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Feb 28, 2010

FC Barcelona needed a late goal from Lionel Messi to see off a very determined Malaga side at the Camp Nou. The scoreline could give an impression of a close encounter, but it never was. Barca was dominating all around the match and Malaga was hell bound not to concede a goal. A sensational strike from Pedro in the 68th minute broke the deadlock. But Valdo equalised in the 80th minute threatening to spoil Barca's night, but an 84th minute Lionel Messi strike gave us a very well deserving victory. Real Madrid earlier moved to the top with a 5-1 thrashing of Tenerife, that should have provided enough motivation for the players to work tirelessly to retain the top spot. Guardiola used a different formation in this match with Iniesta playing in the front left, Pedro on the right and Messi playing behind Ibrahmovic. Xavi and Busquets played in the midfield. The defense saw Alves coming back from injury, Pique and Puyol formed the central defense and Maxwell positioned himself in the left back position.

Barcelona FC dominates from the begining

Even though it was a complete domination of Barca in the first half, the first chance of the match fell to Malaga. Barca conceded a free kick on the left edge of the box but Valdes was alert to deny Duda from the free kick. Barca responded on the other end with Alves sending in a great cross to the left, but Messi could only head the ball wide. In the 14th minute Fernando gave away the ball to Messi in midfield, he ran past one Malaga marker but with Ibrahmovic free to his righ, he chose to go alone giving time and space for Wellington to block the attempt. He should have passed the ball to Ibrahmovic who was clear on goal. In the 25th minute FC Barcelona won a free kick 30 yards out. Ibrahmovic free kick went agonizingly close to the goal. In the 30th minute after a spell of possession, Messi dribbled into the box skipping past one defender but only to shoot over from a very good position. In the 37th minute Iniesta send in an interesting ball to Xavi in the box, Xavi brilliantly flicked the ball with his back to goal, but Malag goal keeper Munua was on hand to tip it over. In the 44th minute FC Barcelona had a great chance to break the deadlock. Messi sets off in another mesmerizing run, he finds Pedro on the right who squares the ball to Ibrahmovic, but the ball was out of reach for Ibra. I thought his slowness caught him there.

Barca Persistence Finally Pays Off

In the second half we saw FC Barcelona moving into their old formation - with Messi on the right and Pedro on left. Barca had their first chance of the half in the 52nd minute with Ibra's header been tipped over by Manua. In the 56th minute Iniesta tried a shot from outside the box, but it was well wide of the post. In the 60th minute Ibra's saw his looping header from a Xavi corner cleared off the line by Welington. Finally in the 68th minute Barca's persistence finally paid off with a sensational strike from Pedro. Ibra laid off the ball to Pedro who skipped in and send in a great strike into the near corner of the goal. In the 76th minute Barca almost extended the lead to 2-0 with Iniesta hitting the bar from a quick taken free kick. That miss proved costly with Valdo equalising for Malaga in the 80th minute. Valdo played a great one two with Obinna which put him ahead of defense and made no mistake with his finish. That equaliser made it feel like another of that day when the Gods conspires against you. But it was not to be the case. In the 84th minute Messi put us ahead. It was a typical Barca goal with Xavi finding Alves after a series of one touch passes, Alves squared the ball to Messi in center and he made no mistake.

With Real Madrid winning spectacularly earlier, it was necessary to have a good match. We did dominate the match with 76% of possession. Our finishing needs to improve. I was impressed by Ibrahmovic's work rate tonight. But I still believe he is tad too slow to take advantage of the quick moves. I am still trying to make sense of the formation Guardiola employed in the first half. It might have worked but it was majorly due to the fact that malaga was reluctant to get out of their half. If he is planning to use it against Stuttgart, the German efficiency would make fun of it. The good thing of this match was the return of Xavi after that poor performance against Stuttgart and Alves's return saw most of the attack happening from the right.

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2 comments:

Unknown said...

The performance was great last night , the players showd their best , gladuators spirit ..

Dani Alves was in his toop he covered his area completely & the whole defence did except the mistake that we concided the goal ..

Ibra did a high level match with a lot of movments & scoring attempts Pedro did good as well .. Messi scored but really im not feeling he is playing at his abest & he was selfish this game as well..

Xavi was out of this word last nite , Iniesta aswell .. Bosquets still struggling & i thnk pep should play Yaya for the coming matches ...

nana said...

Ghassan. i agree with u 101% on xavi. he was extra O. Busquets still struggles. his 2cm passes are not the best. his main problem i think has to do with confidence. he doesn't want to hold on the ball. he will just pass to the closet player and that is lack of vision on his part.one might wonder if he's truly a cantera boy. but all the same we got 3 points and at this stage we shd be like madrid. get 3 points no matter how. Messi selfishness has not gone down as well. that's a bit of a worry.

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