- Barca secures victory against Benifica with a 2-0 scoreline.
- Carles Puyol broke his arm and may miss action for sometime.
FC Barcelona secured their second victory of UEFA Champions League group stage with a 2-0 victory against Benifica. Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas secured Barca the three points. But the night's atmosphere were dampened with the news of Puyol injury. Puyol who returned from injury in this match looks to have broken his arm trying to score from a corner. Barca ended the match with ten men after Busquets received a straight red for a simple looking challenge. Everyone expected Puyol to gat some playing time in this match but not to start. But Tito Vilanova had other ideas. He started with Alves, Puyol, Mascherano and Alba in the defense. Xavi, Busquets and Cesc started in middle. Pedro, Messi and Alexis started upfront. Once again Villa started on the bench along with Pinto, Song, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta and Tello.
We started in our normal way keeping possession. It took two minutes for Benifica had their first touch, but they almost made it count forcing a save from Valdes. In the 6th minute Alexis Sanchez put us ahead when he directed an excellent Lionele Messi cross across the face of the goal into the goal. In the 11th minute Valdes pulled on a brilliant one-on-one save to deny Benifica the equaliser. We looked very shaky in defense with none of the back four showing any bit of understanding. Benifica were placing themselves in good position to counter and were causing a bit of problem on the break. In the 22nd minute Sanchez squared the ball to Messi, whose shot was brilliantly saved by keeper. In the 24th minute Xavi sent in a long cross to Sanchez, who brought the ball under control but shot high over the bar. Our passing was a bit off throughout the field and that was putting our defense in unwanted pressure. Which meant we were allowing too many speculative shot at our goal. In the 44th minute Pedro send in a great cross into the box, but it eluded both Xavi and Alexis. The half ended at 1-0 to Barca, but the way our defense were getting exposed at times it was clear that we needed more.
In the 56th minute Cesc Fabregas made it 2-0 after Lionel Messi put him through. In the 72nd minute Vilanova brought in Iniesta for Cesc Fabregas. In the 74th minute Lionel Messi rushed in and headed a cross from Alba, which was saved by the keepr diving full stretch. In the 76th minute Puyol got injured after landing awkardly on his arm. That looked liek a broken arm. This was a very bad injury and he is definite to miss action for many months now. Song came in for Puyol. In the 82nd minute David Villa came in for Pedro. In the 88th minute Busquets was given a straight red card for a simple challenge. No idea why the red was given.
The Puyol injury looked really bad but if the initial reports have to be believed it's a dislocated elbow. If that's the case then it is not such a bad news. But I fear for the worse as the pictures showed really bad. As far as the game is concerned, it wasn't a classic Barca performance. Actually we were far from our usual standards. Lionel Messi had an off night but still provided two assist, now that's why people say he is one of the greatest. Having seen Puyol's injury, I am worried of how we will line-up in defense against Real Madrid. That's going to freak Vilanova a bit.