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Showing posts with label Champions League. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Champions League. Show all posts

Mar 15, 2018



Lionel Messi scored two goals and created the other one in a 3-0 demolition of Chelsea securing a record 11th Consecutive Quarter Final appearance in UEFA Champions League.



Lionel Messi celebrating Scoring against Chelsea

Lionel Messi, once again was the difference maker for Barca in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League 2017-18 Pre-Quarter Knockout tie. The little Argentinian scored two goals and created the other one in a very efficient 3-0 victory against Chelsea. In the process he became the second player in UEFA Champions League history to score 100 goals. The 3-0 scoreline may give a picture of the match being too comfortable; but this match was like the Atletico match where we were made to suffer; may be a lot more than Atletico. But like against Atletico, we clearly shut down Chelsea from making anything much of the game.


Apr 19, 2012

A brilliant counter attacking goal at the very end of the first half is standing strong between Barcelona and the Champions League final in Munich after Chelsea secured a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge tonight. It was kind of a harsh and unlucky night with players wasting gilt edged chances, hitting the post on a couple of occasion and on all other occasion the Chelsea defense standing strong. For Chelsea this would feel like a revnge for the exit at Barca in 2009, but for Barca we still have a chance to go through provided we lift our games at Camp Nou next Tuesday. It was that kind of a day where you see Cesc Fabregas missing two chances, Sanchez another and hitting the bar once and on the very end of the night we struck the post from a Pedro shot. Guardiola srarted with Puyol and Mascherano in the centre of defense with Alves and Adriano playing the full back roles respectively. The rest of the line-up was as expected. Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets fromed the midfield. Sanchez, Messi and Cesc Fabregas formed the attacking trio.

Feb 24, 2010

Barca vs Stuttgart Match Highlights
Barca survived an absolute onslaught from Stuttgart and came out with an un-deserving 1-1 draw. The crucial away goal could prove to be very crucial in the second leg for Barca. Cacau put Stuttgart ahead in the first half but Ibrahmovic equalised for Barca in the early second half. Johan Cryuff has described FC Barcelona's performance in last match as their worst, he should have waited till this match. This was the worst Barca Performance for last three or four season. I cannot remember a match were we were so hopelessly over-run by the opponents. We looked like a second division team in the first half, but did well in the second half. We were up against the German efficiency which we usually associate with their national team, and failed miserably to stamp our authority. Guardiola chose Marquez and Pique to be in the defense, Puyol and Maxwell played the full back roles. The midfield was made up of Toure, Busquets and Xavi. The front line had Iniesta, Ibra and Messi.

Nov 27, 2008

FC Barcelona assured themselves of the top spot in their group and hopefully increased their chance of meeting an easier challenge in the second round with an emphatic 2-5 victory against Sporting Lisbon. With both team assured of a second round place the only thing that was at stake was the top spot. There is no guarantee that we will have a easy second round opponent; but there is a high chance of that happening. Hnery, Pique, Messi and Bojan all got into the score sheet; a Caneira own goal completes the tally for Barca. For Lisbon it was Veloso and Leidson who scored the goals. Guardiola fielded a very strong side at Portugal. Valdes guarded the goal; in front fo him Alves, Marquez, Pique and Caceres formed the defensive line; the midfield was made up of Xavi, Busquests and Gudjonsen; Messi,Henry and Hleb formed the forward line.The presence of two attack minded players helped FC Barcelona but there is no question of the fact that Messi was the main reason for such emphatic display. This victory would go well for a great display at Sevilla this weekend.

FC Barcelona dominated proceedings from the begining. In the 13th minute Busquets stole the ball from Lisbon and the ball reached Messi on the right; Messi unleashed his trademark dribbling run upto the goal line and pulled back the ball to Henry who completed the formalities. The second goal came in the 17th minute when Pique latched on to the end of a Xavi cross from corner. FC Barcelona went with a two goal lead to the half time. In the second half Henry was replaced by Bojan. In the 49th minute Alves played in Messi with a quickly taken free kick who rounded off Rui Patricio before slotting Barca's third of the night. Guardiola immediately took Messi off and put Pedro in his place. That move looked to have backfired with Sporting pulling two goals back in quick time. First it was Veloso who curled a free kick into the corner; the second came from Leidson after a Marquez's mistake. The recovery was short lived with Barca increasing their lead courtesy of a Caneira own goal after he tried to clear the ball off Busquets. In the 73rd minute Bojan was brough down by Patricio; he was expelled and a penalty was awarded. Bojan slotted the penalty to take Barca's tally to five goal and a welcome personal relief too.

