1-0, Ronaldinho (min.28, penalty)
2-0, Ronaldinho (min.57)
3-0, Xavi (min. 61)
Barça stay top of the league after a convincing 3-0 win over Recreativo Huelva. Ronaldinho was on target twice, while Xavi added the third in a game that did not pose too many problems.
Barça bounced back from defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu in the best possible way, with a resounding victory against Recreativo that will serve as major boost to morale ahead of their crunch midweek tie at home to Chelsea. The Andalusian visitors struggled to conjure up anything to worry a very secure Barcelona, who demonstrated that although they will suffer the occasional setback, are generally a class above most of the opposition in this league. Ronaldinho silenced the critics as he knows best with two goals (one from the penalty spot) while Xavi headed home the third. And the news just gets better, as following Valencia's 1-0 defeat in Santander, Barça have moved away from the chasing pack at the top of the table.
Changes to line up
Rijkaard confessed this week that he is unsure about the effectiveness of the rotation system, and opted to use Belletti on the right of defence, Marquez in the middle, and Edmílson just in front of the back four. The presence of the Brazilian made a huge difference to the way Barça played, with he and Giuly creating most of the danger in the early minutes of the match.
Penalty and goal
Nevertheless, the chances for Barça were few and far between in the first half, while their visitors could have opened the scoring as early as the first minute, but Valdés did well to intercept Calle's opportunity. The deadlock was not broken until the game was half an hour old, with ex Barça player Mario pulling down Gudjohnsen in the area, and Ronaldinho making no mistake with the ensuing penalty.
Ronaldinho heads second
The pace livened up once Barça had gone a goal up, and that dynamic continued into the second half, with Barça playing comfortable flowing football. In the 57th minute, Ronaldinho was on target again, this time from open play, with a tremendous header on the end of a no less impressive Sylvinho cross.
Xavi with another header
The game had barely restarted when Barça added their second and it was game over. In an uncannily similar move to the second goal, this time it was Belletti supplying the cross and Xavi who nodded the ball home to make it 3-0.
Chelsea on their minds
With the result settled, Rijkaard's attention obviously turned to Tuesday's showdown with Chelsea, and three of the most important members of the squad were pulled off. Gudjohnsen left to make way for Saviola (minute 63), Deco was replaced by Iniesta (67) and Ronaldinho, to a standing ovation, was substituted by Ezquerro (80). Delighted with the Barça's convincing performance, the fans enjoyed the rest of the game chanting the names of the players in scenes that we hope to see repeated this time Tuesday night.