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Memphis Depay 8, Sergio Busquets 8, Ferran Torres 6

Memphis Depay 8, Sergio Busquets 8, Ferran Torres 6


Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said he was delighted to see Ansu Fati make his return from long-term injury after the Spanish teenager came off the bench during Sunday’s 2-1 La Liga victory over Mallorca.

Goals in either half from Memphis Depay and Sergio Busquets gave Barca a 2-0 lead at Camp Nou before Antonio Raillo halved the deficit with 11 minutes remaining. The victory returns Barcelona to second in the table and a step closer to securing Champions League football for next season.

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Beyond the goals, the biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for Fati, who came off the bench to make his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in January.

“He’s a special player. His goalscoring sense is remarkable,” said Xavi of the 19-year-old forward.

“In training it’s raining goals. He needs to be in the box, that’s why I brought him in as a centre-forward, and also because he still lacks a bit of rhythm to play on the wing. But his return is great news for Barcelona.”

Barca took the lead in the 25th minute as Depay made a clever run to collect Jordi Alba’s pass before thumping a fine half-volley into the bottom corner.

The Dutchman has scored 11 league goals since joining Barcelona from Lyon last summer, despite having struggled for a regular starting spot since the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal in January.

The hosts doubled their advantage nine minutes after the break as Busquets drove a low shot from the edge of the box to score for the third time this season in all competitions, equaling his previous best goalscoring campaign.

Barca thought they had added a third in the 73rd minute, but Ferran Torres’ effort after a desperate goalmouth scramble was ruled out for an offside earlier in the move.

Mallorca ensured that their opponents would at least endure a nervy finale to the match when Raillo pulled one back but Barca were able to see out the victory, leaving Mallorca only one point ahead of 18th-placed Granada, who drew 1-1 with Celta Vigo , in the fight to beat the drop.

“I’m rather satisfied. Especially with the victory, but also with the game,” said Xavi.

Assessing the performances from Camp Nou, Andy Mitten has provided his Barcelona player ratings in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next photo, click on the arrows or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: May 02, 2022, 4:30 AM

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