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Nov 5, 2009

FC Barcelona has essentially put their Champions League qualification at risk by drawing against the Russian champions. With this draw we stand at second in standing and have a chance to end the night at third in overall standing if there is anything other than a draw in the match against Inter and Kiev. Barca now have to win their remaining two matches to go through to the next round. A failure to see off the Ukranian Champions will effectively kick us out of the competition. FC Barcelona struggled to come to terms fully with the slowness of the pitch and it didn't aid their attacking play. At Kiev the condition will be similiar to Kazan's so Guardiola needs to think up something big to get the team through. Guardiola with his stupid idea of not using his substitutions early is not aiding the team at all. Tonight Henry was introduced in the 82nd minute, too late to make any impact. Guardiola started Alves , Puyol, Pique and Abidal in the defnse. The midfield was made up of Keita, Toure and Xavi. The attacking trio were Iniesta, Ibrahmovic and Messi.

For some strange reason Iniesta and Keita swapped their positions in the middle throughout the first half. Barca started the match with serious intent. We had two corners in the first two minutes. In the 3rd minute a delightful Iniesta pass put Ibrahmovic onside but his curling shot hit the outside of the far post. In the 5th minute Keita saw his volley from well outside the box going horribly wide. Then we had a session where we had all the possesion but with no end products. The man to man marking of Rubin was excellent and the ball was slowing on the pitch too. Then in the 19th minute Xavi tried to chip above the goal keeper but went high. In the 21st minute Ibrahmovic lays off the ball to Messi after some great chest control, Messi wriggles past defenders but goal keeper was quick to come and colect the ball. In the next minute Messi and Xavi were involved in another great move but the defnse somehow clears the danger. Rubin was looking to hurt Barca on the counter, especially through the wings. In the 41st minute Valdes had to make an excellent save to deny Ryazantsev. Barca did try to improvise on the free kick at the other side but Iniesta's shot was blocked.

In the second half Iniesta went back to his position in the front left and Barca started to conjure up some attacking moves. In the 52nd minute the goal keeper fumbles a long shot from Toure but the defense were on hand to clear the danger. In the 54th minute Iniesta shot wide after shaking off some challenges in getting into the box. By the hour mark Rubin started looking deadly dangerous after the introduction of Bukharov. In the 74th minute Bukharov had a great chance but his chest control wasn't that great helping Valdes to get hold of the ball. In the 78th minute Rubin had the best chance of the night. Domigues played a beautiful dummy to let the cross from left reach Bukharov, he cut inside Puyol and breaks clean on ball; Valdes reacts immediately and blocks and the rebound was cleared by Puyol. Guardiola finally understood the idea of substitution and brought in Henry for Keita in 82nd minute. he looked dangerous in the time he was on the pitch and it only begs one question why he was not introduced earlier. In the 88th minute henry had the best chance for Barc in second half. Alves send in a great cross at the far post, the defnder fail to clear it and it reaches Henry who could not tap it in. Maybe he was blinded by the leaping defender.

This definietly is not a good result for Barca. Now this could turn out to be good only if Kiev and Inter draw at Milan. Then we will go back to top. But now the equation is pretty simple for us - win the next two matches and get in the second round. The last match against Inter looks a better proposition than the away match at Kiev at this moment. Meanwhile Guardiola's tactics of not bringing on Henry earlier is quite strange. Iniesta had a quite match and as I wrote in the preview that he needs to have a good match for us to feel comfortable. We saw Messi making some runs but was well below par tonight. Xavi and Toure were excellent eventhough they couldn't quite contribute much in attack. But now its time for us to pick up the pieces and get ready for the challenges in Liga. We had to get some good result in and have the confidence back before we make the trip to Kiev.

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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