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Spanish Primera BBVA

Camp Nou (ATT 58,930) 2nd March 2014 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: Carlos Del Cerro Grande

Barcelona Barcelona vs Almeria Almeria

Barcelona 4

A Sanchez (9)
L Messi (24)
C Puyol (83)
Xavi (89)

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Almeria 1

A Trujillo (27)

Sky Sports 1 HD

Barcelona cruise past Almeria

Last Updated: 02/03/14 10:21pm

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Neymar on the charge against Almeria

Neymar on the charge against Almeria

Barcelona closed to within a point of Primera Division leaders Real Madrid after an emphatic, if not always totally convincing, 4-1 victory over Almeria at the Nou Camp.

After Real and city rivals Atletico Madrid had played out a 2-2 draw earlier in the day, Sunday's late contest afforded Barcelona the chance to get right back in the title mix after their costly defeat at Real Sociedad last weekend.

Alexis Sanchez set the hosts on their way in the 10th minute before a superb Lionel Messi free-kick made it 2-0 inside 25 minutes.

A moment's sloppiness in the Barca backline allowed Angel Trujillo to pull one back for Almeria and at 2-1 Barca endured more than one or two nervy moments as the visitors probed for a leveller.

It took until the 83rd minute for Barcelona to finally put the contest to bed, Carles Puyol following up with a smart finish after Messi's header had come back off the bar, while there was still time for Xavi to inflate the scoreline further with a sumptuous fourth.

The hosts looked threatening from kick-off, with Dani Alves in particular proving a nuisance with a couple of dangerous forays into the Almeria box.

Gerardo Martino's men soon turned their early threat into the opener when Neymar picked out Cesc Fabregas in the area, the former Arsenal man shifting the ball inside and firing in a low drive that Esteban could only parry, allowing Sanchez a simple finish.

Barca maintain their stranglehold on the match without seriously threatening the Almeria goal a second time, but that changed in the 24th minute when Corona brought down Messi 25 yards from goal.

The Argentina international unsurprisingly picked himself up to take the set-piece and did not disappoint an expectant Nou Camp with what came next, the prolific forward firing home a wonderful effort that began off-target before curling wickedly into the top-left corner of Esteban's goal.

The hosts were good value for their lead and looked set to dominate from that point, but just three minutes later some slack defending and poor goalkeeping from Victor Valdes gifted Almeria a lifeline.

Corona's corner should have been dealt with by the Barca backline but when Valdes dithered his defenders did likewise and Trujillo capitalised with a headed finish.

Barca remained the dominant force in the contest en route to racking up 27 attempts on goal, yet they looked vulnerable on the occasions Almeria did mount an attack, with last weekend's 3-1 loss at Sociedad no doubt playing on their minds.

It was therefore crucial for the hosts to add a third, and they duly did so seven minutes from the end when Messi climbed to meet a corner with a firm header than came down off the crossbar, where the waiting Puyol was on hand to turn the ball in.

And in the final minute the Catalans had their fourth, another member of the Barca old guard in Xavi curling home wonderfully from 20 yards.

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Matches

Table

Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Barcelona 33 81
2 Real Madrid 32 76
3 Atletico Madrid 33 72
4 Valencia 32 65
5 Sevilla 32 63
6 Villarreal 33 53
7 Malaga 32 46
8 Athletic Bilbao 33 46
9 Celta Vigo 32 42
10 Espanyol 33 42
11 Rayo Vallecano 32 41
12 Real Sociedad 33 39
13 Getafe 33 36
14 Elche 33 34
15 Levante 33 32
16 Eibar 32 31
17 Almeria 32 28
18 Deportivo La Coruna 32 28
19 Granada 32 25
20 Cordoba 33 20