FC Barcelona cruised to a comfortable 5-0 away win at FC Basel tonight in the third date of the UEFA Champions League’s group stage.

After only 22 minutes of play the scoreline was already 3-0 for Barça, which goes to show how one-sided the game was. Leo Messi got the opening goal after picking up a brilliant pass from Dani Alves, and produced many dangerous moves throughout the whole match. Bojan (2), Busquets and Xavi scored the remaining goals, which means that all five strikes came from players brought up in Barcelona’s youth structure.

Barça head the Group C table with nine points from three games. The Spanish Liga will be back on the weekend, with Pep Guardiola’s team taking on Almería at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

The Spanish first-division football league finally returned from the two-week break due to international encounters, and FC Barcelona maintained their winning ways claiming an important 1-0 victory at Athletic Bilbao.

Pep Guardiola decided to leave Leo Messi on the bench for the entire game. As the coach explained, Lionel was in good condition to play, but he preferred to give him a rest after the demanding games and long trips the Argentine star has been through in the past few days. Xavi was also out of the team due to a slight muscle injury. The game played at Bilbao’s San Mamés stadium was a close affair, with Athletic relying on their traditional spirited style and Barça having to work really hard to get the three points. After a mediocre first half, the second period saw an improvement in Barcelona’s attacking play. In the 63rd minute Thierry Henry made a fine move and set up Samuel Eto’o, who scored the only goal of the night. This win -the team’s fifth in a row- keeps Barça three points behind first-place Valencia CF on the league table. On an unfortunate note, both Keita and Márquez had to leave the pitch injured.

Leo Messi will have a chance to come back into Barça’s line-up on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League game at FC Basel.

The Chilean national team got their first ever official-match victory over Argentina yesterday in Santiago in the Southamerican World Cup qualifying group.

The team coached by Marcelo Bielsa claimed a deserved win. Argentina’s play lacked organisation and intensity, while the home side were aggresive in their pressing and fast on the attack. Chile missed a number of scoring opportunities, but in the end Orellana’s first-half goal was enough to secure them the points. Leo Messi proved to be the most threatening player on his side, but even so was only able to create a couple of good chances in the entire game.

Chile and Argentina are now level on points (16) on the Southamerican group table after ten games have been played. The next rivals for the Argentinians will be Venezuela (home) and Bolivia (away) in two matches to take place in March 2009.

Argentina got back to winning ways in the 2010 World Cup qualifying stage after goals from Leo Messi and Sergio Agüero gave them a 2-1 victory over Uruguay at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires.

The home side had a great start to the game, scoring their two goals in the first twelve minutes. Lionel Messi got the opening goal finishing a Riquelme cross with a header and then it was Kun Aguero who extended the lead. Lugano scored for Uruguay near the end of the first period. Despite suffering many fouls from the opposing defenders, Leo Messi found space and created danger on the right wing in the first half; the FC Barcelona forward had a quiet performance after the break until he was substituted by Daniel Díaz near the end of the match.

Argentina will next take on Chile in a game to be played in Santiago on Wednesday.

A spectacular first-half display from FC Barcelona saw them crush Atletico Madrid on the sixth round of the Spanish Liga yesterday at the Camp Nou.

From the very start of the game Atlético proved themselves completely unable to handle the intensity of Barça’s play. After only eight minutes the score was already 3-0 with goals from Márquez, Eto’o and Messi. Maxi scored for the colchoneros shortly after, but further strikes by Eto’o and Gudjohnsen made the score a stunning 5-1 at the break. The game was obviously over and in the second half Barça reduced the pace of their play. Thierry Henry, who came on substituting Samuel Eto’o, rounded off the night with a beautiful goal.

Leo Messi put in a fantastic performance. He was superb on the ball and made great touches and dribbles, including a brilliant run from the center circle finished with a shot that went inches wide. Lionel scored a sly free-kick and also showed great defensive spirit, winning many balls off the Atlético defenders. The Argentine star was substituted halfway through the second period to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd.

After this great victory, Barça will take a two-week break to give way to international matches. Leo Messi will join Argentina’s national side for two World Cup qualifying games against Uruguay and Chile.

Leo Messi spoke to the press after yesterday’s training session at the Camp Nou:

We play in the same way regardless of what particular players are on the pitch, because Barça’s style of play is very collective, rather than based on individual efforts. This makes winning easier

I don’t believe Barça has “Messi-dependence”. We are a team and each of us plays his part in winning games. I think I am well considered in the dressing room and on the pitch, but in the end I’m just like the other players

Kun Agüero and I get along very well, and we enjoy playing together. We’re good friends, but obviously each of us would like his own team to win this Saturday. The debate over which of us is the better player just doesn’t interest me
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