Were it not for the heroics of Lionel Messi, who capped another brilliant performance with a fantastic third goal -- the winning goal -- against Deportivo in a 5-4 thriller at the Riazor on Saturday, Barcelona would have duly suffered its first loss of the La Liga season. Indeed, as Football Espana’s Frank Tigani says, “Barcelona’s defensive shambles almost cost them dearly.”
Oh, what a shambles it was. First, Javier Mascherano gave away a penalty with an ill-timed tackle. He was later sent off in the second half. Goalkeeper Victor Valdes’ committed a terrible error to lead to Depor’s second. Then, Sergio Busquets conceded a soft free-kick outside the box that led to home team’s third, before Jordi Alba scored the most bizarre of own goals with a perfect lob over Valdes to round off Depor’s scoring.
Once again, thanks to Messi’s hat trick, and his particularly brilliant solo run-and-shot for his third, Barca was able to come out on top, but Tigani points out that the Blaugrana had not conceded four goals in one game in three and a half years. They have now conceded nine goals in their last three games and have the seventh-worst defensive record in the league.