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28.03.2010 13:51

Messi rested after 16 starts

Sandra Sarmiento

After 16 consecutive starts, Pep Guardiola decided to give Leo Messi a rest in Mallorca and started with him on the bench. It was an odd match that Barca dominated, but again had to thank keeper Victor Valdes for keeping them in the game.

This was a vital win at a very tough stadium and the three points could well prove their weight in gold at the end of the campaign. It was the first time this season that Mallorca had failed to score at home in the league – evidence of the Barca’s defensive solidity as well as their attacking verve. With Bilbao at the Nou Camp next weekend, Barca ‘s next away trip in the league is the big one – Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Messi: fourth time on the bench this season

2010-03-27_PARTIDO_20.JPGThe game’s first surprise came an hour before kick off when Guardiola announced that Messi would start on the bench, though maybe it wasn’t such a turn up as Messi has curiously enough started every game against Mallorca as a sub whilst Guardiola has been in charge. It was clear though that the Argentinean isn’t used to sitting a game out and he was in constant movement as he urged his team mates on, commenting on everything to Xavi, also a sub and sat next to him in the dugout.

Jeffren, Ibra and Pedro up front again

2010-03-27_PARTIDO_04.JPGMessi’s absence gave Jeffren his chance to start a game and after his appearance as Right back at the Calderon, he again formed part of the same lethal forward line that had started earlier in the season at Getafe. His contribution may not have included a goal, but after the game, Pep was quick to praise his tracking back and tactical discipline.

Valdés saves the day again

2010-03-27_PARTIDO_33.JPGIbra’s goal was enough to take the points in part thanks to some great work from Valdes to keep Mallorca out as he chalked up his 26th clean sheet of the season. Milito and Puyol were again impeccable: totally focussed and quick to cut out any danger from the Mallorca forwards, committing just one foul between them. Nothing new there really this season, nor was Valdes’ brilliant performance, once again saving the team and guaranteeing the result.
Messi rested after 16 starts

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Alves yellow card
With the Madrid game coming up the weekend after next, Dani Alves ensured he’ll be available by forcing a yellow that sees him miss next week’s game against Bilbao, but means he’ll be free for the big one. Alves was booked for time wasting as he prepared to take a throw-in.

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