Barça v. Racing Santander: Three more for the leader (3-0)
Two goals from Messi and another from Xavi gave FC Barcelona a win over Racing Santander at the Camp Nou. With Iniesta back in the team, Barça stay top of the Spanish League table for another week.
Barcelona (FCB).- This time the international break had no effect on FC Barcelona as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Racing Santander to hold onto top spot in La Liga (Spanbish League) table. They did so by staying faithful to their usual system, despite nine of the starting eleven having played international fixtures this week. Leo Messi was the star once again, scoring the first and third goals of the game, with Xavi adding another in between as his side dominated the Cantabrians from start to finish. The performance was an ideal confidence booster ahead of two more important games at the Camp Nou against Viktoria Plze? and Sevilla.
For the first time this season, FC Barcelona manager, Josep Guardiola, started a match without either Busquets or Mascherano. Puyol and Piqué started in the centre of defence, although the latter withdrew injured shortly after kickoff, while Thiago acted as the linkman between defence and midfield. The football flowed as brilliantly as ever, with absolutely no sign of tiredness among the many internationals. The first goal came after a delightful combination play involving Iniesta and Messi. The Argentinian, with just four touches of the ball, left Bernardo and Toño standing before scoring an absolute peach of a goal. It also meant he has now beaten Kubala\u2019s record.
Xavi gets second
The first half was a constant onslaught on the Racing goal. It was only a matter of time before Barça scored again, and that happened on the half hour, when Xavi nodded home a Pedro cross from the left. Puyol and Villa, twice, also had chances to extend the lead against a Racing side that had certainly come to play football, but Hector Cuper\u2019s rapid-paced style only played right into the hands of the home side.
More from Messi
Nothing changed after the break. Barça continued to dominate possession and generate chance after chance. The pace may have eased off slightly, but it was still ideal for the Catalans, who appreciated the drop in intensity due to possible fatigue in the wake of so much travelling over the last week. But there was still another goal to come, and that started with Andrés Iniesta going on a terrific run and then striking the ball onto the post, where Messi was ready to cannon the rebound into the net.
Rest for Iniesta and Pedro
The 3-0 scoreline satisfied Guardiola that the team had done its job, and Iniesta, who was playing his first game since getting injured against AC Milan and Pedro, who played for Spain on Tuesday against Scotland, were both brought off early. Keita and Adriano took their place in a game that almost ended with an amazing overhead goal from Abidal. You just never know what to expect from Barça, but it\u2019s almost always amazing! The magic continues\u2026
1-0, Messi (min 11)
2-0, Xavi (min 27)
3-0, Messi (min 68)