Fifteenth win on the trot (0-3)
Barça beat Hercules 0-3 tonight to record their 15th La Liga win on the trot. Pedro opened the scoring in the first half and two late strikes from Messi sealed the win and the points.
Barcelona (FCB).- The team continues to power ahead, tonight seeing off the only team to beat them so far this season, Hercules, to equal the record of fifteen straight wins in La Liga. It was a tougher game than the result might suggest though, as Guardiola had warned it would be and although the team were in control and made their chances, only Pedro was able to finish one off until Messi popped up in the final few minutes to put the game to bed.
Control from the off
Barça imposed their control and intensity from the off and dominated the game completely with almost all the early exchanges in the Hercules half. The hosts repeated the conservative tactics that had served them so well at the Nou Camp, ceding possession to Barça, whose attacks came mainly through the centre.
Messi and Pedro had the first clear cut chances, but Hercules also created their own, with Trezeguet on 20 minutes missing a chance he\u2019d not normally fail to put away.
Pedro opens the scoring
Barça worked at wearing their hosts down with long periods of possession and large doses of patience and just before the break they got their reward when after a long series of passes, Xavi opened up the Hercules defence with a pass out right for Pedro, who fired home to score in his sixth game on the run.
The goal hit Hercules just before half time \u2013 always a tough break - and forced them to open up in the second half , opening up spaces for Barça and also forcing the visitors to concentrate on defending in the way they do best \u2013keeping possession and attacking, as a goal disallowed for offside against Pedro and a narrow miss from Messi came close to increasing the lead.
Two quick strikes from Messi
Hercules still had hope though, but a red card for Farinos left them with 10 men on 84 minutes and Messi scored a lovely second soon after, cutting across the front of the visitors\u2019 box to fire in a great shot. Two minutes later, he doubled his tally, tapping in an Alves centre to make it three and give Barça revenge for their defeat in September and their 15th win on the trot.
0-1 Pedro (min 43)
0-2 Messi (min 87)
0-3 Messi (min 89)