[QODLink]
Football
Barcelona cruise past Sevilla
Goals from Xavi and Messi help Catalan giants keep the pressure on Real at the top of Spain's Primera Division.
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2012 21:54
Barcelona provisionally move seven points behind Real Madrid, but Mourinho's side can restore their comfortable ten-point gap with a win against Malaga on Sunday [GETTY]

A sublime chip from Lionel Messi brought up his 150th league goal for Barcelona in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sevilla in Spain’s Primera Division.

The result cuts Real Madrid's lead to seven points.

A Xavi Hernandez free-kick put Barca ahead after 18 minutes and then Messi continued his blistering goal scoring form with his 14th in six games.

Real Madrid can restore their 10-point cushion when they face Malaga on Sunday.

Keeping up

Coach Pep Guardiola put out his strongest side as Barca continued their pursuit of Real with the only surprise the absence of Carles Puyol from the defence with Javier Mascherano chosen to play alongside Gerard Pique at centre half.

Adriano started at left-back in place of Eric Abidal who will be out of the game indefinitely as he awaits a liver transplant.

Adriano had a deflected shot which looped just over the crossbar and then Pedro Rodriguez, put through by Cesc Fabregas, had a strike parried by the keeper as the Catalan side pressed from the start.

Then Adriano was upended as he surged towards the area by Emir Spahic, who received a yellow card, and Xavi scored from the resultant free-kick.

Goalkeeper Andres Palop got a hand to the ball but could not stop it as it curled into the corner.

Andres Iniesta blazed wide while, at the other end, Manu del Moral caused the first real danger for Sevilla after outpacing Pique but his shot from a tight angle was beaten away by keeper Victor Valdes.

Messi doubled Barca's lead mid-way through the first half with another collectors' item.

He nutmegged Spahic on the edge of the area and then chipped the ball over the keeper.

Strong resistance

Sevilla are the only side to have taken points off Barca at the Nou Camp this season in the league and they battled back with a Manu header coming back off the woodwork as Pique and Valdes looked on.

Frederic Kanoute had a shot blocked by Valdes while at the other end Pedro also was denied by Palop.

After the break Sevilla began to take the game to the visitors as Barca failed to show the same rhythm in the centre of the pitch and Manu fired inches wide from a Jesus Navas cross.

Iniesta then poked the ball just wide in front of goal after being set up by Messi and substitute Alexis Sanchez had a shot blocked by the keeper after running clear while Manu also had another glaring miss for Sevilla.

Earlier, Getafe put further distance between themselves and the drop zone as they bounced back from three straight defeats to beat second-from-bottom Sporting Gijon 2-0.

Rock-bottom Zaragoza were just minutes away from a much needed victory but Roversio equalised Helder Postiga's opener after 88 minutes to give Osasuna a 1-1 draw.

Elsewhere an own-goal from Inigo Martinez gave Getafe a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.