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Apr 26, 2009

FC Barcelona grabbed a point from the match against Valencia with a late goal from Thierry Henry. FC Barcelona now moves seven point clear of Real Madrid, but Madrid can cut that lead back to four points tonight. The pressing and quick counter attack from a very talented and in-form Valencia side troubled throughout the match. FC Barcelona players were sloppy in passing and they have to pay with two dropped points. Guardiola have earlier called this game the pivotal game as far as La Liga is concerned, but he didn't show the respect for the game. FC Barcelona coach and players had their encounter with Chelsea in mind and almost paid dearly for that. Two seasons ago we started a spectacular catapulation after a defeat at Valencia and handed the league title to Madrid. But this time we came out with a precious point from Mestalla. Guardiola decided to rest Toure and Henry and that cost us the win. In my preview to the match - Valencia vs Barca Preview I emphasised the neccesity to start with the best side against Valencia, but we started with a ultra slow midfield and gave up the match because of that. Guardiola paired Pique and Puyol in the centre and had Abidal and Alves as full backs infront of Valdes. The midfield was made up of Busquuest, Keita and Xavi. The atatcking trio was Iniesta, Eto and Messi. The fact that we ahd Busquets and keita in midfield means that we never had a constant service to our front three nor did we controlled the possession.

The match started off with both team wrestling hard to retain possession without any success. But Valencia was taking control of the game slowly. As expected with an ultra slow and defensive midfield we were losing the midfield battle; there were many sloppy passes and nonsense defending. In the 11th minute Alves has to come and clear a great ball toward Villa from the left. Barca's first shot came in the 15th mimnute when Messi shot high from an excellent Iniesta pass. Then against the run of play Barca went ahead with a goal from Lionel Messi. Messi and Iniesta exchanged a couple of passes to split Valencia defense , Iniesta held onto the ball to draw the defense and then squared the ball to Messi who made no mistake. The goal looked to have calmed Barca nerves and the next 5 minutes saw total dominance by Barca. In the 27th minute Keita got into the box and squares the ball to Messi, who shot straight at the Goal keeeper, Cesar. In the 28th minute Eto's shot from outside box goes just wide. But Barca again reduced their intensity and that resulted in relentless pressure from Valencia. In the 29th minute Valencia had a double penalty claim by Villa and Silva, but the referee turned down the appeal. The replays showed both players went down easily. In the 43rd minute a great header from Silva was plamed away by Valdes for corner. The resulting corner resulted in the Valencia equaliser when Maduro got to the end of it. Valdes went for the ball and as expected completely missed the ball and collided with his captain; Valdes for some reason decides to catct the ball rather than punch it away. If he has decided to punch it away that would have been the most harmless corner. FC Barcelona were still reeling from the effect of that equaliser when Valencia took the lead. In the 1st minute of injury time Pablo exchanged passes with Villa to break Barca defense and shot low past Valdes to make scoreline 2-1 in favour of home side. Puyol and Alves stood there watching the entire move.

As expected Barca came out with more determination to win the match. But for some starnge reason Guardiol decided to continue with Busquets who has been poor through out the match. In the 53rd minute Iniesta send in a great ball but both Eto and Messi were not able to reach it. In the 61st minute Valdes comes to rescue a great counter by Valencia. Guardiola finally decided to take Keita off and bring in Henry in the 63rd minute. In the 64th minute Henry shot straight at Cesar from outside the box. In the 66th minute a great shot from henry was saved by Cesar. In the 76th minute a below-par Xavi was taken off and was replaced by Gudjohnsen. Then in the 86th minute Barca found the much awaited equaliser with the help of a huge blunder from cesar. Messi sent in a free kick towards a diving Busquets,; Busquets completely missed the ball but his dive confused Cesar and he failed to hold on to the ball, the ball lobbed back to Henry who lobbed it above the defense into the goal. In the 88th minute Valdes saved a great shot from Villa from the tightest of angle.

Barca has been poor in this match. One of the reason for that was Guardiola's decision to put Busquets in this match ahead of Toure. He might have rested him with Chelsea in mind. But he should have started the game with his best side. In the end he had to bring in Henry, Messi and Iniesta got no rest. Eto was poor throughout the match so was Xavi and Puyol. But a point from Mastalla is not a bad result. Especially it makes sure taht even in the worst case if we lose to Madrid we will stay clear of them by one point. Real Madrid will be playing Sevilla tonigh away, but I don't expect them to drop points tonight. The best thing this season is that we have our destiny in our own hands. The clash at Bernebeu will be the most crucial match of this season. BUt Guardiola has a job in hand re-energising his troop from this tough match so that they look focussed against Chelsea.

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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