Sep 17, 2008

Xavi celebrating His Goal against SportingFC Barcelona started their Champions League campaign with a 3-1 victory against Sporting Lisbon. Goals from Marquez, Eto and Xavi made sure that Barcelona shrugg off their bad start in the League with a good disciplined performance. Pep Guardiola has already shown signs that he is not going to wait for things to happen; instead he is going to make it happen. FC Barcelona changed their formation from the usual 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 formation. It was more like a 3-1-3-3 formation where Alves played as a Right winger ahead of three man defense but behind three man midfield. This made sure that Barcelona wasn't caught that often on counter. The defense was made up of Puyol on the left, Marquez on the centre and Pique on the right. In the midfield Keita joined the creative force of Xavi and Iniesta. The forward line up was back to the familiar Henry, Eto and Messi combination.

FC Barcelona started the game quite confidently resting the majority of possesion early on. In the 2nd minute Iniesta saw his shot going just wide from outside the box. In the next minute Eto wasted a splendid cross from Henry in the left; he failed to control the ball; had he done that Barca would have been one up early on. In the 11th minute Alves who had a great game found Xavi in the box; but Xavi shot wide from a promising position. In the early minutes it was clear that the three forward weren't looking sharp. Especially Messi, who looked more like disinterested. In the 20th minute FC Barcelona goes one up when Marquez scored from the corner. It was good to see Barca approaching the corner a different way. xavi who took the corner sent the ball to the wide of far post. Marquez then headed the ball into the net. Marquez was clearly trying to reach Keita who was in the centre; but poor defending caused the ball to reach the back of net. After the goal as in Racing game Barcelona dropped the tempo a bit; but their back three and midfield were solid. In the 38th minute Messi fails to control a great pass from Iniesta. It was the third time it was happening with Messi just in the first half. In the 40th minute Henry Shot high from a beautiful pass from Iniesta. Then in the 45th minute Messi cut past two defender with a wonderful run; but he was too greedy tried to take too many defenders rather than passing to other players wasted a golden chance which he himself created. He was justifying Maradona's accusation that he is being too greedy.

After the break FC Barcelona was lucky not to concede a goal when Marquez was compeltely beaten by an aerial ball. Puyol was in the right place to intercept and get the ball to safety. In the 52nd minute Barcelona almost conceded a goal from a familiar position - the corner. One th counter Eto saw his shot deflected wide. Then in the 59th minute FC Barcelona was awarded the most stupid penalty I have seen in my life time. Eto jumped to head a cross from Alves; he was no where near the ball and fell down with the smallest of nudgest. Eto duly converted from the penalty to give FC Barcelona a two goal advantage. In the 66th minute Toure was brought in place of Eto, surprisingly Messi was not replaced. In 72nd minute Sporting scores from a free kick from the right of the box. Absolutely poor defending; usually we never use to pick the guy who scores, but this time there were two players around him, they both missed the cross. Guardiola by this time has allowed the game to drift a lot from Barcelona's control. But he immediately brought in pedro in place of Henry. That changed the tempo and Barcelona was in complete control in last fifteen minutes. Messi who looked like sleeping on the pitch came back to life in the last ten minutes. In the 81st minute, Messi made a wonderful run in to the box taking on two defenders; but his final shot was very well saved by the Goal Keeper. In the 85th minute Messi goes for another great run from the centre of the pitch and passes to Iniesta but he shot wide. Iniesta made ammence for that missed oppurtunity with an inch perfect pass to Xavi in the minute, which Xavi converted to take the lead back to two goals.

No way you can say that this was a clinical performance. I believe they played well against Racing than this one. But still it was a marked improvement and more over the players showed that they can scrap a win comfortably. The most positive of the game was that they did that with none of the three forwards in complete control of their game. Messi in particular was the worst player on the pitch. He looked lazy, appeared not interested and too greedy at many times. Alves, Marquez, Puyol and Pique had a solid game. Iniesta was the creative force. Guardiola immediately needs to talk to Messi and get things straight. If he is not commited then Pedro is a very good option down that right side. Marquez always baffles me, he is like a King on the ground but the moment the balls goes in air he becomes a pauper. And it was surprising to see that the fan's man of the match was Lionel Messi. Come on, Barca fans, wake up.

Sep 16, 2008

Guardiola - Press Meet ahead of Sporting MatchFC Barcelona starts this years Champions League journey with much hope against Sporting Lisbon at Camp Nou today. FC Barcelona's current form should make this tie more and more interesteing. Barca has not been able to win in the last three matches, whereas Sporting has won three of their matches. But still if FC Barcelona can up the tempo like in the second half versus Racing, they should be able to go past the Sporting challenge. The squad announced for the Sporting tie is Valdés, Pinto, Henry, Márquez, Xavi, Piqué, Iniesta, Puyol, Cáceres, Sylvinho, Bojan, Eto'o, Messi, Alves, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Touré and Pedro. Abidal has been dropped and being replaced by Sylvinho. Dissappointing for Busquests who has been dropped in place for Marquez. Sporting is expected to play the counter attacking style of football with players like Moutinho, Rochemback, Postiga. So Barca players can expect to find more space in comparision with Racing match.

