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Barcelona 4-0 Espanyol

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Pedro: Back on form

Pedro: Back on form

Pedro returned to form as Barcelona cruised to an emphatic 4-0 victory over local rivals Espanyol on Sunday night to start 2013 in superb style.

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Barca have been away and clear at the top of La Liga for some time now and with Tito Vilanova returning to the dugout, after starting treatment for cancer, they were keen to impress after the winter break.

Periquitos were never really in this game as their illustrious local rivals tore them apart in a devastating opening half hour which would have scared any team on the planet.

The only surprise was that the opening goal of 2013 was not scored by Lionel Messi as a flowing team move saw Andres Iniesta pick out Xavi's late run into the box and he duly slotted beyond the goalkeeper.

Ten minutes gone and already the visitors were in trouble. The second goal arrived just five minutes later with Cesc Fabregas showing some superb footwork to weave his way to the byline and cut back for Messi to strike but his wayward effort was deflected in by Pedro from six yards out.

The Spain international, who struggled for goals in 2012, confirmed his return to form with a delightful second as he beat the offside trap and clipped the ball over the onrushing Kiko Casilla on 27 minutes.

Less than a minute later the hosts had a penalty as Casilla sent Fabregas tumbling and this time it was Messi who stepped up and stroke the ball home to get himself underway for the calendar year.

The Blaugrana stepped off the gas after that but still could have stretched their lead further in the second half.

Pedro was denied his hat-trick on two separate occasions by an incorrect offside flag, much to his frustration, while Messi clipped the crossbar with a superb free-kick from 25 yards.

Espanyol just never got out of the blocks and Victor Valdes was a spectator throughout as the hosts opened up a 12-point lead over Atletico Madrid who play later in the evening.

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Posted: 06/01/13 21:14

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