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Dec 10, 2009

FC Barcelona topped Group F after a 2-1 comeback victory against Dynamo Kiev. Barca went down a goal down in the 2nd minute of play but goals from Xavi and Messi saw Barca registering a well deserved victory at Kiev. Inter meanwhile beat Rubin Kazan 2-0 at San Siro and qualified along with Barca for the knowckout stage. Barca and Inter were everyones favourite to go through this group but nobody expected it will this much dramatic. Courtesy of being the winner of the group, Barca will now play the return leg of the knockout stage at home. Barca's likely opponents are Olympique Lyon, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Olympiakos, CSKA Moscow, Porto or Stuttgart. Barca would feel relived to have avoided the chance of pairing with English teams this early in the competition. Guardiola once agained dropped Toure in favour of Busquets. Nown it looks more than certain that wee would see Toure moving out may be in January, if not definitely in the summer. Valdes kept the goal ahead of a defensive line of Alves, Pique, Puyol and Abidal. Xavi, Busquest and Keita formed the midfield. Messi, Ibra and Iniesta formed the attacking trio.

The match started in a complete wrong note for Barca. Kiev went ahead in the 2nd minute from a Milevskiy header. Shevchenko sent in a great free kick from the right side and it got the slightest of touch from Milevskiy, but Valdes made a meal of that and guided the ball through his hands into the goal. That goal looked to have rattled Barca, especially Iniesta who gave away cheap ball in more than one occasion. In the 13th minute Barac had their first shot on target from a mistake from Dynamo Kiev goal keeper Shovkovskyy. He kicked the ball staright to Messi but did well to deny Messi by pulling out a great save. In 23rd minute Shovkovskyy once again did well to parry away a Dani Alves effort. By then it was clear that Barca has settled down and was taking control of the game. In the 33rd minute we were rewarded with a Xavi goal. That made sure that Barca will qualify from the group and it alteast settled my nerves. Messi played the ball to Abidal wide on the left, Abidal sent in a great low cross into the box which was met by xavi, who was playing his 100th Champions league match. The rest of the half went without much fanfare.

In the second half we were taking complete control of the game. But it was Kiev who had the first real chance of the half. Leandro headed wide from a great Schevchenko cross. Messi was exquisite throughout the second half. In the 70th minute Magrao had to pull out a great challenge to stop a dangerous Messi run. In the 72nd minute Iniesta plays a great ball to Messi but his shot was blocked by Betao. In the 80th minute Pedrio rpelaced Iniesta. In the 86th minute Barac went 2-1 ahead from a free kick which he only won in the first place. Messi then was injured by a clumsy tackle and now looks like will miss the derby against Espanyol. In the first minute of injury time Ibrahmovic terrific strike was somehow saved by Shovkovskyy. It was quite funny, Ibra's free kick was very powerful that Shovkovskyy didn't saw it but his struck his face.

This one victory may not have been a very beautiful one, but when we consider the situations and scenarios associated with it, was a very efficient one. The "Toure Saga" looks to have come to an end with this match and I would be surprised to see him playing here next season. Busquets meanwhile is doing good with his chances and has to be appreciated. Iniesta was kind of off-colour last night. he is getting involved in teh match but is not influencing the match like he has done last season. Messi after winning Balon d'Or has gone wild. He is causing terror at heart of defense and was sensational last night. Valdes is back to his best;-).

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