Spanish La Liga
Barcelona4Almería1

Barcelona 4-1 Almeria

Barcelona's Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi scored a sublime goal as Barcelona overcame lowly Almeria to reclaim second spot in La Liga and move one point behind leaders Real Madrid.

Messi scored with a delightful curling 25-yard free-kick to make it 2-0 after Alexis Sanchez had opened the scoring.

But Barca's recent defensive problems again surfaced when Angel Trujillo took advantage of poor marking to score.

Carles Puyol's made it 3-1 after Messi's header came back off the bar before Xavi thumped home the fourth.

The result marked a return to winning ways for Gerardo Martino's reigning champions after a surprise 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad allowed Real Madrid to open up a three-point lead at the summit.

But with the Madrid derby having ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw, Barca have reduced Real's lead to a single point with 12 matches remaining.

Barcelona's Neymar
Neymar was the most wasteful as Barcelona struggled to finish off Almeria before their late flourish.

They could have won by an even more handsome margin in what was a one-sided contest.

After establishing a 2-0 lead in the opening 24 minutes, they wasted a string of chances before turning on the style in the closing stages to score two goals in six minutes.

A team with more quality than Almeria, who are fighting to avoid relegation, might have made the reigning champions pay for their careless finishing.

In truth, Barcelona never looked in danger of throwing away their lead even when Trujillo scored.

There were nine minutes on the clock when Barca took the lead, Sanchez netting his 16th league goal after Cesc Fabregas's low shot was parried into his path by keeper Esteban.

It was 2-0 in the 24th minute thanks to a delicious free-kick from Messi, the Argentina international finding the target with a well-executed 25-yard set-piece.

Yet Barca's defensive wobbles allowed Almeria back into the game.

Having conceded three against Sociedad in the last game, Trujillo was left unmarked to head home from a corner.

Neymar wasted two glorious chances to put the game out of Almeria's reach before defender Puyol scored his first league goal of the season after Messi's header had cannoned off the bar.

Almeria conceded another when Xavi lashed home from 22 yards as Barca scored four goals or more in a league game for the 11th time this season.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1Valdés
  • 22Dani Alves
  • 21AdrianoBooked at 25mins
  • 16Busquets
  • 5Puyol
  • 14Mascherano
  • 6Xavi
  • 4FábregasSubstituted forIniestaat 79'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9SánchezSubstituted forPedroat 72'minutes
  • 11NeymarSubstituted forTelloat 88'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Pedro
  • 8Iniesta
  • 15Bartra
  • 17Song
  • 18Alba
  • 20Tello
  • 25Olazábal Paredes

Almería

  • 1Andrés Suárez
  • 20Ramos Lozano
  • 16Dubarbier
  • 7García RabascoBooked at 81mins
  • 5Trujillo
  • 2Torsiglieri
  • 31AzeezBooked at 17minsSubstituted forFernández Saezat 79'minutes
  • 15García Pérez-RoldánBooked at 23minsSubstituted forTébarat 72'minutesBooked at 86mins
  • 10Ríos LozanoSubstituted forRodrigues Barbosaat 62'minutes
  • 19Sundy Zongo
  • 8Vidal Parreu

Substitutes

  • 4Martínez
  • 6Tébar
  • 9Díaz González
  • 11Rodrigues Barbosa
  • 17Fernández Saez
  • 21Jiménez Ortiz
  • 25Cuesta Díaz
Referee:
Carlos del Cerro Grande
Attendance:
58,930

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAlmería
Possession
Home75%
Away25%
Shots
Home29
Away6
Shots on Target
Home11
Away3
Corners
Home13
Away4
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 4, Almería 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 4, Almería 1.
Attempt saved. Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi.
Attempt missed. Cristian Tello (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Pedro (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Suso (Almería).
Attempt blocked. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.
Pedro (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rafita (Almería).

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 4, Almería 1. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Pedro.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Cristian Tello replaces Neymar.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Sebastián Dubarbier.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Marcos Tébar (Almería) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marcos Tébar (Almería).

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 3, Almería 1. Carles Puyol (Barcelona) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal following a corner.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Xavi with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Verza.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Xavi with a cross.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Esteban.
Attempt saved. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Xavi.

Booking

Verza (Almería) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Verza (Almería).
Corner, Almería. Conceded by Adriano.

Substitution

Substitution, Almería. Suso replaces Ramón Azeez.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Andrés Iniesta replaces Francesc Fábregas.
Dani Alves (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sebastián Dubarbier (Almería).
Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).
Aleix Vidal (Almería) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Rafita.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Ramón Azeez.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Pedro replaces Alexis Sánchez.
Offside, Barcelona. Dani Alves tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Almería. Marcos Tébar replaces Corona.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Rafita.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Francesc Fábregas.
Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).
Jonathan (Almería) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Francesc Fábregas.
Attempt missed. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lionel Messi.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Aleix Vidal.
Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Sebastián Dubarbier.
Attempt saved. Aleix Vidal (Almería) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Almería. Hélder Barbosa replaces Rodri.
Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).
Rodri (Almería) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt blocked. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Xavi.
Attempt saved. Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.
Adriano (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Aleix Vidal (Almería).
Attempt saved. Neymar (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Xavi.

Second Half

Second Half begins Barcelona 2, Almería 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, Barcelona 2, Almería 1.
Attempt missed. Ramón Azeez (Almería) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aleix Vidal.
Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross following a fast break.
Foul by Xavi (Barcelona).
Rodri (Almería) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Ramón Azeez (Almería) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
goal

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