Fresh from their fourth manita of the season, Barcelona fly East to face Viktoria Plzen this Tuesday evening in the fourth installment of Champions League Group H action. Knowing that a win will book their progress to the knockout stages provided that BATE Borisov fail to beat AC Milan, the Catalans will look to extend their run of eight clean sheets in all competitions and shore up their position atop Group H. As the first of seven matches in what is a crowded November calendar, Tuesday evening offers a perfect opportunity for Guardiola to fine tune his squad ahead of the decisive trip to the San Siro later this month.
Barca B striker Gerard Deulofeu made his senior team debut during Saturday’s 5-0 mauling of Mallorca, making him the 19th member of Barcelona’s youth squad to make debuts under Pep Guardiola. Deulofeu, still just 17, entered the match in the 63rd minute to take David Villa’s place in attack. Even more interesting: Deulofeu’s debut, on October 29, comes exactly nine years to the day after the debut of a certain Andres Iniesta, who himself tasted senior team action for the first time on October 29, 2002.
Stats: MundoDeportivo: • Image: Pep Morata [MD]
MESSI, TOTAL “PICHICHI”
Leo has scored 13 goals so far in La Liga and leads the European goal-scorers classification
He has scored three goals than Cristiano Ronaldo, who didn’t score against Real (Sociedad)
Víctor could break Reina’s record tomorrow in Champions
Alexis travels today to Prague, where he will get medical clearance to play against Viktoria
The adventures of “Tintin” Deulofeu and Isaac Cuenca
Alves and Adriano, the kings of the wings.
In a post-training press conference, FC Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita (31) discussed the 5-0 win over RCD Mallorca and the competitive midfield lineup. “We all feel important,” said the Malian. “I feel great. On this team there are many players and we all have chances to play. The most important thing is that everyone here feels important and helps the team.”
After the match against Mallorca, FC Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets sat down with Barca TV to speak about yesterday’s game at Camp Nou as well as the storm of criticism that the club and especially Lionel Messi had faced for their lacklustre performances in the last few games. As Barca were back to their usual manita winning ways, Busquets was satisfied with the result but chose to remain grounded. “It’s never easy,” he said, echoing a statement more often attributed to his manager Pep Guardiola. “We know that we’ve got people so used to winning. We know that we can’t always win 5-0. The main thing is to know what we’re doing well and what we’re not, and try and improve.”
“It’s crazy to say I was in crisis, just because I’d gone three games without scoring. I’m not interested in how many goals I can score or not – what matters is that the team won.”
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Mallorca and dismissed all doubts about his form after he had gone three games without scoring. The forward has now scored 199 goals for the club and leads the Pichichi with 13 goals.
Mallorca was one of only three teams to have avoided defeat at the Camp Nou last season, along with Deportivo and Hercules. Better luck next year. On the defensive end of the pitch, Barcelona on Saturday equaled two club records: the team has now gone for 9 home matches, and 8 official matches [home and away], without conceding a single goal.
1, 2, 3 … MESSI AGAIN
‘Hat trick’ by Leo to shut the critic’s mouths
Barça 5-0 Mallorca
Cuenca started and scored his first goal, Deulofeu debuted and Alves closed the account with a spectacular golazo
[Non Barça Related]
Real Scoiedad 0-1 Madrid
Another goal by Higuain … and very little more from Madrid
Calcio: Roma 2-3 Milan
Ibrahimovic scored two and Bojan only one
1, 2, 3, MESSI!
Barça 5-0 Mallorca
Blunt response to Leo’s ‘goal drought’: he achieved his 12th ‘hat trick’
Barça settled the match with another manita, Cuenca scored his first, and Deulofeu debuted
Leo: “It’s craziness that they talked about a crisis after three games without scoring.”
[Non Barça Related]
R. Sociedad 0-1 R. Madrid
Real deserved a tie but Higuain finished it off
Barcelona have kept their invincibility in all competitions this season with an empathic 5-0 home win over Mallorca. Lionel Messi returned to his very best and scored a hat trick in just 30 minutes. Barcelona have now scored 26 goals and conceded none in their six home league games so far. Key players like Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas and Andrés Iniesta were rested today, but, inspired by Lionel Messi, Barcelona still had no trouble beating Mallorca.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
After a 0-0 draw against Sevilla, a lackluster 1-0 win over Granada, and yet again the chorus of naysayers starting up its song, FC Barcelona came back with a vengeance to shut them up. Messi was the man of the hour (or 90 minutes, rather) when he redeemed himself and then some by scoring a hat trick in less than 30 minutes after a three game drought. More importantly, the team put up that revered manita on the scoreboard to prove, once again, that the blaugrana colors are still the best.