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Dec 13, 2009

FC Barcelona have made sure that they will end this year as winter champions with a 1-0 victory over Espanyol in the first edition of local derby. Real Madrid meanwhile have won at Valencia reducing the lead to five points, they will have a chance to further reduce the lead to two points while we are away in UAE for FIFA Club World Championship. The victory may not have been a convincing one and courtesy of a highly controversial Ibrahmovic penalty but Barca really deserved it on back of their highly dominating first half performance. Messi who missed the clash presented his Balon d'Or title to the Camp Nou faithfuls before the match. Lionel Messi's absence saw Pedro getting a starting line-up place along with Henry and Ibrahmovic. Iniesta, Toure and Xavi formed the midfield. The defense had Alves, Pique, Puyol and Maxwell in front of Valdes.

The first chance of the match fell to Espanyol when Barca failed to clear a long ball in the first minute, luckily Coro's effort was high. After that it was more of a one way traffic with out midfield taking full control. Barca responded immediately by winning a corner but Pique's header from Xavi's corner was straight at Kameni. Then in the 14th minute Pedro had the perfect opportunity to put Barca ahead. Toure's ball into the box was a harmless one, but Pedro did well to block the clearance and the ball rebounded and fell for Pedro who only had to beat Kameni but shot well wide of the post. From a very promising position that was a pathetic effort. In the 15th minute Verdu had a shot from outside the box tipped over by Valdes. In the 17th minute Ibrahmovic fed Henry with a delightful ball whose shot was parried away by Kameni. In the 36th minute Maxwell blasted high from a veryu good position in a move which he only started. Maxwell gave the ball to Ibra in the box and continued his run, Ibra fed the ball in Maxwell's path but his finishing was not up to the mark. In the 38th minute Ibrahmovic crossed from the left, trying to find Xavi; the ball was well over him but he went down by a simple brush by Baena and the referee pointed to the spot. It was really a very generous decision which Ibra duly converted in Messi's absence.

The second half saw Espanyol coming out and attacking Barca much more. In the 50th minute Valdes did well to hold onto Alonso header. In the 54th minute Alves sent in a great cross across the goal mouth after a neat one-two with Pedro, but unluckily it was behind every Barca player. In the 60the minute Guardiola brought in Keita for Pedro to counter the Espanyol attacking threat. In the 62nd minute Marquez had a long range shot after Alves have given the ball away from a throw in. The next minute saw a series of attack from Espanyol; first Maxwell did well to clear a dangerous cross from left then from the resulting play off the rebound, Valdes was called upon to catch a weak shot. In the 72nd minute Iniesta played the ball to Keita wide on the left, Keita's cross was met with a weak header by Ruiz, the ball fell to Ibra on right but he volleyed high over the bar. There wasn't much chances in the rest of the half.

FC Barcelona would be happy to see the back of a very tough opponent. It wasn't a convincing victory but it did maintain our lead on top. I am worried with the lack of chances being created lately. Ibrahmovic has been linking well with his team mates, but it is no doubt that he is lacking a bit of pace which could have made Barca extremely dangerous in the counter attacks. Iniesta did look good at times in this match. Toure was solid throughout the match. Bojan did get some time but it was again too little for a player of his caliber. He may expect to get some more time in the FIFA World Club Championship.

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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