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Nov 21, 2012

  • FC Barcelona secures Champions League Knock-out Qualification with thumping win.
  • Lionel Messi scored twice to take tally to 80 Goals in 2012.

FC Barcelona secured qualification to UEFA Champions League Knock-out stage with a 3-0 victory against Spartak Moscow. Dani Alves opened the scoring, followed by Messi scoring two secured a very good win and overall a very brilliant performance on the artificial pitch in Moscow. The happiest person tonight in the cold would be Valdes, who finally got a chance to secure a clean sheet. Lionel Messi with his two goals sits now with 80 strikes in the 2012 calendar year, just five short of Gerd Muller's record. This was one of the best performances by the team especially considering the conditions was very difficult for the team.Vilanova went in with Valdes, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Cesc, Iniesta, Pedro and Messi in the starting line-up. Pinto, Montoya, Puyol, Song, Dos Santos, Villa and Deulofeu started from the bench.

The plastic pitch was reducing our pace on the moves and our boys took sometime to come to terms with, atleast a bit. Spartak Moscow was looking to hit us on the counter, especiallly on the flanks. Their knowledge of the condition was aiding them in it. In the 12th minute Pedro produced our first moment of danger. Cesc played in a great ball putting Pedro on, Pedro controlled wonderfully with his chest and volleyed superbly, but the keeper did really well to block it. In the 14th minute Spartak took a brilliant corner and we were lucky the final shot was high over the bar. In the 16th minute Dani Alves opened the scoring for us after some brilliant work from by Messi. Messi made a mess of Spartak defense around the box, they somehow cleared it but it fell to Alves, who(uncharectarestically for a Barca play) shot through the defense, which worked. In the 23rd minute Spartak had another great chance when Suchy shot high over from a very promising cross. In the 27th minute Lionel Messi made it 2-0 from a move he only started. Lionel Messi played a great ball putting Iniesta through on left, Iniesta cut inside the defendeer and thundered a shot which was well saved by keeper but the rebound went to Messi again on the edge of the box, and shoot without asking this time with his right foot. In the 36th minute Pedro was booked for diving in the penalty box, which looked a very fair call. In the 39th minute Messi made it 3-0 after Pedro spotted a brilliant run from Messi.


Spartak came out of the break looking more determined, foring Valdes' interventions in a couple of attacks. In the 54th minute Iniesta played in Cesc whose shot was blocked by keeper. In the 57th minute Messi lofted a good ball to Pedro, his header went straight at keeper. After the initial bit of attempts from Spartak we took the control completely with Iniesta, Messi and Pedro dominating like anything. In the 71st minute Alba produced that customary blunder(which our defense does every match) missing a lofetd ball into middle, luckily the touch from Akefeev was close to Valdes. In the 77th minute Messi broked from the right flank, cut the ball back to Iniesta from touch line whose shot was blocked, the rebound fell to Pedro but the keeper made yet another good save. In the 81st minute Xavi was taken off for Alex Song. In the 85th minute Pedro who was brilliant throughout the night made way for Gerard Deulefue. In the 87th minute Montoya came in for Alba.


It was one of the best performances of the team. There were some defensive hiccups at times, but majority were due to the prevailing conditions. Lionel Messi was simply brilliant so was Andres Iniesta. The most frustrated was Pedro, who has still not scored this season. He was brilliant in creating space and stretching defense, his pace was very vital for this win. But he is not having any luck in front of goal. Maybe he will get more luck at an online casino like Betfair. They have several football games like Penalty Shoot Out and Football Rules that Pedro might excel at.

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