April 2011 - Barcelona v Real Madrid, Almeria and Osasuna
Barcelona 2 Osasuna 0
Having lost the Spanish Cup to Real Madrid in mid-week, Barcelona needed to win this game to regain confidence, ahead of the Champions league game on Wednesday against Real Madrid. And Barcelona made hard work of this game, with the decisive goal taking 87 minutes to put away with a Lionel Messi shot. Barca took the lead in the 25th minute via David Villa but the home side struggled to put the game out of Osasuna's reach.
The majority of the fans and players surely are thinking more so about the Champions League game and Mourinho has somehow managed to shift the presssure off of the shoulders of the Madrid players and only to Barcelona players. A thrilling 2 weeks are instore for Spanish football fans. Watch this space....
Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 1 (La Liga)
Part 1 of a 4 match sequence in which Barcelona and Real Madrid meet in three competitions within 3 weeks, this was a cagey affair with Real Madrid playing with what seemed like a 7 man defence. Barcelona came to play and Real Madrid were intent on not losing. One might think that by not losing, The Real manager Mourinho will use this to induce self belief in his players that they can fends off Barca in the Champions League.
In the first match up between the 2, it was a tale of two penalties and the two big stars. Messi slotted home a 53rd minute goal for Barca and a desperate Madrid pulled it back to 1-1 with a 82nd Ronaldo penalty. All square and much more to come between the two teams. Those lucky enough to get match tickets for this latest Barcelona v Real Madrid game enjoyed a typical blockbuster between the 2.
Barcelona 3 Almeria 1
Seven games to go and an 8 point lead. The mathematics suggest that Barcelona can start celebrating the title already. If Real Madrid and Barcelona both enter the Champions League semi finals though, they will play each other 4 times in a couple of weeks and playing in 3 tournaments (with the Spanish Cup, La Liga and the Champions League) might perhaps tire Barcelona out a bit and costs them a few La Liga points. Given the depth of the squad though, one feels that it should not really in actual fact, be such an issue. In this latest game - with Messi on form, three second half goals (2 for Messi and 1 for Thiago) were enough to silence the Almeria fans and seal another victory for Barca.
Villareal 0 Barcelona 1
With Real Madrid losing at home 0-1 against Sporting Gijon, this away win against Villareal could perhaps be the defining moment of the season, given that whatever now happens in the Real v Barca game on 17th April, Barcelona have an eight point lead and enough of a cushion to lose 2 games with only 8 games left in the domestic La Liga season. Surely the Catalans are all but home and dry now?
Villareal, a team who are fighting for a Champions League place for next season, had everything to play for and fought as though they really wanted and believed they could win. It took 66 minutes in the end, to find a way through the home defence and it was Pique who finished off an Alves cross, to nicely finish and grab the winner. Barcelona next play at home with a Champions League game at home on Wednesday 6th April to Shakhtar.
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