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Aug 27, 2011

FC Barcelona won the 2011 UEFA Super Cup by defeating Europa Cup Winner, FC Porto 2-0 at the St.Louis stadium in Monaco. Goals from Messi and another from Cesc Fabregas sealed a record 11th Trophy for Guardiola as a coach. FC Porto really made life difficult for Barca with their high pressure. The match was exvenly placed when messi took the lead from a horrendous mistake from guardin and it took a late Cesc Fabregas goal to make the match safe for us. Guardiola once again continued with his experiment of using Keita as a holding midfield player, a role in which Keita has been found wanting in recent matches. The other midfielders were without any surprise Iniesta and Xavi. The front line had that usual look of Pedro, Villa and Messi. The defense in the absence of both Puyol and Pique featured Abidal and Macherano in the centre. The Brazilians Alves and Adriano occupied their respective fullback roles.

The atmosphere from the start was electric with both set of fans singing really loudly. The pitch wasn't that great ans our boys struggled in the beginining to control the bounce. Porto was trying to press us upfront and had the better of chances in the first five minutes. In the 7th minute Moutinho tried to curl the ball to the right corner, Valdes did well to clear it for a corner. In the 10th minute we had a great chance when a deflected through ball from Iniesta found Pedro, who should have taken his time but decided to lob over the keeper and ended shoot over the post. In the 12th minute Messi almost latched into Pedro's ball into box, but the defender did really well to take the ball away. Our central defense of Mascherano and Abidal was having a tough time dealing with Hulk, can't blame them as they weren't getting any cover from Keita. In the 25th minute Valdes made a mess of him by coming out to punch away a cross but Alves was at hand to flick the ball away from Hulk. We were struggling with the constant pressure from Porto. In the 37th minute Villa released Adriano on the left, who inturn found Xavi in centre but the Keeper, Helton did well to tip it over. In the 39th minute Messi put us ahead in a freakish incident. The Porto defender, Guarin played a back pass to keeper without spotting Messi standing in front of the custodian, Messi neatly rounded off the keeper and finished off the chance. There was only one word to describe the first half performance - sloppy. Lack of match fitness cannot be given anymore as the reason. The goal came as a result of a big mistake. Abidal was struggling in centre defense and had to thank Mascherano for bailing him out on every occasion.

It was clear that Guardiola has to bring in Busquets for Keita. Keita was struggling as the holding midfielder but Guardiola decided against it. There was no let up of the sloppiness and it combined with excellent pressing from Porto was creating enough trouble for our defense. The frustration of not able to kick into their normal gear was clearly displayed when iniesta got rightly booked for kicking the ball into the crowd. In the 55th minute Guardin forced a brilliant save from Valdes from a long range shot. In the 56th minute Iniesta played in Villa on the left but his shot was saved by Porto keeper. In the 61st minute the new signing Sanchez came in for Villa. In the 63rd minute Adriano was taken off for Busquets. That meant he moved to centre of defense and Abidal went to Left of defense. In the 67th minute Messi thought he scored again but was ruled rightly offiside, he was just leaning offside. In the 72nd minute Iniesta played a brilliant throughball spotting Pedro's run, but it was just inches wide of his reach. The very next minute Abidal did really well to prevent an equaliser after Mascherano tried a back header to Valdes without realising that Valdes had come forward to retrieve the ball. In the 80th minute Guardiola brought in Cesc fabregas for Pedro. Iniesta moved to the front left. In the 86th minute Porto defender Rolando was sent off after getting booked twice on the night for a foul which stopped Messi's run at goal. In the 88th minute Cesc Fabregas finished of the match as a contest when he latched onto a brilliant chip from Messi and calmly slotted past the keeper to take us 2-0. That's his second goal in a Barca shirt and had won him his second official trophy at Barca. His first touch was absolute brilliant. In the 90th minute Guarin another Porto player was sent off after receiving a straight red card for a two footed challenge on Macherano.

In the final analysis I would say we were more than lucky in this match. We were lucky because Porto didn't had the quality to finish off the chances they had. And definitely they had a clear penalty shout turned down in the second half. We were uncharacteristicly sloppy and it was not the case with one player. Probably most of the fans will go with Messi as the man of the match, not surprising as he scored once and created the other. But my Man Of The Match would be Javier Mascherano. He was majestic covering for most of his team mates mistake. Guardiola also need to get the idea of playing Keita as a holding midfielder from his head. He looks absolute lost in that position. Many will say he work hard but he does not shield his team mates, which is a must at that position. Iniesta was really poor, have to admit that I haven't seen him playing this way for sometime. But in the end we found enough to get past a Porto side who I have to admit did really well to cut off Barca's fluidity. In the end it's yet another trophy for Guardiola and his boys and good start to start the season.

All About FC Barcelona


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