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Apr 15, 2009

FC Barcelona set up a semi final show down with Chelsea in this year's Champions League with a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich. Frank Ribery put Bayern in the lead early in the second half but a stunning strike from Keita kept Barca's unbeaten streak intact. Barca already had the match in bag after a 4-0 crushing of Bayern at home but they still need to see off this leg and they did it brilliantly. Barca may not have dominated the game the way they used to, but still they preserved enough energy and ensured that they got past Bayren. Guardiola decided to start with Abidal in the left. Alves, Pique, Puyol and Abidal formed the defense. Xavi, Toure and Keita formed the midfield. Messi, Eto and Henry formed the attacking trio. Henry was sidelined with fever, hence Iniesta moved to the front.

FC Barcelona started the game on the backfoot. The intensity was missing in the begining; but then you can't blame them as they would naturally aim to protect the four goal lead. Bayern's hope of a miracle depended on an early goal; they almost had one. In the 5th minute Luca Toni was the culprit missing an open header from a good cross from Sosa after Abidal gave away the ball. In the 7th minute Toni had the ball in the net but was rightly ruled offside. In the 13th minute Ribery turned past Puyol but shot just high. Puyol already was having trouble dealing with Ribery, Ribery turned him left-right in that move. In the 18th minute Barca had their first shot with Eto shooting high. Meanwhile Ribery was in flow earning both Puyol and Alves deserved yellow cards. Then in the 20th minute a full stretched Keita failed to direct his header from an excellent Alves cross on to goal. Slowly Barca started taking control of the game. In the 34th minute Messi played a great ball to Eto on the left but Lucio got across to block the shot. In the 35th minute Alves left foot shot went just wide. In the 43rd minute Toni shoots wide from an excellent pass from Van Bommel. FC Barcelona's defense kept a high excellent offside line in the first half.

The second half started badly for Barca. In the 47th minute Ribery broke Barca's offside trap to receive Ze Roberto's pass and dummied well to bring Valdes down and executed an excellent finish to take Bayern 1-0 up. Valdes did well to stood his ground but Ribery was too hot for him to handle. Pique was guilty of playing Ribery on. In the 51st minute Messi produced another great pass to Eto but Demichelis produced a greta challenge to deny Eto. In the 53rd minute Alves produced a great cross into the box, Messi did well to get away from the defender but could not make proper contact wasting an excellent chance to equalise. In the 57th minute Iniesta dribbled into the box and was pulled down by Van Bommel but Referee rightly waved play on as I thought Iniesta went down a bit easily. In the 69th minute Toure found Messi on the left with a great long ball, Messi sets off on his run from the right, squares the ball to Eto in the centre but Lucio produces an excellent interception. Then in the 75th minute Keita equalised with a magnificient strike from outside the box. The move started with Eto and Inietsa exchanging passes; Iniesta returned the ball to Xavi in the box; Xavi with his back on goal played the Keita who heralded a thunderbolt strike. In the 78th minute Iniesta was replaced by Hleb. In the 82nd minute Demichelis pull out another excellent challenge preventing Messi a great oppurtunity.

This may not be a swashbuckling performance but was a pretty efficient one. Iniesta and Xavi produced one more efficient display. Eto had an average night and he was reponsible for killing many of Messi moves. Alves was decent in defdense but was excellent going forward. Abidal who looked a bit suspicious in the begining had an excellent game after the initial hickup. Pique was excellent but Puyol had problem with Ribery. Next up for Barca is Getafe and that would be a big challenge.

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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