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First Division - Day 30

Villarreal 0 - Barcelona 1

Villarreal: Diego López; Mario Gaspar, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Català; Cazorla, Marchena (Cani 69'), Bruno, Borja Valero; Marco Rubén (Nilmar 57'), Rossi. 4-4-2.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Piqué, Busquets, Adriano; Thiago, Mascherano, Keita (Messi 53'); Iniesta, David Villa (Bojan 70'), Afellay (Jonathan Dos Santos 83'). 4-3-3.

0-1. 66. Piqué. Beat keeper from close up after Busquets headed on Alves corner.

Yellow cards: Bruno 14', Piqué 39', Marchena 49', Dani Alves 54', Valdés 92', Busquets 93'.

Barcelona beat third placed Villarreal 0-1 in the last match on Saturday evening to extend the gap at the top over second placed Real Madrid to eight points. With Puyol and Pedro injured, Xavi suspended and Messi carrying a knock, Guardiola was forced to put out a weakened line-up, and only a couple of magnificent saves from Víctor Valdés prevented Rossi from opening the scoring early on. Barça's first effort at goal didn't come until shortly before half time, when Diego López comfortably collected Adriano's long shot, and a quick tackle by Català prevented Villa scoring just before the interval.

The visitors picked up the pace after the restart though, Diego doing well to save from Iniesta and Afellay, and Thiago and Villa going close. And midway through the second half Piqué finally beat the keeper from near to goal after Busquets headed on a corner, the referee giving the defender the benefit of the doubt for a possible hand ball as he controlled the pass on his chest.

By that time Messi (who had been rested at the start) was on the park, and only a full stretch save from Diego stopped him scoring from a well struck free kick. But in the end it was Valdés who made sure of the three points for his team with the save of the night, getting a foot to Cazorla's shot to deflect it over the bar. It could be enough to give them a third league title in a row.