Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Piqué,
Milito (Pedro 54'), Maxwell; Xavi, Mascherano, Thiago (Keita 66'); Messi, Bojan
(David Villa 30'), Iniesta. 4-3-3.
Almería: Diego Alves; Michel Macedo, Marcelo Silva, Acasiete, Luna; Juanito, Bernadello; Juanma Ortíz (Feghouli 79'), Corona (Kalu Uche 56'), Crusat (Goitom 70'); Piatti. 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 50. Corona. Ran on to shoot past Pinto after Piatti set him up on breakaway.
1-1. 53. Messi (penalty). After Diego Alves brought down David Villa inside area.
2-1. 64. Thiago. Got ahead of marker to head Messi corner wide of Diego Alves.
3-1. 92. Messi. Picked up long Keita clearance and ran on past Silva to score.
Yellow cards: Bojan 16', Mascherano 18', Bernadello 44', Diego Alves 52', Juanma Ortíz 62', Villa 76'.
Barcelona beat bottom club Almería 3-1 on Saturday evening to maintain the eight point gap at the top pending the meeting between the two La Liga giants next Saturday. Guardiola's team had more problems than expected though against a side who appear to have regained some confidence under new coach Roberto Olabe, and after failing to find a way past a well ordered defence in the first 45 minutes, they fell behind early in the second half when Corona beat Ponto on a rapid counter-attack. Just three minutes later however Messi equalised from the penalty spot after Diego Alves brought down David Villa, and Pedro and Villa both missed chances before Thiago ran in to head a second from Messi's corner. Still it was not over, and the visitors kept themselves in the game until the second minute of injury time, when Marcelo Silva allowed Messi to pick up Keita's long clearance and run on to score a third.