Leo Messi destroys Mallorca with a hat-trick in the first half-hour of the game
Barça was the superior side, adding two fantastic goals from Cuenca and Alves
1-0 Messi (p) (min 13)
2-0 Messi (min 21)
3-0 Messi (min 30)
4-0 Cuenca min 49)
5-0 Alves (min 91)
Doubting Messi comes with a high price. After three games without finding the back of the net, the two time Ballon D’or winner, silenced his critics by netting a sensational hat-trick before the half-hour mark.
The Argentinian was once again the of tip spear in the Catalan offense, as the home team set out from the start to ensure that the three points stayed in Barcelona. Despite the absence of some of the Barça heavyweights (Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, and Pedro) the team laid sieged to the Mallorca goal, and were dutifully rewarded for it. With 3-0 on the books, Josep Guardiola brought in Puyol and Piqué, both declared fit last week, and the youngster Gerard Deulofeu got his chance to make his debut in the Camp Nou.
Barça lined up in their classic 3-4-3 formation, with Messi playing at the top of the diamond in midfield, a very dynamic David Villa up front, and Isaac Cuenca playing wide. The home team knew they were running the risk of getting caught out from the start, and Mallorca came dangerously close to scoring the go-ahead goal in the sixth minute. Fortunately, Joao Víctor’s shot from six yards went wide after Castro set him up with a brilliant cross from the left. However, it was Leo Messi, after Nsue handled the ball in the area, that scored the first goal of the match from the penalty spot.
Despite missing Xavi and Iniesta on the field, Barça was still dominant and dangerous. At the quarter hour mark, Barça’s number 10 sent Villa through with a sensational pass. Auoate did well to frustrate the striker’s solo attempt. Moments later, the ever present Cuenca crossed the ball to Adriano, whose off target shot fell to Messi to make it 2-0 on the night.
Before the half-hour mark, the best player in the world sealed his hat-trick when he took advantage of a perfect long ball from Dani Alves. The Culé onslaught reduced Mallorca to mere spectators in a match where the visiting side was barely able to keep the scoreline below three before the break.
Prize for Cuenca
With Piqué coming off the bench after the break, Guardiola opted for a four man defense (Puyol would join his teammates soon after). Four minutes into the second half, Isaac Cuenca danced around the Mallorcan keeper and buried his shot in net with the coolness of veteran, scoring his first goal for the first team and sending Barça four clear.
Deulofeu debuts and Alves scores a beautiful goal
For all intensive purposes the game was over when Guardiola brought in Gerard Deulofeu. With all due respect to an insatiable Messi and Dani Alves’ tremendous stoppage time goal, the debuting 17 year old, well accustomed to the left wing position, became the focus of the second half.