With one eye on the Champions League, Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura decided to rest a number of their big stars against Deportivo La Coruña on Saturday evening. While the result was a less than emphatic Barcelona victory, they still brushed aside a struggling Depor side without too much of a problem. Lionel Messi came off the bench late and secured the win with a late goal, guiding Barcelona to a 2-0 win.
Alexis Sanchez, who has been woefully out of form lately, netted Barcleona's first goal at the end of a very impressive passage of play. The Blaugrana had been patiently building up their attacks to this point and had been unlucky not to score before the 38th minute, when Dani Alves set up the Chilean forward with a brilliant cross to the far post. Jordi Masip got a hand to the ball, but couldn't prevent it from crossing the line.
Depor never managed to get a shot on target during a generally uneventful second half. Things got a bit more interesting when Messi entered the game, though he didn't truly make his mark until he scored in the 88th minute at the end of a quintessential Barcelona move. He played an exchange with Andres Iniesta on the left side of the pitch before carrying the ball across the box by himself and laying the ball off for Sanchez. He played a quick return ball and Messi was in the perfect position to play a delicate chip over Masip to seal the victory for his team.
It was far from a perfect warm-up for this week's massive match against AC Milan, but Roura got to look at forwards Sanchez, David Villa and Christian Tello on the pitch at the same time, as well as Thiago Alcantara. Barcelona grabbed three points while getting a look at a number of fringe contenders for a starting place, which should help Roura and Vilanova pick their team to face Milan.