Barcelona on top of Spanish Liga after inspired performance

October 26th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Oct 26 (DPA) Barcelona cruised to the top of the Spanish Liga with a 5-0 slaughter of Almeria.Once again, Josep Guardiola’s team turned on the style, carrying on from where they left off Wednesday with a 5-0 win against FC Basel.

Barca are the most stylish team in Europe at the moment, having recaptured the slick effectiveness of the 2004-2006 period.

Their ninth successive win Saturday night in all competitions leaves Barca with 19 points from nine games, above previous leaders Valencia on goal difference.

All the goals came in the first half, with Samuel Eto’o banging in a hat-trick to lift his total to nine, one ahead of Valencia’s David Villa.

Eto’o and company started off full of fire and imagination. The little Cameroon hit-man volleyed them ahead after just five minutes, with the Almeria defence already shipping water.

In the 14th minute Thierry Henry made it 2-0 from close range, turning in a centre from Lionel Messi. Seven minutes later Xavi Hernandez controlled a classy pass from Andres Iniesta - and set up Eto’o to tap in the third goal.

Eto’o completed his hat-trick in the 25th minute with a cheeky back-heel, after good work down the right by Messi. Then Dani Alves completed a dream first-half by making it 5-0 with a powerful low free-kick, his first goal for Barca.

By then Almeria were down to 10 men, Alvaro Negredo having been sent off for a horrible foul on Rafa Marquez.

As expected, Barca eased up in the second half and Almeria defender Guilherme took advantage to come forward and hit the post.

Iniesta almost made it 6-0, before Barca completely lifted their foot off the pedal.

“We were really sharp in the first half,” said Iniesta, “and we are really enjoying ourselves at the moment.”

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