Millennium Post

Barca sets the floor rolling

Barcelona continued their march towards a 22nd La Liga title as a much-changed side were still too strong for struggling Real Zaragoza in a 3-0 win at La Romareda.

Thiago Alcantara got the visitors going with a tidy finish on 20 minutes and the Spanish international then played in Cristian Tello to make it 2-0 just before the break.

Tello showed great pace and poise to register his second of the evening seven minutes after the restart and there was even a rare clean sheet for Barca despite the absence of Gerard Pique at the back.

Tito Vilanova made six changes from the side that started Wednesday’s exacting Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. However, it was one of those not rested that caused a surprise as Xavi started a league game for the first time since early February.

Of those to come into the side it was Tello who looked most likely to make an impression as he curled just over after barely a minute and then blasted another effort off target from Alexis Sanchez’s clever cut-back 15 minutes later.  Zaragoza had dropped into the relegation zone due to Deportivo La Coruna’s win on Saturday and their lack of confidence having not won a game at all this year was in evidence as they failed to trouble a makeshift Barca defence throughout the first-half.

Indeed the opening goal arrived from one of the few occasions when Zaragoza might have been able to put the visiting defence under pressure, but instead Barca broke upfield from a home corner and a neat exchange of passes between Thiago and Sanchez allowed the midfielder to sweep home just his second goal of the season.

Thiago was involved again as Barca doubled their advantage six minutes before the break as this time he and Tello combined to allow the winger to run through on goal and he showed great composure to slot past Roberto Gago.

It didn’t take long for the third Barca goal to arrive though as Tello showed off his frightening speed once more to slot home.


A wonderful Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick gave Los Blancos the lead just two minutes in and Ronaldo was on target again with a headed effort 20 minutes from time before Gonzalo Higuain rattled in a third five minutes later.

It was the final time Madrid will play at San Mames as Athletic move to a new ground from next season and with the home players roared on by a fervent support, Ronaldo was on the end of a few rough challenges.

However, Real assistant boss Aitor Karanka saluted his player’s reaction throughout the game. ‘Football is for men, especially in San Mames, and Cristiano has shown that in an adverse atmosphere for him the type of player he is,’ he told a press conference.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho had named a surprisingly strong line-up given the Champions League commitments in the coming weeks for his side, with Sergio Ramos starring in his old role at right-back.

And with Alvaro Arbeloa suspended for the first-leg of Madrid’s semifinal with Borussia Dortmund, Karanka accepted that the Spanish international could easily line-up there against the Germans.
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