Tello shines as Barca outclass Zaragoza
Barcelona continued their march towards a 22nd La Liga title as a much-changed side were still too strong for struggling Real Zaragoza in a 3-0 win at La Romareda.
Thiago Alcantara got the visitors going with a tidy finish on 20 minutes and the Spanish international then played in Cristian Tello to make it 2-0 just before the break.
Tello showed great pace and poise to register his second of the evening seven minutes after the restart and there was even a rare clean sheet for Barca despite the absence of Gerard Pique at the back.
Tito Vilanova made six changes from the side that started Wednesday's exacting Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. However, it was one of those not rested that caused a surprise as Xavi started a league game for the first time since early February.
Of those to come into the side it was Tello who looked most likely to make an impression as he curled just over after barely a minute and then blasted another effort off target from Alexis Sanchez's clever cut-back 15 minutes later.
Zaragoza had dropped into the relegation zone due to Deportivo La Coruna's win on Saturday and their lack of confidence having not won a game at all this year was in evidence as they failed to trouble a makeshift Barca defence throughout the first-half.
Indeed the opening goal arrived from one of the few occasions when Zaragoza might have been able to put the visiting defence under pressure, but instead Barca broke upfield from a home corner and a neat exchange of passes between Thiago and Sanchez allowed the midfielder to sweep home just his second goal of the season.
Thiago was involved again as Barca doubled their advantage six minutes before the break as this time he and Tello combined to allow the winger to run through on goal and he showed great composure to slot past Roberto Gago.
Sanchez could even have had a third before the break but for a good reaction save by the Zaragoza keeper and the Chilean's luck was also out at the beginning of the second period as this time he lobbed Gago only to see the ball come back off the bar.
It didn't take long for the third Barca goal to arrive though as Tello showed off his frightening speed once more to dash past Glenn Loovens and slot into the far corner.
To their credit Zaragoza kept going and Paco Montanes forced Victor Valdes into his first save of the day with 28 minutes remaining.
However, they lacked the creativity needed to open up Barca and the Catalans comfortably held on to move 16 points ahead of Real Madrid, who take on Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday night.
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