Barcelona vs. Almeria: Final score 4-1, Blaugrana overpower Almeria

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Barcelona pulled away late after a tough test from Almeria to earn full points and close the gap on first-place Real Madrid.

Barcelona were tested by Almeria but in the end were simply too much as they pulled away late for a 4-1 victory. Alexis Sánchez and Lionel Messi scored in the first half and late second-half goals from Carles Puyol and Xavi secured all three points for the home side.

Barcelona have struggled at times this season to get their offense going, but it wasn't an issue in this match as they took the lead in the ninth minute. Cesc Fàbregas' shot from just inside the Almeria 18-yard box was stopped by Esteban but the rebound went right to Alexis Sánchez, who was more than happy to tap it in for the 1-0 lead.

Things didn't improve for Almeria as Barca doubled their lead in the 24th minute. Lionel Messi got a chance to line up a free kick from 20 yards out and curled a lovely strike over the wall and past Esteban to make it 2-0.

Almeria fought back two minutes later and pulled a goal back, taking advantage of Barca's continued inability to properly defend a set piece. This time it was a corner kick as Miguel Corona's cross was met by Ángel Trujillo, who went right past his marker and headed the ball past Victor Valdés.

Barca finally secured the points in the 83rd minute as Carles Puyol cleaned up a rebound off the crossbar. Messi made a great run and headed a big looping corner kick past Esteban and off the crossbar. The ball came down to Puyol, who was lurking at the near post, and the defender was more than happy to poke it over the line to extend the lead to 3-1.

Xavi added a fourth goal in the 89th minute with a lovely curling shot from 20 yards out.

The win moves Barcelona back into second place, one point behind the league leaders Real Madrid, who drew against Atlético Madrid earlier on Sunday.

Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas (Iniesta 79'), Sánchez (Pedro 72'), Messi, Neymar (Tello 88')

Goals: Sánchez (9'), Messi (24'), Puyol (83'), Xavi (89')

Almeria: Esteban, Rafita, Trujillo, Torsiglieri, Dubarbier, Verza, Corona (Tébar 72'), Azeez (Suso 79'), Jonathan, Aleix, Rodri (Barbosa 62')

Goals: Trujillo (27')

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