Brilliant Barca Hit Six

Barcelona promptly responded to their critics following their two-game winless run as they crushed Real Zaragoza 6-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Seydou Keita, a double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a cherry-on-top strike from Lionel Messi. After the midweek shock at home to Rubin Kazan, Barcelona began the game slightly more tentatively than usual, but it did not stop them producing the first shot on target after just three minutes. The Zaragoza defence failed to clear a corner and Messi latched onto the loose ball pummelled in a low left footed drive which Juan Pablo Carrizo dived down to save. Just two minutes later, ‘Little Lionel’missed a glorious chance when Maxwell’s centre found Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who pulled it back to Xavi, who in turned teed up Messi but the Argentine curled his shot wide from six yards out. Barca had yet another clear-cut opportunity on 11 minutes when Ibrahimovic cushioned down a header for Messi, whose half volley was pushed out by Carrizo at his near post. Javier Arizmendi then attempted to expose the shaky Blaugrana backline when he easily raced past Gerard Pique but from a tight angle, his low shot was saved by Victor Valdes. On 20 minutes, Ibrahimovic had the Camp Nou crowed on their feet when he chested down a long ball from Dmytro Chygrynskiy and spanked in a volley on the turn but once again, Carrizo was equal to the task with an acrobatic save. The incessant pressure finally broke the Aragon resistance in the 25th minute when Messi hooked in a cross from the right and Seydou Keita threw himself forward to send his diving header into the top corner. And it was 2-0 four minutes later thanks to Ibrahimovic, who rifled in a thunderbolt of a freekick 25 yards out which Carrizo could only push into the back of his own net. Just mere minutes later, the Catalans had another freekick out on the right channel but Xavi curled it over the bar. ‘Ibracadabra’ rippled the net again on 36 minutes after Messi did superbly to skip past two players and thread in a delicate through pass to the Swede, but the flag had already gone up for offside. But five minutes before the break, Barca got their third. Ibrahimovic ran onto Xavi’s 30-yard through pass and squared it past Carrizo for Keita to stab the ball into the empty net from close range. Pep Guardiola’s artists showed no signs of resting on their three-goal lead as they came out firing early in the second half. Messi almost got on the scoresheet four minutes into the restart but his shot, which deflected off Francisco Pavon, bobbled wide after wrong-footing Carrizo. Three minutes later, an audacious chip by Messi forced the Zaragoza goalkeeper to flap the ball away, only for it to land for Ibra, who lobbed the rebound into the net but for the second time in the game, the goal was annulled for offside. But there was no denying the Swede moments later. Keita turned provider this time when he whipped in a low cross from the left and Ibrahimovic easily nudged ahead of his marker and flicked the ball home. Zaragoza’s second scoring chance of the match fell to Arizmendi, who ghosted in behind the Barca rearguard but his ambitious attempt to lift the ball over Valdes failed horribly as he sent his effort well wide. On 68 minutes, Messi had another chance to get on the scoresheet after playing a slick one-two with Sergi Busquets, but his low finish was kept out by Carrizo’s kick-save. Zaragoza managed to pull one back in the 77th minute. First, Ewerthon’s shot inside the box was parried away by Valdes, but Barca failed to clear their lines, allowing Pedro Lopez to arrow in a perfectly placed shot from the edge of the area. Ten minutes from time, the Blaugrana restored their four-goal cushion and Messi finally had one of his own to celebrate with a deft chip over Carrizo after being set-up by Andres Iniesta. With five minutes to go, Keita wrapped up his first ever hat-trick in a Barca shirt when he connected with Iniesta’s corner and thumped a header into the net. Lafita and Ewerthon had late chances to reduced arrears but it would have proved insignificant as Barcelona romped to a commanding victory and back to the top of the table.


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