Monday, March 5, 2012

Barca Surges Past Sporting

From Daily News & Analysis:

"FC Barcelona, playing without their talisman Lionel Messi who was suspended for the game, beat Sporting Gijon 3-1 at the Camp Nou. 

The win takes Barca to within seven points of Real Madrid.

Sporting manager Javier Clemente began the game on Saturday without a striker in his side and a packed defence to try and stop Barcelona, Xinhua reported.

The Catalans had two good penalty appeals turned down in the first half before Andres Iniesta opened the scoring following a brilliant passing move from the reigning league champions.

The game looked to be clearly going Barca's way, but it changed radically in the first minute of the second half, when Gerard Pique was sent off for supposedly bringing down Miguel de las Cuervas. It looked a harsh decision and more so when David Barral turned home a low cross from the resulting free kick.

Barca lost their shape and were unable to break down a well organised Sporting until Keita scored a fine left foot shot with 11 minutes remaining. It was his first league goal of the season.

Xavi Hernandez sealed the win after linking with Andres Iniesta two minutes from time. The midfielder took a magnificent through ball and clipped the ball over the keeper into the net."

Next up for FC Barcelona is a date with Bayer Leverkusen this Wednesday in Champions League competition.