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Apr 11, 2013

What will we do without this Guy - Lionel Messi. There were debates going on about how much this Barca side depends on him. Going by the stats it looked like they could do without him, having a 78% win record when Messi does not start. But Jesus this match showed why we depend on him so much. he may not have scored but when we went down a goal, the first thing Vilanova did was to ask him to get ready. The moment he entered the entire tempo of our game changed. We started pressing well, there was more space to operate, Villa and Pedro suddenly appeared back in the game and that the MVP trio combined to make it 1-1. Without Messi we were so poor that it is not an under statement to say "PSG was winning most of the midfield battle". Cesc Fabregas contributed the most of that inept performance. He was all over the place without actually occupying the zone he was given. He looked at times occupying the same position of Villa or Xavi.

Barcelona's entire game is based on zones, and it is very important to have players occupy the most of the active zones. That allows us to press like hell and close down opponents. That was what happened when Messi came in. He occupied the zone behind Villa and that meant we had more personal to press and less space to cover while doing the same. That woudl be a huge question for Vilanova to answer while we prepare for the semi-final.As expected Lionel Messi started on the bench. That meant as I wrote in the preview, Cesc Fabregas moved into the false 9 role. We lined up with a four man defense of Alves, Pique, Adriano and Alba in front of Valdes. The midfield had the usual trio of Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi. Villa, Cesc and Pedro started in attack. Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Song, Thiago, Alexis and Messi started on the bench. Milan starting line-up has Sirigu, jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Moura, verratti, Motta, Pastore, Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic.

In the 2nd minute we won a free kick just outside of the box and the kick from xavi went just wide off the Sirigu's near post. In the 4th minute we got exposed after Busquets gave away the ball to Lavezzi but Pique did really well to prevent lavezzi from scoring there. The initial minutes of the game mirrored the one we played at Paris last week, with us not clearly finding a rhythm and shape. meanwhile we were also allowing PSG to take more shot at valdes goal and that indeed was a risky strategy. In the 21st minute Pedro hit the side netting from a rebound after forcing an initial save from Sirigu with a brilliant cross. In the 24th minute Ibrahimovic slipped Lavezzzi one on one with valdes, but our keeper stood tall and made a huge save. In the 28th minute Valdes made a decent save for a corner from a Lucas Moura header. From the resulting corner Valdes had to make yet another save. In the 38thn minute David Villa flashed a shot high over the bar after a bit of nice move involving Alba, Pedro and Iniesta. In the 41st minute Fabregas tried a long range effort and it went comfortably to row z. The first half ended with scoreline at 0-0. Apart from a couple of decent moves we were struggling not only to create any danger but also to control the match. Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi coonstantly dropping into midfield was creating a one man adavnatga for PSG midfield and that resulted in Busquets and Xavi struggling to have the desired impact on the match.

In the 49th minute Cesc had yet another effort from outside the box going high over the bar. In the 50th minute we paid for all our lack of effort. Ibrahimovic played Pastore on splitting our high line defense and finished brilliantly to put PSG 1-0 up. In the 58th minute Pastore had a great chance to score the second but ended flashing the shot wide off the goal. In the 61st minute Alba played a cross finding an on rushing Alves inside the box, but the Brazilian shot high over the bar. In the 62nd minute Vilanova brought in Messi and Batra for Cesc and AZdriano, who as usual picked up an injury on his return. In the 64th minute Iniesta danced into the box but his shot was well blocked by Alex. In the 65th minute Iniesta and Pique combined inside the box forcing an exceptional save from Sirigu. In the 71st minute Pedro put us back on parity with a brilliant pile driver off a shot from the box. Once again the move was made by Messi who picked the ball in midfield found Villa in box, Villa immediately was crowded out but had the presence of mind to drop it back to Pedro. In the 83rd minute Vilanova took off David Villa for Alex Song. In the 87th minute Iniesta spun inside the box taking out his marker but his shot hit the side netting.

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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