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Messi, Iniesta & Co rested

Barcelona B-team cruise past Zaragoza

Bayern’s Champions League semi-final opponents Barcelona continue to march inexorably towards another Spanish championship triumph. On Matchday 31 out of 38, and despite resting a host of first-team regulars, the Catalan giants comfortably won 3-0 away to Real Zaragoza and remain 13 points clear of rivals Real Madrid, winners by the same score over Athletic Bilbao, with seven games to play.

Thiago Alcantara (20) and Tello (39) scored for the visitors before half-time at Estadio La Romareda. Tello completed his brace and rounded off the scoring on 53 minutes, sealing a 26th victory of the campaign for Blaugrana.

Faced with the side lying 18th in the table, Barça boss Tito Vilanova opted not to select a number of his star names. World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, and Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were omitted from the squad for the trip to Zaragoza, with the likes of Gerard Piqué, David Villa and Pedro left on the bench. Midfield maestro Xavi played but was substituted before the end.

Energy levels are running low in the run-in to the end of the season, acknowledged Vilanova’s assistant Jordi Roura on Saturday. “We’ve had an appalling match schedule and a lot of poor luck with injuries too. We want to rebuild a number of our players physically before facing Bayern,” he explained. As for the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, Roura feels they are “very strong” and “perhaps to be regarded as favourites.”

In the Champions League last four tie, the Catalans visit the Allianz Arena in Munich for the first leg on 23 April, with the return eight days later in Camp Nou.