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First Division - Day 26

Barcelona 4 - Almería 1

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Fàbregas (Iniesta 78’); Alexis (Pedro 71’), Messi, Neymar (Tello 87’). 4-3-3.
Almería: Esteban; Rafita, Trujillo, Torsiglieri, Dubarbier; Azeez (Suso 78‘), Verza, Corona (Tébar 71‘); Jonathan Zongo, Rodri (Helder Barbosa 61’), Aleix Vidal. 4-3-3.

1-0. 09. Alexis. Turned ball back in to net after Esteban pushed out Fàbregas shot.
2-0. 24. Messi. Curled free kick over defensive wall inside keeper’s near post.
2-1. 27. Trujillo. Got between defenders to head Corona corner down past Valdés.
3-1. 83. Puyol. From close to goal after Messi header came back off crossbar.
4-1. 89. Xavi. Picked up Pedro pass on edge of area and fired shot wide of keeper.

Yellow cards: Azeez 16’, Corona 22’, Dubarbier 23’, Adriano 25’, Verza 80’, Tébar 85’.

Barcelona closed to within a point of leaders Real Madrid after they beat Almería 4-1 on Sunday evening. As usual the Catalans camped out on the edge of their opponents’ penalty box for much of the game, Esteban having to save from Dani Alves before Alexis opened the scoring when the keeper could only push out a Fàbregas shot. Messi made it two with a long free kick midway through the first half, but Valdés had to keep out a Corona free kick at the other end, and from the resulting corner Trujillo headed one back. After the interval Valdés prevented Aleix Vidal from equalizing, but Neymar went close a couple of times, and with seven minutes to go Puyol got a third for the locals after Messi’s header came back off the bar. That ended Almería’s challenge, and with a minute or so to go Xavi fired home a fourth for what in the end was a flattering result. The defeat leaves Francisco’s side just three points and one place above the drop zone.