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Mar 18, 2012

FC Barcelona notched up five consecutive victory in the league for the first time in the 2011-12 season with a 2-0 victory at Sevilla. First half goals from Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi, which may go down as one of the contender of "Goal of the Season" were enough to see a tricky fixture with against a side we always struggle. With this victory we have cut down the lead at teh top back to seven points temporarily. BUt Real Madrid has the chance to restore the lead to ten points when they meat Malaga tomorrow night. Guardiola went with Alves, Pique, Mascherano and Adriano in defense. Xavi, Busquets and Fabregas made up the midfield trio. Pedro, Messi and Iniesta formed the attacking trio. Both teams lined up in the start with "Animo Abidal" T-Shirts to show their support for Abidal, who will be having liver transplant soon.

Sevilla started the match trying to be as compact in the middle to cut on space through the middle. In the 11th minute Pedro was sent through by Fabregas but his shot was well saved by Palop. In the 17th minute Adriano won a free kick on the edge of the box; Xavi Hernandez curled the ball over the wall and back into the goal to put Barca 1-0 ahead. In the 20th minute Iniesta had a great chance to double the lead after he was put through on goal, but he flashed the shot wide off the goal. In the 24th minute Valdes was called upon to make his first save off the game. In the 25th minute Messi made teh scoreline 2-0 witha a beauty off a goal, which very much could become the "Goal of the Season". Iniesta played the ball to Messi at the edge of the box, nutmegged the ball through the defenders leg and when it looked like the angle have become a bit tight, he lifted the ball into the far corner. In the 27th minute Xavi had a great chance but his shot was too close to the keeper Palop. In the 33rd minute Pique made a mess of a simple lofted ball into the box and we were lucky not to have conceded as Manu hit the post. In the 40th minute Pedro forced Palop to make a good save from a counter attack initiated by Valdes. In the 41st minute our defense was caught napping yet again by Kanoute but Valdes made a brilliant save to deny Kanoute. In the 45th minute Fabregas should have increased the lead but he shot too close to the keeper from a really open position. The half ended with we leading 2-0 but what was interesting was our possession stats, which was just 53% - something unusal for Barca.


Sevilla came out roaring after the break. Victor Valdes had to make a smart save in the 48th minute. They had a series of corner within the first five minutes. In the 66th minute Jesus Navas ran into our box curled a beautiful cross into the box, luckily Manu Del Moral could only hit the side netting. In the 69th minute Guardiola took off Fabregas and brought in Keita, a clear sign to get more control in the midfield. In the 73rd minute Messi put Iniesta through on goal but Iniesta tried to be a bit clever lifting it wide of goal. In the 82nd minute Xavi was replaced by Alexis Sanchez. In the 84th minute Valdes did really well to deny Manu del Moral once again. In the 84th minute Puyol came in for Adriano. In the 88th minute Pique did well to block Kanoute shot on goal off the line. In the 89th minute Alexis was played through but he couldn't beat Palop.

This match was no different from our previous visits to Sevilla. The 2-0 scoreline to an extent never said teh entire story. Sevilla had the more than couple of chance to score and they were really the better side after the half. We had to thank Mascherano and Valdes for keeping the scoreline 2-0, and may be also Pique, who decided to turn up properly in the second half after a disastrous first half. Cesc Fabregas who was slotted to play in the middle was very poor with his passing. The absence of Iniesta from the core of midfield meant we had less domination interms of midfield control. That explained the 56% possession stats. Iniesta who played further up on the left was very poor. He showed his brilliance at time but was too sloppy with the overall play. Once again the good news was Pedro putting up a good shift. He is not back to his best but his closing down so high up on the pitch was something we missing.

All About FC Barcelona


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