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May 24, 2009

FC Barcelona - 0, Osasuna - 1
A second consecutive defeat and a red card to debutant Muniesa spoiled the night in which Fc Barcelona was handed the La Liga Trophy. The Red Card more than the defeat spoiled the mood as a defeat was expected with team Guardiola lined up. In my preview to the match, I emphasised on the importance of having some of our main players on the pitch, especially the defense. But Guardiola went with a no risk approach resting almost everyone of the usual starting eleven except Eto. Eto is in the hunt for the prestigous Pichichi trophy but had another poor night and also conceded the lead to Diego Forlan who scored a hatrick in the same night. I am still confused about the mindset of our players going into the final with two consecutive defeats. But then the good thing is that most of the players never played in any of these matches and we haven't lose three consecutive match this season. But there is also a chance of many players being rusty. Terry Venables already has written off FC Barcelona's chances against a very organised Manchester United side. Guardiola started with a second string side for the match. Pinto kept the goal. Victor Sanchez, Caceres, Abidal and Sylvinho started in the defense. The midfield had Gudjonsen and Hleb on either side of Xavi Torres. The forward line up was similiar to the last one with Pedro, Eto and Bojan.

FC Barcelona startedthe game well but then slowly went out of the games. Pedro and Bojan had early half-chances but couldn't benefit from those. Then Bojan sent in a great ball to Eto in the 19th minute but the defense closed him down making it difficult for him to shoot. Then in the 26th minute Pandiani scored the vital goal from a croner. Pandiani calmly got in between Victor Sanchez and Caceres before heading the ball home. In the 43rd minute Etos forced a save from goal keeper from a tight angle. FC Barcelona showed more purpose in the second half but with no end product. In the 74th minute Bojan saw his shot blocked by Goal Keeper after freat work by him in the box. Then in the 81st minute Muniesa was red carded for a lunge on Osasuna player on the left near touchline. It was definitely a yellow-card offense, but a red card was a bit harsh as he wasn't the last defender and the the foul was near the touch line. The red card saw one of the biggest protest against a referee at Camp Nou. Guardiola gestured sarcastically towards referee and he also was sent off. Muniesa was shattered and was in total tears. Pinto made two good saves late on to keep the scoreline at 0-1.

The match may not have yielded the best result but we did see some future stars at work. Eto was supposed to spearhead the attack but it was all Bojan throughout. He looked Barca's bets player in attack. But the player of the night has to be Xavi Torres. He was a bit nervous last week but looked so calm against Osasuna. Muniesa looked good for the time he was on the pitch but I would say that I was more impressed by Jeffren than Pedro. But what worries me most is Eto's form. He looks to have hit a very rough patch at the wrong time. Guardiola has to be on his toes on the final being ready to take him off, if he is not performing.

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