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Feb 15, 2012

FC Barcelona has virtually assured themselves off a Quarter Final birth in this Season's Champions League competition with a 3-1 away victory against Bayern Leverkusen. This is the first time Guardiola has managed to win an away leg of the last 16 knock out stage in Champions League. Two goals from Sanchez and one from Messi was enough for Barca to see the German side off at their home. With a two goal cushion and also the added advantage of having scored three away goals, Barca has almost qualified for the next stage; but it's better to remember that it's not over until the second leg at home is finished. Guardiola as expected lined up the best available eleven. So we had Valdes in goal, Alves, Mascherano, Puyol and Abidal in defense. Busquest, Iniesta and Fabregas made the midfield. Adriano, Sanchez and Messi made the front trio. Xavi was rested after he had a slight problem with his calf.

Barcelona started with their possession football from the word go. In the opening 10 minutes Bayern leverkusen hardly saw any decent possession. In the 11th minute Alves had a long free kick flying way over the bar. In the 13th minute Sanchez almost played in Messi but a brilliant sliding challenge took the ball away from Messi. In the 24th minute Adriano fired a shot high and wide from outside the box. We were enjoying almost 80% possession, but there was not much in terms of danger created. In the 33rd minute Leverkusen had their best share of possession and almost caused the danger, which needed Eric Abidal to make a crucial intervention. In the 41st minute Alexis Sanchez scored from a brilliant pass from Lionel Messi. The move came from a counter, Messi released a ball releasing Alexis on the right who ran into the box and in all honesty only had to beat the keeper, and boy he did that brilliantly. We went into the half leading by a goal to nil, which actually wasn't much surprise considering we had more than 80% possession.

Trailing by a goal down, Leverkusen came out with a bit more intent. In the 47th minute they made a half chance from a free kick and it looked liked thair best opportunities are going to come from set plays. Then in the 52nd minute Kadlec equalised for Leverkusen when he climbed over Sanchez to meet a looping cross. In the 55th minute Sanchez restored the lead with a brilliantly taken goal. Fabregas had the assist played the ball down the middle putting Sanchez ahead, who had to hold up to one challenge, round up the keeper before finishing it. In the 57th minute Leverkusen almost equalised after catching our defense out, but Valdes stood tall making the save. In the 60th minute Guardiola took off Iniesta and brought in Thiago. In the 64th minute we were once again caught out in defense but this time a combination of Valdes and Post saved us. In the 68th minute Messi played a neat one two with Alves, but Messi's shot was deflected high over the bar. In the 69th minute Guardiola brought in Pedro for Adriano. In the 72nd minute Messi produced a moment of magic cut through two defenders in the box and dunked the ball over a diving keeper, but unfortunately the post came in goal's way. In the 78th minute Keisling header was well saved by Valdes. In the 84th minute Sanchez was denied off his hat trick by a brilliant save from leverkusen keeper. In the 85th minute Guardiola took off Sanchez and brought in Cuenca. In the 88th minute Lionel Messi scored to make 3-1. The moves tarted with Messi slipping through Alves and continuing his run, Alves who could have easily taken the shot waits till Messi gets into the box and curls a pass into Messi's patch who easily directs it to the net.

Eventhough we dominated the match from teh start to the end, we ere a bit lethargic in terms of attacking chance created. For the majority of the first half, we were too happy to play our possession game and never tried hard to force a goal. What was more concerning was the performance of the defense, at times it looked clueless and all of Leverkusen's chances came from our poor defending. The best part of tonight's game was Messi's scoring the goal. he has been due for one for sometime and is now the leading goal scorer in the tournamenet. He is also the leading goal scorer of all time in knock-out stages. He was involved in every of our move but looked visibly tired towards the end of the match, but it didn't prevent him from scoring the goal. Alexis was brilliant with his finishes. This was a match where the attacking players of the side did pretty well but the same cannot be said of their defensive partners. Any way with the tie almost done with we could shift the focus back to La Liga.

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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