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Feb 24, 2010

Barca vs Stuttgart Match Highlights
Barca survived an absolute onslaught from Stuttgart and came out with an un-deserving 1-1 draw. The crucial away goal could prove to be very crucial in the second leg for Barca. Cacau put Stuttgart ahead in the first half but Ibrahmovic equalised for Barca in the early second half. Johan Cryuff has described FC Barcelona's performance in last match as their worst, he should have waited till this match. This was the worst Barca Performance for last three or four season. I cannot remember a match were we were so hopelessly over-run by the opponents. We looked like a second division team in the first half, but did well in the second half. We were up against the German efficiency which we usually associate with their national team, and failed miserably to stamp our authority. Guardiola chose Marquez and Pique to be in the defense, Puyol and Maxwell played the full back roles. The midfield was made up of Toure, Busquets and Xavi. The front line had Iniesta, Ibra and Messi.

Barca Players Competed With Each Other on being sloppy

This was the worst start to a match you could ever see. After the initial nerves, Stuttgart took full control of the match. Barca were uncharacteristically sloppy with their passing and was struggling to hold on to the ball. Stuttgart Manager had done his home-work and made sure that his midfield closed ours pretty fast. In the 13th minute Cacau had a good chance but he couldn't

control his finish. Stuttgart started to atatck Barca from both the wings, especially the left. In the 21st minute Marquez cleared a dangeroius ball into the box with a sliding leg. In the 23rd minute FC Barcelona defense somehow managed to clear the danger from a Hleb free kick. But Stuttgart was not going to be denied. The deservingly went ahead in the 25th minute. Gebhart's great cross from the right was headed past Valdes by Cacau at the far post. In the 28th minute Stuttgart had a great appeal for penalty after the ball hit Pique's hand, but the referee waived on indicating that it was unintensional. In the 31st minute Stuttgart should have gone two goals up - Cacau used his body strength to turn Marquez and from a one on one situation tried to square the ball, which was somehow cleared by Barca. That was a big let off for FC Barcelona. In the 33rd minute Valdes makes another great save denying Khedira. In the 40th minute Barca had their first shot on target. Messi sets off on a great run and sends in a low shot which was parried by Lehman on to the post. In the 41st minute Valdes pulls off another save to deny Pogrebnyak to make sure the scoreline remain the same going into the break.

Barca's Performance Improved slightly afrter the break

Everyone expected Barca to come out firing on all cylinder after the half. That was not to be the case. Their performance in the second half were better than first half, but nowhere near their usual standard. In the 52nd minute we got the equaliser we were looking for. Busquets played a cross into the box, the Stuttgart defense failed to clear, Pique did well to win the header and the

ball fell to Ibrahmovic, whose first shot was blocked by Lehman but luckily for us the rebound fell to Ibra agains and he made no mistake. We started to take control of the game after that goal, but then it lasted only for five minutes and we were back losing our midfield battle. Guardiola brought in Henry for Toure after the goal. In the 58th minute Milito replaced Marquez. In teh 67th minute Messi send in a great cross from right to Iniesta but his shot was blocked. Then in the 68th minute Barca had a definitive penalty appeal for hand ball turned down. Jens Lehman misjudged the flight of a corner and failed to hold or deflect the corner; the ball fell to Ibra whose goal bound shot was deflected wide by Molinaro elbow. That was a real case for penalty but I thought the referee was playing even after he didn't give the penalty for Stuttgart. The rest of the half ended without too much of a scare. Valdes did really well to cut off any of Stuttgart scare.

As I said this was the worst performance I have seen in last five to six years. We have played much better even two seasons ago, when we finished third in the league. It was terrible to see we losing the midfield battle so easily. From the performance point of view, it will be foolish to judge who was the worst. The easiest option would be to see who was the best Barca player on the pitch - Victor Valdes. Messi at least showed some interest. Iniesta and Xavi were sloppy throughout the match. It is better not to say anything about Toure and Busquets and their performance. At times Toure looked better than Busquets, then he will commit a no-sense mistake. In the defnse I think Puyol was the only one who can hold his head a bit high. I know many would blame Guardiola for not using Iniesta and Xavi in the midfield from the start. But in an away match in Europe, I thought it was quite sensible to have a defnsive minded midfield. But the idea to use Xavi on the left rather than his usual position on right baffled me.

Many of you may consider that we should forget this performance and move forward. But for the last some matches our passing has been sloppy atleast in away matches. Guardiola needs to qaddress it as early as possible. He should show some confidence in Henry too. Ibrahmovic had a betetr night as far as finishing is concerned, but I am still not convinced with his position in our team.

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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