Barcelona is expected to start with the back four of Sylvinho, Marquez, Puyol and Alves. Sylvinho will be a good option going forward but he could be caught out on the defense. But then compared to Abidal he is a much safer option. How the three man midfield will be structured is yet to be seen. Iniesta and Xavi is expected to start, but whom among Keita and Toure will start is left to speculation. Based on last match Keita may find himself ahead of Toure. The front two is fixed with Eto and Messi; everyone expects Henry to start. But I would like to see Pedro starting from the left and Henry coming in as a substitute. It should make Henryt perform in the match. FC Barcelona showed great improvement and attitude in last match against Racing Santander. They should be able to see the Sporting challenge. But the defense problems still remain; but I believe more they play they may gel together and play more effectively. But for the time being as I mentioned in my last post; the best defensive strategy is keep the ball in opposition half.

Feb 22, 2007

Last night 2-1 defeat to Liverpool drops curtain on Barcelona's Champions League dream of this year. The most embarrassing and worrying factor for Frank Rijkaard about the defeat is the ease with which it came searching for Liverpool. Liverpool did not have to play anywhere near their ability to win this game, as Barca played perfect host by delivering the match in a palette to them. This does not come as a surprise as the Catalans recent performance should have warn this coming. Like against Valencia they have their Defence(yesterday Valdes also) to take the full responsibility of the defeat. But Does putting the blame entirely on the defence solves the mystery? No, I absolutely disagree. The blatant Truth is that its their offence's failures which is putting them in precarious position like this.

Last night Liverpool was anything but spectacular. They might have sticked to their task well, but then Barcelona's players attitude helped them well. Every one of the English commentator were praising their defence for the win, but I cannot agree completely over here. Whenever Barcelona upped the tempo Liverpool's defence was found wanting. If it was not for Sissoko or Carragher it would have been a different story. After the initial exchange of play when Barcelona upped the tempo, it looked like Liverpool is going to have lots of trouble. That phase of the match lasted till Deco's first Goal, in which we saw Barcelona's attacking force raiding the Liverpool territory ball after another. But that lasted only till that Goal came and after that Barcelona decided to sit back and enjoy. I don't find the rationale for such a decision, when you know that Anfield is not such an easy Ground. The tactic should have been to score at least 3 Goals and make the Tie safe.

But if we look deeper we can find that this laid back attitude is causing team more matches this season than players injury or players out of form. There was no explanation for team losing yesterday than this attitude, as Liverpool only had an average Game. Nobody ever saw Gerrard or Alonso on the field. But still they managed to Get two away Goals tell the way Barcelona played. When everyone was expecting the team to come and fire in all cylinders after the break, they were content with holding possession. They very well deserve to lose this match. But they could have tried a little harder so that the fans could walk home with some satisfaction.

It didn't came as a surprise that whenever Barca was able to make some impression in the Liverpool D it came from the right of the field through Messi. He might have seemed a little disillusioned in the second half, but he was the only Barca player along with Puyol who played at least well in the match. Last season Barca's strength were the one touch passing football and the pace they showed. It was the pace that combined along with the one touch football and skill which made them so dangerous. This season if we look carefully they are showing some glimpses of one touch football but they miss the pace completely. It cannot be attributed to the absence of Eto, as when Eto was there the same problem existed. Rijkaard has to address this as early as possible or change the 4-3-3 system to some conventional system. The 4-3-3 system needs the two above mentioned quality to be effective and Barca seems to miss at least one of them this season.

It will be honest to say that Barca's chances in the La Liga also will be diminished in the coming weeks. We have to expect Sevilla moving well ahead of them and may be Valencia will slowly overtake Barca for second spot. This could be a good time to see how good is the young talents we are having in our youth systems - Bojan Krkic, Dos santos, Marc Crosas, Olma etc. Rijkaard should start preparing for the next season from now onwards(forget about this season) and see wherever Barca need reinforcements. Certainly Zaragoza will kick them out of Copa del Rey coming 28th and Liverpool will complete formality by humiliating them with mostly a 2-0 defeat in Anfield.

Still as a Barcelona fan I will stay up late night to watch 2nd leg at Anfield hoping Barca beat them at least with a two goal margin. I will also hope we will win at Zaragoza by two goals(We last time lost their 4-1). You might think I am crazy, then without Hope this world will be a difficult place to live in.

Find more interesting articles at http://vkr-fcbarcelona.blogspot.com/

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