Sep 17, 2008

Xavi celebrating His Goal against SportingFC Barcelona started their Champions League campaign with a 3-1 victory against Sporting Lisbon. Goals from Marquez, Eto and Xavi made sure that Barcelona shrugg off their bad start in the League with a good disciplined performance. Pep Guardiola has already shown signs that he is not going to wait for things to happen; instead he is going to make it happen. FC Barcelona changed their formation from the usual 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 formation. It was more like a 3-1-3-3 formation where Alves played as a Right winger ahead of three man defense but behind three man midfield. This made sure that Barcelona wasn't caught that often on counter. The defense was made up of Puyol on the left, Marquez on the centre and Pique on the right. In the midfield Keita joined the creative force of Xavi and Iniesta. The forward line up was back to the familiar Henry, Eto and Messi combination.

FC Barcelona started the game quite confidently resting the majority of possesion early on. In the 2nd minute Iniesta saw his shot going just wide from outside the box. In the next minute Eto wasted a splendid cross from Henry in the left; he failed to control the ball; had he done that Barca would have been one up early on. In the 11th minute Alves who had a great game found Xavi in the box; but Xavi shot wide from a promising position. In the early minutes it was clear that the three forward weren't looking sharp. Especially Messi, who looked more like disinterested. In the 20th minute FC Barcelona goes one up when Marquez scored from the corner. It was good to see Barca approaching the corner a different way. xavi who took the corner sent the ball to the wide of far post. Marquez then headed the ball into the net. Marquez was clearly trying to reach Keita who was in the centre; but poor defending caused the ball to reach the back of net. After the goal as in Racing game Barcelona dropped the tempo a bit; but their back three and midfield were solid. In the 38th minute Messi fails to control a great pass from Iniesta. It was the third time it was happening with Messi just in the first half. In the 40th minute Henry Shot high from a beautiful pass from Iniesta. Then in the 45th minute Messi cut past two defender with a wonderful run; but he was too greedy tried to take too many defenders rather than passing to other players wasted a golden chance which he himself created. He was justifying Maradona's accusation that he is being too greedy.

After the break FC Barcelona was lucky not to concede a goal when Marquez was compeltely beaten by an aerial ball. Puyol was in the right place to intercept and get the ball to safety. In the 52nd minute Barcelona almost conceded a goal from a familiar position - the corner. One th counter Eto saw his shot deflected wide. Then in the 59th minute FC Barcelona was awarded the most stupid penalty I have seen in my life time. Eto jumped to head a cross from Alves; he was no where near the ball and fell down with the smallest of nudgest. Eto duly converted from the penalty to give FC Barcelona a two goal advantage. In the 66th minute Toure was brought in place of Eto, surprisingly Messi was not replaced. In 72nd minute Sporting scores from a free kick from the right of the box. Absolutely poor defending; usually we never use to pick the guy who scores, but this time there were two players around him, they both missed the cross. Guardiola by this time has allowed the game to drift a lot from Barcelona's control. But he immediately brought in pedro in place of Henry. That changed the tempo and Barcelona was in complete control in last fifteen minutes. Messi who looked like sleeping on the pitch came back to life in the last ten minutes. In the 81st minute, Messi made a wonderful run in to the box taking on two defenders; but his final shot was very well saved by the Goal Keeper. In the 85th minute Messi goes for another great run from the centre of the pitch and passes to Iniesta but he shot wide. Iniesta made ammence for that missed oppurtunity with an inch perfect pass to Xavi in the minute, which Xavi converted to take the lead back to two goals.

No way you can say that this was a clinical performance. I believe they played well against Racing than this one. But still it was a marked improvement and more over the players showed that they can scrap a win comfortably. The most positive of the game was that they did that with none of the three forwards in complete control of their game. Messi in particular was the worst player on the pitch. He looked lazy, appeared not interested and too greedy at many times. Alves, Marquez, Puyol and Pique had a solid game. Iniesta was the creative force. Guardiola immediately needs to talk to Messi and get things straight. If he is not commited then Pedro is a very good option down that right side. Marquez always baffles me, he is like a King on the ground but the moment the balls goes in air he becomes a pauper. And it was surprising to see that the fan's man of the match was Lionel Messi. Come on, Barca fans, wake up.

1 comments:

Juan y Fer said...

We will see tomorrow against Sporting the result, but for the moment I do not like Guardiola as the coach.
Regards,
http://saqueneutral.blogspot.com/
(a blog about sports in English and EspaƱol)

Post a Comment

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *

Infolinks

Top Ad 300x250

League Table

Search

Google Plus Hangout

Facebook Badge