FC Barcelona 5 Mallorca 0 (Eric Abidal returns!!!)

barcelona 5-0 mallorca Eric Abidal substitutes Gerard Piqué 2013It is possible that Barça will end the 2012/13 season with another Liga and Champions League, records may be broken and awards may be won, but undoubtedly the greatest achievement and the biggest victory of the season came in the 70th minute of tonight’s match with Mallorca when Eric Abidal returned to play first team football 361 days after receiving a liver transplant.

Abidal said a short prayer as he waited on the touchline to come on, and the ovation that he received when he replaced Gerard Piqué produced goosebumps. The first ball he received he controlled well before sending a typical elegant pass up the line to Alexis, and from then on it was as though he had never been away. Before his entrance there had been a football match, at least for 46 minutes, the time it took for Cesc Fabregas to score the first hat-trick of his career while Alexis Sanchez chipped in with a brace to put Barça 5-0 up.

barcelona 5-0 mallorca tito vilanova 2013There was disappointment when the teams were announced and neither Abidal nor Gerard Deulofeu were included in the starting XI. With the Champions League second leg with Paris Saint-Germain coming up on Wednesday many players were rested, though there was a place in the team for Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué and Andrés Iniesta  From the way Barça played in the first half it is possible that Tito Vilanova, who was also returning to Camp Nou after his absence through illness, told the team before the game that he wanted a comfortable margin in order to give Abidal his chance. Something definitely seem to motivate the team and Mallorca had little chance to stay in the game.

The game was very open from the start with Mallorca showing ambition to push players forward. Barça, with Iniesta picking out the passes, began to look for Tello’s speed on the left, and it didn’t take long for Tello, Iniesta and Fabregas to shoot for goal. Mallorca kept going forward and shortly before Barça’s first goal the visitors created a worrying moment for Barça’s defence but Giovani’s cross was out of Hemed’s reach.

barcelona 5-0 mallorca cesc fabregas scores goal 2013Fabregas was playing Messi’s false nine role and in the 20th minute he dropped deep to start the move for the first goal. After the ball arrived to Iniesta, Fabregas moved into the space between lines to receive the pass. He then sent a quick pass to Alexis on the edge of the area and the Chilean’s return was perfect for Fabregas to control and tuck inside the far post. Two minutes later and the same players were involved in Barça’s second. Iniesta played the ball into the area for Fabregas whose shot was parried by Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate but Alexis was on hand on the corner of the six-yard box to fire home the rebound.

It was always going to be tough for Mallorca to come back though they did manage a couple attempts in quick succession. After 34 minutes Emilio Nsue robbed Montoya, and Hemed sent his shot just wide. A minute after Hutton sent over a cross to the far post but Alejandro Alfaro also failed to find to find the target with his header.

barcelona 5-0 mallorca alexis scores fourth goal 2013Mallorca would pay for their misses as Fabregas and Alexis continued their double act with another goal each in under two minutes. Receiving the ball in the inside right position, Fabregas found Alexis to his right and then burst into the middle to meet the cross with a sweeping shot past Aouate. The pair were inspired with Fabregas then sending a splendid pass over the top which Alexis controlled perfectly, allowing him to beat Aouate to the ball and stab home Barça’s fourth.

Four-nil up at half time, it took Barça just 53 seconds of the second period to find the net again. Iniesta intercepted a loose pass out from the Mallorca defence and quickly sent a ball into the area where Fabregas demonstrated what he is capable of when his confidence is up, with a neat pull back to leave Kevin Garcia on his arse before stroking the ball past Aouate for his hat-trick.

Vilanova now took the chance first to introduce Johnathan dos Santos for a rare appearance, curiously coming up against his older brother Giovani in Mallorca’s team. Barça might have scored more with Tello curling one just wide and Piqué getting forward to flick a header just over. Then it was time for Deulofeu to make his entrance, and he looked lively on the right side though he found it tough to get by left back Kevin.

Abidal then came on and Camp Nou could not have been happier. He was tested little by Mallorca’s attack though he managed to get in the way of one shot from Alfara, deflecting the ball out for a corner. Barça kept the ball and Abidal was cheered for every touch. The 5-0 final score now leaves Barça needing just twelve more points from the remaining eight games to clinch the 22nd Liga in the club’s history.

barcelona 5-0 mallorca cesc fabregas celebrates goal 2013Fabregas and Alexis will have given Vilanova some more options when he comes to naming his team for PSG. Both players, along with Thiago have come in for a lot of criticism for their below par performances recently. Thiago again demonstrated his worrying tendency to give stray passes in dangerous positions but Fabregas and Alexis showed that on their day they are both players of exceptional quality.

Barcelona 5-0 Mallorca Eric Abidal return 2013Alex Song also deserves a mention after a very solid game filling in for Sergio Busquets. Song may not be the answer to our defensive problems but he does make a very good deputy for Busi, his positioning is improving and tonight he gave first time accurate passes nearly every time. The final word though has to go to today’s hero Eric Abidal. A year ago the only concern was for his life, but after a long hard struggle to regain fitness, Abidal has achieved an authentic miracle by returning to play at the top level. Fabregas’s hat-trick was sublime, Alexis’s brace was sweet, but the return of Eric Abidal quite simply the best.

