rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Messi inspires Barca to 3-0 win at Mallorca

Messi inspires Barca to 3-0 win at Mallorca

Last updated on: February 27, 2011 10:47 IST

Lionel Messi conjured a magical headed goal to set a depleted Barcelona on their way to a 3-0 win at Real Mallorca in La Liga on Saturday that stretched their lead over Real Madrid at the top to seven points.

Barca made light of the absence through injury of playmaker Xavi, centre back Carles Puyol and goalkeeper Victor Valdes as forwards David Villa and Pedro also scored to lift the champions to 68 points from 25 matches.

Second-placed Real Madrid slipped seven points behind leaders Barcelona when they were held to a 0-0 draw at Deportivo Coruna on Saturday.

The result puts Jose Mourinho's side on 61 points from 25 matches, with Barca on 68 after Lionel Messi netted his 26th goal of the season to set the champions on their way to a 3-0 win at Real Mallorca in the earlier kickoff.
Real's expensively assembled attacking line, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, struggled to penetrate a resolute home defence at a boisterous Riazor.

The visitors laid siege to the Depor goal in the frantic latter stages and substitute Emmanuel Adebayor and Ronaldo both struck shots against the post. Benzema fluffed Real's best chance when he failed to connect with a Ronaldo centre when only a couple of metres from goal.

Mallorca coach Michael Laudrup played for Barcelona in the 1990s with the Catalan club's current coach Pep Guardiola and Barca had never beaten a La Liga team coached by the former Danish international, who also had a stint in charge at Getafe.

The teams drew 1-1 at the Nou Camp in October, one of only three matches in which Barca have dropped points this term.

MESSI HEADER

Laudrup's players made a good job of closing their opponents down in the early stages at their Estadi Iberostar before World Player of the Year Messi opened the scoring in the 38th minute.

Seydou Keita scooped the ball over the defence and Messi controlled it once with his head to take it away from the defender and, without letting it bounce, nodded it over Mallorca's Israel goalkeeper Dudu Aouate into the net.

It was the Argentina international's 26th of the season in La Liga and put him two clear of Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring chart.

Sergio Busquets split the defence to send Spain team mate Villa clear to round Aouate for Barca's second in the 57th and Pedro cut in from the left and scored with a dipping shot to make it three in the 66th.

Barcelona are now unbeaten in their last 19 away matches, equalling a La Liga record set by Basque club Real Sociedad in the 1979-80 campaign.

ERRATIC FORM

Earlier, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla missed a chance to breathe life into their European qualification hopes when they drew 2-2 at the Calderon.

The two clubs were touted as possible challengers to the domination of Barca and Real in Spain's top flight but erratic recent form had pushed them out of the European places.

Atletico twice came from behind to salvage a point at the Calderon, but the draw will do little to ease the pressure on coach Quique Sanchez Flores.

Espanyol climbed above Athletic Bilbao into fifth when they thumped visiting Real Sociedad 4-1, while strugglers Sporting Gijon and Real Zaragoza drew 0-0.

Espanyol have 40 points from 25 matches, two ahead of Bilbao who host third-placed Valencia, with 48 points, on Sunday (2000). Sevilla have 35 in seventh and Atletico 34 in eighth.

Source:
© Copyright 2013 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.