MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 05:00:55| >> :120:17308:17308:
Mar 2, 2014 at 8pm UK at Camp Nou
Sanchez (9'), Messi (23'), Puyol (83'), Xavi (89')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Trujillo (26')

Match Analysis: Barcelona 4-1 Almeria

Sports Mole dissects the action as Barcelona record a 4-1 win over Almeria in La Liga.

Barcelona have moved one point behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid following a 4-1 win over Almeria at the Camp Nou.

The Catalan outfit took a two-goal lead inside 24 minutes courtesy of strikes from Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi, but Angel Trujillo cut the score to 2-1 moments later with a powerful header.

Barcelona dominated possession in the second 45 minutes, but had to wait until the final 10 minutes to add the scoring, with Carlos Puyol and Xavi both netting late on.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two La Liga rivals.

Match statistics

Shots: 29
On target: 11
Possession: 75%
Corners: 13
Fouls: 8

Shots: 6
On target: 3
Possession: 25%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

There is no question that Barcelona deserved to collect all three points this evening and while four goals does not flatter them, the final score is perhaps slightly harsh on Almeria, who kept the home side down to two goals until the 83rd minute. It was far from convincing from the champions up until that point, but the visitors never really offered the impression that they were capable of taking something from the match.

Barcelona's performance

The statistics point to an impressive and comprehensive Barcelona performance but in truth, that was not the case for long spells. The home side threatened to run away with it after moving 2-0 ahead, but once more poor defending cost them a clean sheet. They failed to really threaten in the second period until the latter stages, meanwhile, when they found two more goals. It was not a performance that will worry their rivals in La Liga and indeed the Champions League, but it was the result that was the most important aspect of Barcelona's work on their own patch.

Almeria's performance

Almeria showed their character to come from 2-0 behind and take a 2-1 deficit into the half-time interval. However, their lack of a serious threat in the second period was extremely disappointing. It is understandable that they did not want to open up and risk conceding a number of goals on the counter attack, but at this stage of the season, it would have been worth attempting to secure a point rather than purely accepting a narrow defeat. Their defence impressed for long periods, but it was a performance that lacked any real attacking menace.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Xavi: The Spanish midfielder capped his man-of-the-match performance this evening in the latter stages with a curling finish into the corner of the net. He might not be an automatic starter for Barcelona these days, but he remains one of the classiest players in world football. The 34-year-old's passing range was just terrific as he threaded three or four sensational balls behind the Almeria defence.

Biggest gaffe

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes had a horror moment in the first period when he attempted to claim a corner from Almeria midfielder Corona. The Spanish international got nowhere near the cross and was left in no man's land as Trujillo headed into an empty net. Puyol cannot entirely escape blame, meanwhile, with the Barcelona skipper losing his man inside the box. There is no question that there are still serious problems for the Catalan outfit from set pieces.

Referee performance

Carlos del Cerro had a big decision to make in the early stages when Almeria forward Aleix Vidal tumbled under contact from Dani Alves, but the Spanish official signalled for a free kick rather than a penalty, despite the contact seemingly continuing into the area. Aside from that incident, however, it was a fairly comfortable night for the Spaniard. He issued five yellow cards and was not seen for long periods, which is always a good sign for a referee.

What next?

Barcelona: Next up for the Catalan outfit is a trip to Real Valladolid next Saturday afternoon. Three points would move them top of the table, for 24 hours at least.

Almeria: Almeria, who remain in 17th spot in the table, will attempt to return to winning ways when they welcome European hopefuls Sevilla next Sunday.

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Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates his goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs UD Almeria at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 2, 2014
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