Home » La Liga, Latest » Match Report: Barcelona 3 Almeria 1

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona survived a scare to come from behind and beat bottom club Almeria at the Camp Nou and preserve their eight-point lead over fierce rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division table.

Barca had seen Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 at San Mames earlier in the day but found it surprisingly difficult to break down an Almeria side playing their first game under new coach Roberto Olade.

Corona gave the visitors a shock lead after 49 minutes following a goalless first half, but Messi – who had hit the post just before the interval – equalised from the spot virtually straight away and youngster Thiago Alcantara gave the Catalans the lead before the Argentina forward added a late third to secure a vital win ahead of next weekend’s important trip to the Bernabeu.

Barca face Madrid in that match and then in the final of the Copa del Rey four days later in Valencia, with a possible double-header to come in the Champions League semi-finals on the horizon as well.

Andres Iniesta, Messi and Thiago, in for a rare start in midfield, were all off target in the opening half an hour as the home side dominated.

And Messi came closest of all just before the break, when he fired a shot against the post.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola was missing keeper Victor Valdes , who was suspended, but Jose Manuel Pinto shook off a knock to stand in.

Bojan Krkic also started up front in place of David Villa, but the young striker suffered a cruciate ligament injury and could be out for up to two months. He was replaced by the Spain forward after half an hour and three minutes into the second half, the former Valencia man hit the post.

That looked to be another warning for Almeria, but against all expectations, the visitors took the lead a minute later.

Pablo Piatti escaped down the right flank and poor marking from Barca allowed the Argentinian to square for the unmarked Corona to slide past Pinto from close range.

Two minutes later, though, Almeria keeper Diego Alves upended Villa and Messi converted from the spot to make it 1-1.

Barca continued to press after that and Thiago glanced home a header from Messi’s corner to give the Catalans the lead just after the hour mark.

And indecision from Marcelo Silva on the edge of the area then let in Messi, who beat Alves to make it 3-1 in added time and send Barca eight points clear of Madrid once again.

With his two goals, Messi also drew level with his total of 47 from last season in all competitions, and one more will see the Argentina forward break the record of goals in a single term which he currently shares with former Brazil forward Ronaldo.

Source: ESPN

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