahimovic passed across.
2-1. 25. Bermejo. Ran on to Orellana pass to smash shot in to top corner of net.
3-1. 55. Ibrahimovic. Got on end of Touré Yaya cross to turn shot past Renan.

Yellow cards: Aythami 15', Víctor Sánchez 27', Casado 66', Orellana 71', 93', Bojan 77', Renan 82', Moreno 87', Calvo 90' / red cards: Alustiza 89', Orellana 93'.

Barcelona kicked off the weekend with a 3-1 win over bottom club Xerez, throwing down the gauntlet once again to rivals Real Madrid. With one eye on next Wednesday's Champions League game, Guardiola made several changes to his line up, with Messi on the bench after playing several matches in a row. Even so, by the middle of the first half they were already two up, Jeffren recovering well to round Casado and beat Renan from a wide angle, and Henry scoring the easiest of goals after Keita and Ibrahimovic combined to set him up.

A minute later however Mario Bermejo blasted one back for the visitors after Chygrynskiy gave the ball away, and in the first five minutes of the second half Gioda, Armenteros and Bermejo could all have equalised. Guardiola had to bring on Messi and Piqué to steady the ship, and soon afterwards Ibrahimovic put the fans' minds at rest with a third goal from Touré Yaya's cross. Xerez's frustrations spilled over in the end, Alustiza and Orellana both getting sent off in the last couple of minutes.