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Sep 25, 2008

I have not figured out a word to describe FC Barcelona's performance in yesterday's match against Real Betis. They looked like hell bound on throwing away a match which should have esily won. Once again the opposition scored goals from the only chances they had. The positives from the game has to be the return of form or let me say interest from Lionel Messi. He was very good and looked at times ready to build a move along with his team mates. The hero of last two games had a average night and Barca inability to close the encounter early can be attributed to that. Eto looks like have found his goal scoring touch. Guardiola shuffled the team completely. Puyol was given rest and Caceres joined Marquez in central defense. Alves and Abidal played in their usual position of full backs. The midfield was made up of Xavi, Keita and Toure. The forward line-up remain unchanged with Iniesta, Eto and Messi.

FC Barcelona started the game very confidently. In the 4th minute Toure earned a free kick outside the box after an excellent run into the box. Then in the 7th minute Iniesta and Messi combined well from the left but the defense managed to clear the ball somehow. In the 12th minute Iniesta tried to reach Xavi with a great pass but was a bit heavy. Then in the 17th minute Eto put FC Barcelona one up with an wonderful goal. Messi played the ball to Eto just outside the box, turned to the right found a bit of space thundered his shot past the Goal Keeper to the inside of cross bar. Then in the 23rd minute both these players combined well to create the second goal, Messi took on the defensers with his speed and cuts the ball back to Eto, who perform the simplest of finish to sent Barca two up. In the 27th minute Enama almost pulled one back after rounding off Marquez but shoots high. In the 30th minute Messi in his usual self twists and turns past defenders but his shot was easily blocked by Goal Keeper Casto. Then in the 32nd minute Alves's good defending saw Jose Mari's dangerous cross getting cleared. Then in the 39th minute Alves run into the box turning past defenders but his clever chip somehow got deflected off the Goal Keeper.

Second Half start was a repeat of Gijon match; Barca players suddenly switched off. They were not helped by the stupid decision of Guardiola to continue with Keita and Toure in Midfield. Both of these players were fasting and there was no sense in continuing with them. They looked completely tired and were losing balls very cheaply. What this did was this shut down Iniesat completely from the game. In the 57th minute Jose Mari turned past Marquez but shoots wide. It was a begining of things to come. In the 58th minute Capi's powerful shot from way outside the box was saved by Valdes. Then in the 59th minute Toure concedes a free kick on the edge of the box; Monzon's free kick went through the defensive wall. Valdes was pretty unhappy with the wall. Then in the 67th minute Jose Mari equalised for Betis after recieving an excellent ball from Sergio garcia; Valdes could get only his finger tips to the ball. Guardiola reacted immediately by bringing on Busquests and Gudjonsen for Toure and Keita and then FC Barcelona started to take control of the game back. In the 69th minute Iniesta provided an excellent pass to Xavi outside the box who was brought down. the resulting free kick from Xavi was saved by Castro. In the 77th minute Eto was replaced by Bojan. In the 79th minute Bojan's excellent shot after a great individual play was saved by Goal Keeper Castro. Then in the 80th minute Barca went one goal ahead courtesy of an excellent finish by Gudjonsen. Alves inch perfect cross from right was put in to the far post by a sliding Gudjonsen. In the 85th minute Bojan should have put Barca two up but he shot straight at the Goal Keeper after Messi played him through. In the last ten minutes Messi was controlling the game totally, Betis defense were not able to stop him. Then in the dying minutes Alves's free kick was saved by Goal Keeper.

Barcelona played well and they deserve the victory. But questions would be asked about their second half performance and rightly so. They need to tighten up their game especially after a break.

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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