Barca win at Almeria to tighten grip on second place in La Liga

by spencerhays92

Barcelona tightened their grip on second place in La Liga with a routine 2-0 victory over bottom side Almeria.

Fermin Lopez scored both goals at the Power Horse Stadium as Xavi’s side moved four points clear of third-place Girona in the table with two games remaining.

The visitors broke through in the 14th minute when an unmarked Fermin neatly nodded home Hector Fort’s deep cross at the far post.

Almeria squandered two great opportunities to equalise in each half, with Leo Baptistao and Anthony Lozano both shooting wide with only Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat, while Adri Embarba also hit a post for the hosts.

It proved costly as Barca doubled their advantage in the 67th minute with Sergi providing the cross for Fermin to brilliantly sweep a first-time shot into the far corner.

Substitute Joao Felix hit the side-netting late on, but Fermin’s brace was more than enough to seal the points for the visitors.

Talking Point – Routine for Barca, but Almeria rue wastefulness

Despite their recent troubles on the road, it seemed highly unlikely Barca would suffer a third successive away defeat in La Liga for the first time since December 2002 under Louis van Gaal.

Indeed, the Blaugrana continued their dominance of Almeria, who they have now beaten in 13 of the last 16 meetings between the sides.

Although, the hosts may wonder what might have been, as their winless streak on home soil continued.

Baptistao and Lozano both had glaring opportunities to equalise at 1-0 behind, but shot wide with only Ter Stegen to beat with actions that generally sum up their disappointing season.

Player of the Match – Fermin Lopez

The young midfielder, who turned 21 last Saturday, enjoyed the ideal late present, with his brace moving Barca four points clear of Girona in second place.

For both his goals, Fermin was in the right place at the right time. First, he arrived late at the far post to head home Fort’s deep cross, before brilliantly guiding Sergi’s centre into Maximiano’s left corner to seal the points.

Those strikes came from a game-high four shots, while he also created the joint-most chances with three (tying with Kounde and Yamal).

Player Ratings

Almeria: Maximiano 6, Pubill 6, Montes 6, Chumi 6, Langa 6, Viera 6, M. Pena 6, Robertone 6, Baptistao 5, Lozano 4, Embarba 7. Subs: Romero 5, Suarez 5, Melero 5, Centelles 5, Pozo 5.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen 7, Kounde 7, Cubarsi 7, I. Martinez 7, Fort 8, Pedri 7, Sergi 8, Fermin 9*, Yamal 8, Lewandowski 6, Ferran 6. Subs: Joao Felix 6, Christensen 6, Roque 5, Cancelo 5, Romeu 5.

Match Highlights

14′ – GOAL!!! ALMERIA 0-1 BARCELONA (FERMIN): Barca strike first at the Power Horse Stadium! Advancing from left-back, Fort has time to cut inside and delivers a deep cross to the far post, where an unmarked Fermin heads past a helpless Maximiano.

22′ – WHAT A CHANCE: The anticipation among the home fans rises as Baptistao manages to race in behind the Barca defence. However, with only Ter Stegen to beat, he gets his shot all wrong and sends it wide of the target.

42′ – OFF THE POST: The woodwork comes to Barca’s rescue as Embarba races onto a throughball, only to see his shot bounce back off Ter Stegen’s right post.

47′ – WHAT A MISS: Yet again, Almeria squander a great opportunity to equalise. Embarba’s attempted throughball ricochets kindly for Lozano, who has just Ter Stegen to beat, but only succeeds in slotting wide of the target.

67′ – GOAL!!! ALMERIA 0-2 BARCELONA (FERMIN): It’s that man again! Fermin doubles Barca’s lead! The midfielder arrives late in the box to meet Sergi’s cross, and brilliantly guides it away from Maximiano and into the far corner.

80′ – SIDE NETTING: Barca push for the third goal and Joao Felix is well found in the box. The substitute does well to cut inside and get a shot away, but it flashes the wrong side of the post.

Key Stats

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