Before he was substituted during the first half, Lionel Messi netted his eighth La Liga goal of the season and Barcelona eventually coasted to a 2-0 victory over Almeria on Saturday night at Mediterraneo.
Boss Gerardo Martino pulled the Argentine for Xavi in the 29th minute, eight minutes after his goal, due to a thigh injury. Although it was more a precautionary measure, Messi will reportedly undergo tests on Sunday.
Defender Adriano also scored in the 56th minute, creating enough of a buffer for the Catalans to remain undefeated in league play.
With 35 total fouls and three yellow cards issued, it’s no wonder Messi left with a knock. Barcelona defender Marc Bartra was booked first in the 26th minute, followed quickly by Almeria midfielder Verza’s yellow in the 28th. Sergio Busquets earned the Catalans second yellow in the 89th.
In the 20th minute, Dani Alves won a free kick deep in Almeria’s zone, and restarted play with a quick pass to Messi. After fighting off two defenders, Messi worked the give-and-go with Pedro, and gunned a left-foot shot to the bottom left corner of the net.
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It was the second assist for Messi this season, and Cesc Fabregas posted his sixth assist with a perfectly placed ball to Adriano in front of the net.
Barcelona, who have seven La Liga wins in seven matches, will face Celtic on Tuesday in Champions League group play, while Almeria are off until Oct. 6 when they travel to Sevilla. Almeria have just three team points this season.