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Feb 21, 2008

Celtiv vs BarcelonaAfter a long time, indeed a very long time we got a chance to witness the awesome firepower in the Barcelona ranks. With their performance against Celtic they might have again reignited the hope of seeing the magnificent Barcelona again. One of the main reason of Barcelona's awesome display was a very much improved performance, may be his best this season by the biggest of all stars - Ronaldinho. As I described in the Zaragoza match report he looked very comfortable on the pitch. Rijkaard threw up some surprises when he put Ronaldinho in the starting eleven. Eto rightly was not rushed into competitive match and started in the bench. But biggest surprise for me was Deco's presence in the starting line up, he was erratic in the early matches and i expected him to be dropped. Rijkaard decided to place his trust on him and he did absolute justice to his manager's decision making skill. With a 3-2 win Barcelona almost have placed a foot in the next round. But complacency will be Barcelona's enemy, they just have to look back to last year Copa Del Rey tie with Getafe for evidences. But then Barcelona in this scenario has the advantage of playing the second leg at home and it will be too tough for Barcelona to concede two goals in Camp Nou without scoring at least one, then nothing can be predicted.

Barcelona started with Ronaldinho on the left, Henry donning the centre forward cap and Messi back in his Favorite right position. The midfield was made up of Yaya, Deco and Iniesta. Yaya's presence indeed calmed down the nerves of Barcelona team and he had an excellent game. Milito and Marquez formed their formidable partnership in the centre of defense with Puyol on right and Abidal on left. As expected the atmosphere at Celtic Park, Glasgow was more than electrifying. Barcelona looked very sharp from the beginning and took very little time to settle down. In the 2nd minute Ronaldinho gave long through cross to Messi, but he fails to convert. This was no spectacular moment in the match, but was enough to reassure the Barca fans that he has not lost the good touch which he displayed at Zaragoza. In the 13th minute Iniesta saw his hot saved by Celtic Goalie Artur Boruc after the defense gave the ball away. A minute later Henry was denied by the Caddis just in front of line from a corner, which Henry skillfully controlled by his chest and volleyed. In the 16th minute Celtic shocked Barcelona by scoring their first goal from their only attack till then. It all started from a poorly taken free kick by Ronaldinho which found McGeady in the far right, Puyol, was not able to stop MCGeady's run and his cross was not cleared by the defense. It eventually found McDonald and his clear cut cross in to the box was turned in to the net by a diving Vennegoor of Hesselink. If Celtic goal shocked the entire Barcelona team, then Barcelona equaliser went unnoticed for a moment. The stadium hardly started celebrating the first Celtic goal Barcelona struck back through Messi after a beautiful one two with Deco. Barcelona slowly started taking control of the game from that moment. Ronaldinho was involved in every move and has been successful in dragging defenders along with him to create spaces for others. In the 22nd minute Marquez wins a free kick in a good position outside the box, Ronaldinho's free kick was just a little high but was not bad. Barcelona was constantly raiding the Celtic defense but the final clear cut ball was not coming. In the 28th minute Deco was indeed very lucky not to pick up a yellow card, as he grabbed the ball claiming a handball. Deco could not wait too much for that yello as he managed to put his name in referee's book after two minutes when he did not back up from a free kick. In the 34th minute Puyol crosses into the box and founds Messi, who tries to volley but couldn't control. The angle was too tight. In the 36th minute Abidal muscles out Nakamura and sends a great pass towards Henry in the box, but Henry shot over the bar. Then as in the first Goal after Barcelona wasted a chance at Celtic goal, Celtic went ahead with debutant Barry Robson's header. Again the all attack started with the same man Aiden McGeady who lifted the ball into the area which was lobbed past Valdes by Robson, who came in late and avoided Milito's notice. In the 40th minute Deco and Messi tried to replicate the first goal but this time Boruc comes early and collects it. In the 43rd minute Ronaldinho finds Messi in the box, but to shoot awfully wide. In the 44th minute Robson steals ball from Abidal and passes to McGeady who shoots slightly wide after cutting inside Puyol. Barcelona went into the first half with a goal down; this was the first occasion in 2008 where they have conceded more than one goal in a match.

After the break it was a complete Barcelona show. In the 51st minute Messi shot was deflected; Iniesta volleyed wide from the resulting corner. In the 52nd minute Henry restore parity with a trademark Thierry Henry goal. Ronaldinho placed the ball in to the path of Henry who moved inside the box and curled the ball into the far right corner. What a finish!!!! Maybe this might be the start of the Henry era. In the 55th minute Puyol places a very good pass to Messi inside the Box, but Robson did well to kill the chance. In the 58th minute the fantastic three - Henry, Messi and Ronaldinho displays why they are revered such high. Messi give the ball to Ronnie from the right and cuts in, Ronaldinho gives it back with an exquisite back heel, inside the box Messi gives the ball to Henry but the defense somehow managed to cut off the final ball from Henry to Messi. In the 62nd minute Messi shoots straight at the Goal Keeper after a great run into the box. In next minute Henry misses agonizingly close after Abidal finds him in the box. In the 75th minute Xavi's wonderful free kick finds Puyol in the box but heads straight at Boruc. Then in the 78th minute Messi put Barcelona in the lead for the first time in the match when he latched on to a poor clearance from defense. The match ended with Samaras getting booked for a dive inside the penalty box.

Barcelona looked sharp and may be this is a sign for things to come. Milito was for me the best player on the pitch. Messi looked like rediscovering his touch, Henry looks dangerous when he slotted in the left and most importantly our Hero Ronaldinho is slowly coming back.

Messi First Goal 1-1

Henry Goal 2-2

Messi Second Goal 2-3

visit FutBolCuyuz for rest of Goals

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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