Sep 20, 2009

For the second time in a row, Atletico Madrid's visit to Camp NOu turned out to be a nightmare. But it was better than last time, I mean they score one more and conceded one less too this time around. With this heavy defeat Atletico's start to the season has gone from bad to worse. First half goals from Ibrahmovic, Messi, Alves and Keita, and an injury time strike from Messi condemned Atletico's to their heaviest defeat this season. Aguero and Forlan both scored in either half as consolation for the Madrid based side. Lionel Messi was on fire throughout the night and it was good to see him scroing twice especially after penning a huge deal which keeps him with Barca till 2016. Guardiola decided to start Iniesta from the bench and that means Busquest started alongside Keita in the middle. Valdes as usual occipied the goal keeper role. Alves, Pique, Chygrrynskiy and Maxwell fromed the defense. The midfield had Xavi, Busquets and Keita lined-up. And as everyone expected the attacking trio were - Messi, Ibrahmovic and Henry.

FC Barcelona were looking to atatck from the word go and the early indication were there with Henry hitting the bar from the left corner of the box in the 54th second. FC Barcelona didn't have to wait for the opening goal much as the next attack saw Ibrahmovic scoring his thrid goal of this season from as many matches. The moves tarted with Maxwell playing the ball to Busquets in the middle; BUsquest then played a delightful ball to Ibrahmovic in the box; Ibrahmovic showed his class with the finish flicking the ball past an advancing goal keeper. I definitely thought the goal keeper had a better chance to deal with that if he held his line. As I have written in my preview, an early goal means huge trouble for A.Madrid. Henry was rampant from the left side throughout the match and in the 13th minute send in a great cross into the box finding Messi in the far post but some desperate defending blocked Messi's shot. In the 16th minute Barca doubled the lead with Messi scoring from a wonderful ball from Xavi. Xavi played the ball above the defense spotting Messi's run on the right; Messi was helped by the Atletico Right-Back who played him onside; he took the ball on his chest and then rounded off the goalie and then simply put the ball into the net.

It was clear that Atletico's night was going to be tough, but then that will not deter Atletico's attack force and they had two decent chances ; both fell for Maxi who couldn't make them count. He first struck staright at Valdes and the second one hit the side netting after Chygrrynskiy gave away the ball. Barca increased their lead in the 30th minute from a free kick by Valdes from 30 yards out. Alves low free kick dipped and bounced infront of goal keeper on his way to the far leaft corner making it difficult for the custodian. FC Barcelona had a huge scare in the 37th minute with Valdes completely stranded. Forlan was played on by a great pass breaking the Barca's high offside trap. Valdes rushed from his line but didn't reach the ball but did enough to force Forlan wide. Barca ended the match as a contest in the 41st minute from a goal from Keita. Ibrahmovic lifted the ball to Messi in the box who did a kind of 360 degree turn (it was more like two 180 degree turn) and send in a pass to keita in the middle who had only to put the ball in the net. Surprisingly the central defenders stood there and watched the whole time. Atletico scored one back in the 45th minute when a Busquets back pass fell in path of Aguero who made no mistake with his execution.

Everyone knew what will happen in the second half. We did not show any intensity as the contest was ended in the first half. Messi had a great chance in the 56th minute when Henry sent in a great pass to Messi but the goal keeper got a hand to the ball stopping Messi on his tracks. The goal keeper would have been relieved as it was his kick which found straight into Henry. Guardiola took Xavi off and brough in Iniesta. In the 65th minute Barca had a definite penalty appeal after Messi with a serious of turn looked to have been blocked off inside the box. In the 79th minute Forlan had a great chance to score but he blasted high over the bar. But Forlan was never to be denied as he scored in the 84th minute with an excelelnt finish. But Barca completed off the rout with an excellent finish from Messi in the 94th minute after excellent work from Iniesta and Pedro.

This was a sensational performance by Barca team especially with the likes of Iniesta on the bench. Ibrahmovic had a better day than any of his previous but he at times drifts out of the game. There is no denial that the scoreline was helped by the Atletico defense but kudos to Gaurdiola's boys to have put immense pressure on them. Messi was sensational, so was Xavi. Iniesta looked so good in the little playing time he got. Henry and Keita who had a bad day against Inter came back spitting fire.

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