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Dec 17, 2009

FC Barcelona booked their place in the finals of 2009 World Club Cup by beating CONCAAF Champions Atlante 3-1. Barca went down a goal down as early in the fifth minute but strikes from busquest, Messi and Pedro helped Barca to a more than comfortable win. We will now meet South American Champions Estudiantes in the final. The early goal came from a mistake from our defense otherwise we had near perfect control of the game. Pedro while helping Barca win the game recorded history by becoming the first man to score in six different competition in a year. Messi was declared fit prior to the match and he was called upon to win the match for Barca. Guardiola went for a rather defensive midfield in the shape of Toure, Busquets and Xavi. Toure was playing in the role of a attacking midfielder while his usual role of defensive midfielder was done by Busquets. I never understood the logic behind that decision. Toure is a more solid player in defensive midfielder role than Busquets , why you want to take him from his best position. The attacking trio was made up of Ibra, Iniesta and Pedro. The defense had Marquez, Puyol, Alves and Abidal infront of Valdes.

The match started the wrong way for Barca. In the fifth minute we went behind by a goal from Rojas. Marquez failed to deal with a long ball through the middle and Rojas used his pace to get away from the defense and knock it past Valdes. Marquez should have cleared it in the first place. We are making a habit of conceding goals this way. Barca immediately responded with a Busquest header being saved from A Xavi corner. Then we saw a period of game where all the possession was with barca but we lacked pace in our moves and could not create any meaningful threat. The fact that we had two defensive minded players in midfield wasn't helping. Then in the 35th minute Barca broke on the counter and was able to win a corner. Toure did well to rise above the defense to flick Xavi's corner and the ball fell to Busquets who did well with the finish. With scoreline being tied Barca looked more and more calm with their game. In the injury time of the first hald Alves had a great chance to put Barca ahead. From a one-on-one situation he could only hit the side netteing.

Barca looked more determined in the second half. In the 54th minute Guardiola took off Marquez and Toure and brought in Messi and Pique. With that substituition Iniesta moved back to midfield and that started to have an impact on the game. Messi put barca haead in the next minute when he accepted a great ball from Ibrahmovic easily round off the goal keeper. Atlante had a chance to equalise at the other end when Rojas got past Pique but he recovered well to get a block on Rojas shot which was easily held by Valdes. Then in the 67th minute Iniesta dribbled down the left into the box and send in a magical pass to Pedro who did well with his finish. Iniesta's genius was in full display in that move but the problem this season is that he is not showing these form consistently. In the 75th minute Atlante's Marquez got away from Abidal but his shot was saved by Valdes. In the 78th minute who came in for Iniesta had a great chance to get into the scoresheet but he failed to get on the end of Alves cross. In the 88th minute Ibra collected a poor kick from goal keeper and curled the ball but the Mexican recovered to make a spectacular save. The goal keeper denied Messi in the 91st minute with a dive at Mesi's feet.

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