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Barca's possession domination ends

Updated: 2013-09-23 06:55
(China Daily)

Spanish champion Barcelona had less possession than its opponents for the first time in more than five years on Saturday during its 4-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

Despite its significant advantage in the scoreline, the Catalans enjoyed just 45 percent of the ball ending an incredible 316 match streak dating back to their 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid in May 2008.

The statistic is further evidence of how new Barca boss Gerardo Martino is looking for his side to play with more variation than it has over the past five years under Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

Defender Dani Alves claimed after the 4-0 win over Ajax that Barca is in a "transitionary period" as it adjusts to Martino's ideas. And Gerard Pique also conceded in a recent interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport that it had become obsessed with its short-passing style in recent years.

However, Pedro Rodriguez, who scored three of Barca's four goals at Vallecas on Saturday, believes the most important thing is that Barca keeps winning.

"We are continuing with our ideals of how to play. We are pressing high and maybe playing a bit more direct, but I think that we are still achieving good results," he told Gol TV.

Despite struggling at times during Martino's two-month spell in charge, Barca is at the top of La Liga having won all five of its league games this season.

It also regained the Spanish Super Cup with an away goals victory over Atletico Madrid and made a winning start to its Champions League campaign with the thrashing of Ajax on Wednesday.

Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 09/23/2013 page23)

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