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Messi, celebrant amb Alexis el seu segon gol al Mallorca. FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Barça’s tenth win of the eleven league games so far this season came in an exciting match, with plenty of goals and chances for both teams and a fightback from the hosts in the second half. The first half saw Barça combine possession and precision in front of goal to go three up before Mallorca hit them with two goals after the break. The visitors sealed the win with Messi’s second strike – a goal that takes him to 76 for the 2012, beating the great Pele’s record for a calendar year from1958.

Control and precision

Barça controlled the game completely in the first 45 minutes, with Mallorca –unusually for a Caparros team – sitting deep and inviting the visitors to come at them. Just as Celtic did in midweek, Mallorca packed their defence, allowing Barça the space to patiently pass the ball about looking for a way through. There were a few long shots and Villa and Tello spread the game out down the flanks, but it was actually Mallorca who enjoyed the first chance, as Valdes was forced into a great save to keep out a Hemed header on 21 minutes.

Xavi, Messi and Tello on target

In contrast to their experience in Scotland, Barça were sharper at the kill this time and Xavi opened the scoring on 27 minutes with a superb free kick. Going behind didn’t lead to any change in the hosts’ tactics though and they continued to sit deep and allow Barça to impose their game, with Tello on the left firing in some telling crosses that somehow nobody managed to latch onto.

Barça’s dominance finally got its reward at the end of the half, as Messi and Tello both beat Aouate  with shots from outside the box to go in three up at the break.

Mallorca fight back

Whatever happened in the dressing room at half time, Mallorca came out clearly determined to put up a fight. Two early corners were followed by a goal from Pereira on 53 minutes, which five minutes later was followed by a second when Victor put away a penalty after Busquets had handled in the box. Now Caparros sent his players to harry and hassle Barça up field, limiting their ability to bring the ball out under control as Vilanova’s men looked to have lost a little spark in their game.

Messi pops up to finish hosts off

The leaders soon reacted though and reasserted their quality through a sensational second Messi goal. Dani Alves put a cross over, which Alexis cleverly chested down for The World Number One, who whipped it into the net with a stunning finish. With Mallorca’s reaction broken, Barça were able to play out the final minutes, maintaining possession and ensuring there were no more chances for their hosts to get back into the game.


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