Barcelona sneaks key win in Mallorca thanks to Ibrahimovich goal

14:06, March 28, 2010      

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Barcelona's players celebrates Zlatan Ibrahimovic's (2nd L) goal against Mallorca during their Spanish first division soccer match at Onoestadi stadium in Mallorca March 27, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

A goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovich midway through the second half gave Barcelona a vital 1-0 win in Mallorca's ONO Stadium.

The Swede scored his third goal in three games to give his side three points that takes them back to the top of the table ahead of Real Madrid’s local derby against Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

Nevertheless Barcelona was forced to dig deep against a rival that had chances to take at least a point from the game

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola made several changes to his starting 11 with star player Leo Messi rested on the subs bench and Thierry Henry totally out of the side.

Pedro Rodriguez and young winger Jeffren accompanied Ibrahimovich in attack, while Xavi Hernandez was back in the squad after suffering a calf injury.

Mallorca kicked off having won all but one of its home games this season and was unlucky not to open the scoring after just 4 minutes when Aritz Aduriz hit the port with a powerful shot. Victor Valdes then reacted quickly to block the rebound from Chori Castro.

Gabi Milito responded for Barcelona after 27 minutes with a powerful header from a Pedro cross, but it was the turn of Mallorca keeper Dudu Aouate to shine.

It was an end to end game and Aouate twice more denied Ibrahimovich, before Jeffren shaved the crossbar with a powerful shot.

Valdes was again called into action in the last minute of the half, hurling himself across the goal to tip a Borja Valero free kick onto his left hand post, suffering a blow to his left shoulder in the process.

The Barcelona keeper was able to continue with no problem in the second half, but after 51 minutes Guardiola replaced Andres Iniesta with Messi. Iniesta looked to be struggling and could now be a doubt for next week’s Champions League quarter final away to Arsenal.

Mallorca soon replaced striker Victor with talented midfielder Julio Alvarez and the round of changes continued with Xavi returning to action at the expense of Toure Yaya.

Ibrahimovich scored for Barcelona after 62 minutes. The ball fell kindly for him after a corner and he had no problems smashing it past Aouate for his 15th goal of the season.

Aduriz had a goal ruled out for a clear offside five minutes later, but with Barcelona looking threatening Ibrahimovich again forced a save from Aouate.

Messi's appearance in the game coincided with his side's best football, although he should have finished better after a good run with just over five minutes remaining.

Mallorca pressed hard in the closing moments, but with Valdes looking secure they were unable to create any clear cut chances.

Source: Xinhua

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