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Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-0 at Sanchez Pizjuan and reduced the difference between themselves and the league leader Read Madrid to eight points as they drew against Malaga at Santiago Bernabeu. Before kick-off both teams were wearing t-shirts in support of Barcelona left back Eric Abidal, who is waiting for a liver transplant.
Guardiola’s players gave a clinic on ball possession in the first half hour. Xavi and Iniesta were the main architects for Barcelona. Pedro warned Seville with a shot from the centre of the area which Palop tipped away the goal. Xavi put forward the Catalans in the 17th minute with an excellent free-kick despite Palop’s best efforts to keep it out. This goal was his ninth liga goal, the most in Xavi’s career.
Messi played a one-two with Iniesta seven minutes later, when he nutmegged a Sevilla defender and chipped Palop. The Argentine made his 31st league goal and his 51st of the season. Manu del Moral had his chance to reduce the difference with a header but the ball went against the crossbar.
Pedro had two chances to score before the break, but his shot went away from the goal and Palop saved the second one. The hosts took advantage of poor defending from Gerard Pique and Kanoute had a clear chance to score, but Adriano came behind to prevent the danger. In the last minute, Fabregas shot from point-blank range but veteran Palop blocked it.
Barcelona lost the control of the match in the first fifteen minutes, but the Andalusians continued failing their opportunities. Navas, who was the best player for the hosts, whipped an nice delivery towards the back post but Manul del Moral spoiled his assistance. Messi’s magic appeared in the 73th minute with a millimetric pass to Iniesta in a one-on-one with Palop. The Spanish international managed to fake out Palop who was unguarded, but his shot went wide of the post.
Sevilla created two more opportunities with the connection between Navas and Manu del Moral, but both were saved by the visiting goalkeeper Valdez. Chilean Alexis Sanchez had the third goal in his boots in a one-on-one with Palop after a counterattack, but the goalkeeper made a save with his feet — like handball keeper. Messi was disallowed his second goal by the referee for offside in the 89th minute.
After the match Guardiloa said in the press conference, despite Barcelona’s win: “Forget the liga, we are not going to win.”