Barça: Pinto 7; Alves 7, Bartrá 7, Piqué 7.5 (Abidal m70, 10), Montoya 6.5; Thiago 6, Song 8, Iniesta 8 (Johnathan dos Santos m51, 7); Alexis 8, Fabregas 9 (Deulofeu m65, 7), Tello 7.

Mallorca: Aouate; Hutton, Nunes, Bigas, Kevin; Pina (Javi Marquez m71), Tissone; Nsue (Martí m46), Giovani dos Santos, Alfaro; Hemed (Arizmendi m46).

Goals: m20 Fabregas 1-0, m22 Alexis 2-0, m37 Fabregas 3-0, m38 Alexis 4-0, m46 Fabregas 5-0.

Yellow cards: m64 Alfaro, m75 Alexis.

Attendance: 65,127

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Eric Abidal, Gerard Deulofeu, Injuries, La Liga, Match reports, Tito Vilanova and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to FC Barcelona 5 Mallorca 0 (Eric Abidal returns!!!)

  1. cftc10 says:

    Reblogged this on cftc10.

  2. layibiyi says:

    Abidal!!!!

    How funny do the recent criticisms against sanchez and fabregas look now? They both played the kind of games in positions they like today and what a performance. I can understand criticism that they have failed to adapt to our system and find some place around messi that they can play on a steady basis but not about their talent level. How quickly did people forget how good fabregas was playing early in the season. We pretty much secured the league with our early season form and he was crucial for that.

    Having said that, I would be unsurprised seeing them still struggle in our default system. I still thing fabregas best role for now when messi is playing was that with iniesta in the flanks. But as we have seen, certain games require iniesta back in the midfield and an extra forward for us to threaten. I wonder how this will play out long-term.

    Onto the next one

    Abidal!!!

    • aculestudent says:

      i agree with you but i think thats sometimes the problem with Barca, they expect players to adapt to certain positions and sometimes, a player is not good at different positions but the position that he normally plays, hes excellent. I also feel with Cesc he relies on the other players to kind of do the work for him. On Saturday he stepped up cause he knew there was no one else to make it happen and look how well he did! I think he needs to be told continuously, he musn’t rely on others and always play to the best of his ability because this will make Barca much more stronger 🙂

  3. I follow Rafa Nadal, the tennis player from Mallorca. I bet today he died just a bit; because Barca is his team, but Mallorca is his home.

  4. Caleb says:

    It’s so great that Abidal is back. He’s put in tons of work, doctors have dedicated much of their lives training to be able to do what they do, and a lot of prayers have been said on his behalf. Truly amazing stuff.

    I also was quite impressed with Jonathan Dos Santos’s performance. He seems to have matured so much, with a lot of confident, sharp one-touch passes. It almost looked like he was the one getting all the playing time this season and Thiago was the one surprised to be on the field for a change. Hopefully Thiago can start progressing again . . .

    Welcome back, Abi!

  5. barcacentralomer says:

    Irrespective of the match outcome which was superb in itself, like Nic says the best thing about this fixture was the return of one of our legends – Abi. Truly a beautiful sight to see him on the football pitch after his immense personal battle. Rock on Abi and May Allah continue to Bless you even more. Amen!

    On the football side, Fab and Alexis left critics like me with egg on our faces after a spectacular performance by the duo. They were ably supported by the mastero known as Iniesta. Song also put in a good showing though Thiago seems to be pushing his luck with quite a few La Masia products like JDS waiting for their chance should he falter. TBH I’ve always thought of JDS as a far more steady player than the erratic Thiago but then we hardly see JDS due to our midfield riches. Regarding Cesc and Alexis, Nic do you think the absence of Messi allowed Cesc and Alexis to truly express themselves without worrying about fitting into their designated roles when Messi is there?

    Gerard D didn’t display any flashes of brilliance and as always Barta and Montoya will need playing time to develop. All in all a very good build-up for the PSG game but has the question about who will partner Pique in the CB slot been resolved?

  6. bc9jaCule says:

    Oh, Abidal – a living testimony of miraculous proportions!!!!! Welcome back, brother.

    The Cesc-Alexis axis combined to devastating effect last night & I was massively WOWed!

    Now, some questions spring to mind:
    Were they able to play with such freedom because Messi was not playing, or was it the absence of Messi that made Mallorca played so open at the back, or was it the attacking combination of Tello-Fabregas-Alexis that was too strange for the Mallorca setup to cope with, or were Mallorca simply mediocre, or…………..?

    However, I must say, though, that, both players’ talents & capabilities have never been in contention but their ability to CONSISTENTLY bring such A-games versus tougher opponents both in Laliga & the CL. Anyways, they were excellent last night & duly deserve the praises because, no-one can take that away from them.

    I seriously hope we can just as well give PSG a similar thrashing on Wednesday.

    Godspeed Tito!!!!!
    Visca Abidal!!!!!
    Visca Barca!!!!!
    Forca Barca!!!!!

  7. Fredegar says:

    Just great to see Abidal back. With the way the club has conducted itself in this sad situation (and the same applies for Tito), I’m very proud to be a Barça supporter. FC Barcelona really is “Mes que un club” sometimes.
    Congrats Eric, welcome back!

  8. Pingback: FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain: Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg Preview | barçacentral

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s