Barcelona rounded off a landmark day in Catalonia with a 3-0 win over Las Palmas inside the historically significant to the day's ongoings, but empty, Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon. 

By 90Min
October 01, 2017

Barcelona rounded off a landmark day in Catalonia with a 3-0 win over Las Palmas inside the historically significant to the day's ongoings, but empty, Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon. 

A second-half header from Sergio Busquets, who claimed his first goal for the club since November 2014, opened proceedings and was swiftly followed by Lionel Messi, who continued his great scoring form of this season, and this year, with a well-taken brace. 

However, the day will always be remembered for the afternoon Barca claimed all three points in front of an empty stadium, with the club electing to play the game behind closed doors following the incidents that had been taking place in the city throughout the weekend. 

The Catalonian referendum had sparked violence on the streets of Barcelona, and when a small pocket of the usual Camp Nou faithful stated their intentions of staging a pitch invasion in protest to political matters, the decision was made to deny supporters entry. 

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Barca did attempt to postpone the fixture to a date of less significance in what is described as the area's capital, however La Liga chiefs stated Ernesto Valverde's side would face an automatic 3-0 loss if they opted not to play the fixture at the pre-determined time, meaning the game was on, but in front of no-one inside a stadium where, not so long ago, was the only place the locals were permitted to speak the native tongue of Catalunya

It was a slower than usual opening inside the Camp Nou, which came as little surprise considering the circumstances, as the hosts struggled to create any substantial passages of play.

The visitors did, however, have goalkeeper Leandro Chichizola to thank for keeping the scores level on the 20-minute mark, after the 27-year-old produced an outstanding double-save to deny an inch-perfect Messi free-kick, before scrambling back to his feet to block out Luis Suarez's follow up from close range

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As the half ticked on Las Palmas grew in confidence, but, as has been the case all season, lacked the quality in the final third to really make their opportunities count, and the visitors were almost punished for their lacklustre finishing on the half-hour. 

Summer-singing Paulinho was found inside the area by Sergi Roberto, whose pace was tested to its limit when chasing down a through ball on the right-hand side, with a delightful cross, which the Brazilian was able to meet at pace. However, the 29-year-old couldn't direct his effort goal-bound, and the attempt skimmed past the motionless Chichizola's right-hand upright. 

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But as the La Liga clash approached half-time Barca almost found themselves going into the break a goal down, as Jonathan Calleri's first-time effort crashed off Marc-Andre ter Stegen's left-hand post after a smart by-line cut back from Oussama Tannane. 

But, Ernesto Valverde's side were able to hold out until referee José Munuera Montero brought a close to the opening 45 with the score still goalless. 

After the break, Barcelona, now with Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta present, put their opponents under substantial pressure - which told in less than five minutes as Busquets managed to rise above all else inside the area and head home Messi's beautifully-flighted corner to break the deadlock. 

After taking the lead the hosts continued to assert their dominance, limiting Las Palmas to very little in attack and creating a number of chances to double their lead. 

With 20 minutes to go the La Liga leaders finally took one of them, as Messi simply rounded the advancing Chichizola to tap the ball home following Denis Suarez's assist - whose well-timed pass sliced open the Las Palmas defence leaving the Argentine wizard with just the custodian to beat. 

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Just over five minutes later and the 30-year-old was at it again, this time rounding off a beautiful one-touch team goal. 

The league's leading scorer picked up the ball from deep before offloading his pass to Rakitic, whose first-time pass found Suarez who then returned the favour to Messi, leaving the Argentina international to simply slide the ball into the visitor's net and finalise an impressive three points on a surreal afternoon. 

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