Sep 17, 2009

FC Barcelona started their UEFA Champions League defense with a goal-less draw at San Siro. This is never a bad result but with the chances we had we could have come out with three points with ease. It was a clash of the best atatck in the world against one of the most organised defense in the world. This was billed as the match-up between Eto and Ibrahmovic. Eto never had a sniff of our goal but Ibrahmovic wasted some golden oppurtunities. From the evidence of tonight's match, it is clear that Ibrahmovic will take hell lot of time to get in sync with the team mates and it is yet to be seen whether it will make our La Liga title defense more worse. Guardiola decided to start Iniesta from the bench for this match. Valdes started at the goal. Alves, Puyol, Pique and Abidal started in defense. The midfield was made up of Xavi, Toure and Keita. Henry, Ibra and Messi formed the attacking trio.

Barca cam on top in the early exchanges and could have gone three up within the first ten minutes. In the second minute xavi played the ball to Messi; Messi set off in a great run cutting inside two defenders but his low shot was well saved by Julio Cesar. In the 8th minute Ibrahmovic wasted Barca's best chance of the match. Xavi sent in a great cross to Ibra putting him ahead of the defense; he did the tough job of controlling the ball well with a great first touch but then volleyed an easy chance high. Then in the next minute Messi's header from Alves cross was saved by Cesar. After that our pace drop a lot and Inter started getting a foot hold in the match. Milito and Eto were working very high strangling our defense and that pressure cut off our smoot movement. The absence of Iniesta affected us a lot in this phase as Keita looked completely out of sort. In the 29th minute Inter had their first decent chance when our defense gave Milito a chance to run in from a long ball from Julio Cesar but Valdes did well to save his strike. In the 33rd minute Wesley Sneijder saaw his effort fly over. There was a huge scare when in the 40th minute Abidal slipped in the box giving Eto a sighting but Pique did well to clear. In the 41st minute Xavi played a great ball to Alves breaking the offside trap; Alves played the ball back to Keita who shot wide from an easy position. he should have atleast forced the Kulio Cesar to make a save there. Then in the 45th minute Messi saw his effort tipped over by Juli Cesar but the Inter Milan custodian had everything under control in that position.

Barca started the second half with more intent. We started dominating the possession and pinned the Inter completely back to their half. In the 62nd minute Keita shot high after the ball has been laid off to him by Ibrahmovic. In the 66th minute Eto played a great ball playing Milito on; but luckily for us he loses his footing inside the box allowing Puyol to get back on and rebound fell to Stankovic and his effort went just high of far post. Then in the 72nd minute Barca wasted their best chance of second half - Alves and Messi combined well down the right; Alves played the ball to Henry ; Henry controlled the ball and send in a low cross in but both Messi and Alves cancelled each other with their desperate lunge and the ball went wide. Henry had a poor first half but was getting into the game in the second half. And hence it was a surprise to see Guardiola replacing him with Iniesta in the 76th minute, when actually keita was doing nothing on the pitch. In the 85th minute Inter had a great chance to break but Toure read the situation well and pulled back Santon earning him a yellow card in the process.

It was not a classical Barca performance and we lacked the speed and movement for major part of the game. Guardiola's tactic of not using his substitutes is annoying. Iniesta should have been brought just after the hour mark in place of Keita. Keita looked very poor throughout the match. Abidal had a very tough first half but did well in the second. Toure looked very scrappy in the first twenty minutes but looked composed after that. Ibrahmovic was slowing down most of Barca's move and he needs to improve on finishing. He was brought to probvide more aerial threat but he never came on top not even a single time in those situations. Messi looked good but the best player on the pitch for Barca was Xavi.

1 comments:

Bibin said...

Keep the discussion coming guys... Post your views about the match here... We can debate, fight and just have fun...

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