Mar 15, 2013

It had to happen, you cannot keep Barca and Ibrahimovic away from each other. We had to meet each other. He may have tamed down a bit on criticism about our boys after going to Paris Saint-Germain, but there is no lack of passion when he face us. Unfortunately for PSG he is suspended for the first leg and will only play at the Camp Nou, our backyard. The first leg against Paris Saint-Germain would be held on the 2nd of April and the return leg will be on 10th of April. We hold a slight advantage of playing the second leg at home, but that does not mean we have to do a San Siro performance again. The key will be to do well at Paris. The other Quarter-Finals are Bayern Munich vs Juventus, which is the toughest match in the Quarter Final, the second toughest have to be ours. Real Madrid has been paired to face Galatasaray with the second leg being played at Turkey. The Malaga, the third Spanish side to Qualify Malaga has been handed out a very tough tie facing Borussia Dortmund.

Mar 14, 2013

Mar 13, 2013

Last night was "The Night" - One to remember for time to come, One we will be proud to have watched happening, One which gave a real answer to nay-sayers and the haters who said that "The Era was Over". But for all those who love to watch football at it beautiful best, last night was all about joy and pleasure. They say the "Barcelona of the Old was back" and they were right. We were playing like we did during the prime time under Guardiola. Actually we were playing better than that when you consider the tactical innovation that happened in the match and also the pressure we were under going into this match. Surely we had the luck going our way, had that Niang scored before our second goal, thing could have been tensed. But to argue that this side wouldn't have reacted to that was ridiculous. Our boys and management would have taken that into account and looked absolutely ready to score four goals in the night, if necessary. And to the nay-sayers , who conveniently forget the fact that we should had a clear cut penalty and the sending off Abate way before that event, I have only one things to say - time to get out of your fantasy world. The enormity of task was overwhelming. Let's see how hard it was - first we had to score at least three goals and that too without conceding, that has to be done by a team which struggled to score recently and conceded goals just for fun in every match, also this has to be done against a team which is going to sit back and counter(Barca's problem all the time). That was huge task and we did that with beauty and grace. From one step out of the Champions league we are back as firm favorites.

  • FC Barcelona secures Spot in UEFA Champions League Quarter Final with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Milan.
  • Barca created history by Completely overturning the first leg deficit.

It has never been done before - never in the history of UEFA Champions League a team has overturn a two goal advantage from first leg without in which they haven't scored. Not anymore. Our boys needed to turn around a 2-0 defeat from the first leg and boy, they did it in style. They thumped this AC Milan side 4-0 to book their place in the Quarter Finals. This should hurt Milan like teh way teh 94 final result hurt us, they had one foot in the Quarters. So that's a sweet revenge. Two first half goals from Messi, both of them were sensational made us equal on aggregate. Another goal from David Villa gave us the lead and the late goal from Jordi Alba completed the rout. People used to say that this Great Team has a Great Comeback missing from their portfolio. Not anymore, this would be as good as it gets. The starting line-up selected by Tito was Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi and Villa. The line-up looked like a 4-3-3 with false 9 but in reality was a much more adventurous one. We played with a three man defense and also Villa was playing ahead of Messi, who was having a free role. It was similar to the line-up I suggested in my match preview. Milan started with their strongest line-up with Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant, Montolivo, Ambrosini, Flamini, Boateng, Niang and ElShaarawy.

Mar 11, 2013

“Som un Equip” (“We are a team”) will be the slogan featuring on the huge Camp Nou mosaic ahead of the Milan clash. And it's quite apt. We need the players to fire as a team and which was very evident from the first leg at San Siro. The 2-0 scoreline shocked the entire team and fan base. What really humiliated us was the fact that Milan never had to work hard to neutralize us. That sense of humiliation became much harder with the double loss to big rival's Real Madrid. There were signs of a recovery at the weekend against Deportivo. One may argue that a game against Deportivo is no match to judge against Milan. But with Barca everything depend on the way we play. So there were enough positives with our first half display, also there were some worrying negatives also(I will get back to that later). So with a deficit of 2-0, the equation is pretty clear - we may need an offensive and defensive display of the likes we haven't seen in the recent weeks to turn this around. The situation is pretty difficult - a goal from AC Milan - then we have to score four goals to go through. In these circumstances it is usual to write off the chances of our team, especially when we have never in recent memory staged a come back like this against a team which will defend deep. But as Xavi very well said after the Milan defeat - the only thing lacking in this team's portfolio is a "Tremendous Comeback in Europe". The signs were there against Deportivo, so what the team needs now is our full and earnest support.

Mar 10, 2013

FC Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to fourteen points with a fighting 2-0 victory against Deportivo at the Camp Nou. A first half goal from Alexis and another one from Messi late in second half secured us the all three points. Messi has now scored 40 times in the league this season.The match may have been a usual La Liga encounter, but there was no denial of the fact that everyone's thoughts were on the Milan clash on Tuesday. Considering the importance of the task ahead on Tuesday against Milan it wasn't much of a surprise to see a lot of important players being rested. So the first eleven which was picked to face Deportivo were Pinto, (who replaced Valdes who is suspended for four matches), Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Cesc, Song, Thiago, Alexis, Villa and Tello. The bench had Masip, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro and Messi. The fact that both Villa and Puyol started was a source of encouragement, but I had my doubts whether this is an indication whether they will not start against Milan?

Mar 7, 2013

  • With consecutive defeats to Milan, Real Madrid and again Real Madrid, Barca has endured the most difficult week in recent times.
  • With innovation coming from strategy or tactics, the team appeared completely lost on the field.

When Adriano was brought down by Ramos in the penalty box in the dying moments of the La Liga encounter at Santiago Bernebeu, every Barca fan shouted Penalty. But that wasn't the case to be. The referee Miguel Perez waved off the penalty claims. That was a penalty, a stone cold penalty. But every Barca fan should stop shouting and thank Miguel Perez for denying that. One could measure a bit of injustice in the decision(hence the Valdes reaction), but how our season will shape this season and may be coming season depended on that decision. Thank God for not giving that penalty. Had it been given, Cules would have gone back justifying the 2-2 draw as a just result. The bottom line was that not even in a single one of the recent defeats - 2-0 against Milan, 3-1 against Real in Copa and 2-1 against Real in League, we looked like a team which can claim as the "Best in the World". We looked static, tired, devoid of ideas and passion and more dangerously looked seriously disinterested. A 2-2 result would have masked all these problems once again. Many were dismissive of the Copa defeat, saying that Copa was a not so important cup. The danger signs were already there but we failed to see it, or simply put Messi was masking the entire fault by his own virtuoso Performance.

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