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Barcelona vs. Cordoba: Score, Grades and Reaction from La Liga Game

Published by Bleacher Report on Sat, 20 Dec 2014

Luis Suarez scored his first La Liga goal and Lionel Messi hit a late double as Barcelona won 5-0 at home to Cordoba at Camp Nou on Saturday.Signed from Liverpool in the summer for a reported 75 million, Suarez endured a goalless start to the season after serving a long ban for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup. But following Pedro's second-minute opener, Suarez netted early in the second half to double Barca's lead and notch his first goal in Spain's top flight.As Cordoba began to fade late in the second half, Gerard Pique headedBarca's third in the 80th minute and Lionel Messiadded two late strikes to round off the lopsided victory.The win took Barcelona to 38 points through 16 league matches, one point behind rivals Real Madrid, who will not play in La Liga until the new year due to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup.Saturday's match was Barca's last competitive game of 2014. Luis Enrique's side will resume their quest for the Primera Liga title at Real Sociedadon Jan. 4.Cordoba, who started the day one point adrift in the relegation places, will resume league play with a home match against Granada on Jan. 5.Barcelona needed little time to open the scoring. In just the second minute, Ivan Rakitic unlocked Cordoba's defence with a curling pass over the top, picking out Pedro's angled run into the box. Pedro controlled with his first touch and finished high at the near post with his second to give Barca the lead.Suarez had a big chance to score his first league goal for Barcelona in the 11th minute. But after Jordi Alba cut back into the danger area, the Uruguayan volleyed into the side netting.Cordoba had a chance in the 19th minute, whenNabil Ghilas ran onto a loose ball in Barcelona's half. After charging into the box down the away side's right flank, he fired into the side netting to give Barca a reprieve.The teams traded chances as half-time approached. Rakitic blasted over the bar in the 22nd minute, and Cordoba's BorjaGarcia had a snap shot from the left side of the box saved four minutes later. Barcelona had a penalty appeal turned down in the 27th minute after Patrick Ekeng felled Martin Montoya in the box.Pedro bounced a low shot just wide of the far post from outside the box in the 36th minute. Three minutes later, Fede Cartabia hit the outside of the near post after Cordoba countered at pace.The final chance of the first half fell to Pique, whose bouncing header was tipped over by Cordoba goalkeeper Juan Carlos.Despite the quick opener, it was a disappointing first half for Barcelona, who heard a few whistles from the home fans as half-time neared. But Suarez lifted the mood early in the second half, doubling Barca's advantage with his first league goal for the Blaugrana.The goal came in the 53rd minute, Iniesta unlocking Cordoba's defence with a pass through to Pedro on the left. Pedro pulled back into themiddle for Suarez, who controlled and finished through Carlos' legs from close range.Three minutes later, it was almost 3-0. Holding the ball outside the box on the right, Rakitic had a go from distance. The Croatian midfielder's powerful shot beat the 'keeper, but the ball slammed into opposite upright and bounced away harmlessly.Barcelona were finally beginning to appear comfortable, and they picked up a third goal in the 80th minute. Substitute Xavi Hernandez curled in a free-kick on the left, picking out Pique's run to the near post. After finding half a yard of space, Pique headed in powerfully for a 3-0 lead.Two minutes later, Messi made it four. Xavi served as provider again, swinging in a corner from the right. Cordoba failed to clear the ball, which fell to Messi. With time to pick his spot, Messi swept in a high shot with his right foot.The victory was secure, but Messi still had time for another goal. It was typically brilliant, the Argentinian pulling down a ball in the box with an expert touch before turning and finishingagain with his right footat the near post in stoppage time.GradesReactionTo follow
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