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Barça beats Atletico to make Copa del Rey semi-final

January 29th, 2015

Barcelona went through to the Cope del Rey semi-finals last night after a match in which all five goals were scored in the first half and the hosts ended the game with just nine men.

After the first leg of the quarter-finals, played last week at the Nou Camp, Barcelona did just enough and scraped and 1-0 win. However, the start of the return leg went disastrously wrong when Fernando Torres scored inside the first minute. Barcelona’s equaliser wasn’t long coming though and Messi and Suarez set up Neymar to score at the 8 minute mark.

Soon afterwards Neymar looked to have put the Catalans ahead, only to be flagged offside and just before thirty minutes up a tangle between Macherano and Juanfran outside the area saw Atletico awarded a penalty; Raúl García scored from the spot to put the hosts back in the lead. However, that advantage lasted just seven minutes after a corner awarded to Barça was knocked into his own net by Miranda.

A few minutes later and there was more drama though. When Atletico called for handball against Jordi Alba after Griezmann’s shot was blocked Messi and Alba broke away and set up Neymar’s second of the night, which was also to be the last goal of the match.

Back on after the break Atletico was down to ten men, with Gabi red carded for an incident in the tunnel. The home side looked defeated and had no fight left in them. Atletico often get physical when things aren’t going their way and starting getting shown the yellow card until the inevitable happened; Mario Suárez was sent off after being shown his second yellow of the night.

1-0 Fernando Torres (min 1)
1-1 Neymar (min 8)
2-1 Raúl García (min 29)
2-2 Miranda (own goal min 37)
2-3 Neymar (min 40)

La liga 2014/15 – standing after week 20

January 26th, 2015

Barcelona remains a point behind Real Madrid after both teams won their respective matches. Madrid still have a game in hand after their league match against Sevilla was postponed to allow Madrid to play in the Club World Cup and will be played on 4th February.

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Barça onslaught against Elche

January 26th, 2015

Two goals each from Messi and Neymar and one each from Pique and Pedro saw Barcelona spectacularly take apart Elche on Saturday. Despite some pressure from Elche early on that saw the hosts coming close to going ahead, Pique scored the opener after 34 minutes.

With Barcelona facing Atletico on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, Luis Enrique chose to start a number of key players on the bench and it took a while for Barça to find their rhythm, with Pique’s goal coming off a free kick by Xavi just outside the area. Going into the break though the squad must have been disappointed at being a single goal ahead.

The second half started with Elche looking renewed, but when Neymar was fouled inside the box Messi made sure to score from the penalty spot. The Catalans were helped when Fajr was given his marching orders by the ref and soon after Neymar scored Barcelona’s third, followed shortly after by the fourth; both goals were set up by Messi.

With just minutes to go for the final whistle Messi scored his second of the night to put Barça on 5. That would have been enough, but Pedro scored at the last minute off a Neymar assist to make the final score 6-0 to Barcelona.

0-1 Piqué (min 34)
0-2 Messi (min 53)
0-3 Neymar (min 67)
0-4 Neymar (min 69)
0-5 Messi (min 86)
0-6 Pedro (min 91)

Barça beats Atletico thanks to Messi goal

January 22nd, 2015

In a match that saw Barcelona and Atletico fighting with all their might, it was Messi who scored off the rebound after a penalty just seven minutes from the end.

While Barça dominated possession, they were unable to break through the Atletico defence and when the visitors created chances, they also failed to get through. However, the deciding point came towards the end of the match when a free kick by Messi resulted in Busquets being bought down in the area and a penalty awarded to the Catalans and go into next week’s match with a slight advantage.

1-0 Messi (min 83)

La liga 2014/15 – standing after week 19

January 19th, 2015

Barcelona remain one point behind Real Madrid in the Spanish league after both teams won their respective matches, although Madrid still has a game in hand thanks to the involvement of the team in the Club World Cup in December. Atletico lies in third on 41 points, three points behind Barça.

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Messi hat-trick as Barça dominates against Deportivo

January 19th, 2015

A hat-trick from Leo Messi on Sunday night helped seal another win for Barça when they played Deportivo de la Coruña. This was Messi’s twenty-second league hat-trick, just one less than Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentine scored the opener ten minutes in when he headed the ball into the net off an assist by Ivan Rakitic. Suarez had a good chance to go further ahead, but put it wide but just after the half hour mark Neymar fed Messi the ball for the second of the night.

The next came a little after a quarter hour into the second half, when Rakitic created another opportunity for Messi, who ran into the penalty area and shot the ball into the net. With the match well and truly under control the pace slackened for a while, but as the end of the match approached so did the pressure from Barcelona. Although Messi came to scoring again, it was not to be and the final goal of the match was an own goal by Sidnei after a mix-up in the Deportivo defence.

0-1 Messi (min 10)
0-2 Messi (min 33)
0-3 Messi (min 62)
0-4 Sidnei (min 83)

Barcelona beats Elche 4-0 for place in Copa del Rey quarter final

January 16th, 2015

After Barcelona 5-0 victory in the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 there was little hope for Elche in their home leg last night and Luis Enrique opted to field a number of Barcelona B players in order to rest some of Barça’s big names.

It took 20 minutes for the Catalans to make their mark, with a goal from Mathieu. 20 minutes later Sergi scored a second and shortly after Pedro scored a third from the penalty spot. Three goals up and winning 8-0 on aggregate, it took the entire second half for the visitors to score the final goal of the night when Adriano headed the ball into the Elche net in injury time.

Barcelona face Atletico Madrid in the next round after they knocked Real Madrid out of the competition.

0-1 Mathieu (min 21)
0-2 Sergi (min 40)
0-3 Pedro (min 43)
0-4 Adriano (min 90)

La liga 2014/15 – standing after week 18

January 12th, 2015

After a week in which FC Barcelona seemed to go into meltdown, their win against Atletico Madrid may prove to be a crucial one in the season as they again move ahead of the current league title holder. Real Madrid remain in the top spot just a single point ahead but having played one game less thanks to their participation in the Club World Cup in December.

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Decisive win for Barça against Atletico

January 12th, 2015

Last week seemed all doom and gloom around Barça, with the sacking of the Sporting Director, Carles Puyol quitting as his deputy, talk of Luis Enrique being given an ultimatum and reports of Leo Messi’s imminent departure from the club.

While no doubt some of those undercurrents will continue to rumble on, the squad delivered on Sunday night when they faced Atletico Madrid in what was always going to be one of the big tests of the season. Going into the weekend the two clubs were on equal points and just a single point behind Real Madrid, who still have a game in hand. This weekend at least saw Barça create another gap with the current league title holders.

Despite the cloud hanging over FC Barcelona, the players went into the match looking intent on a win. Strong on the attack from the start, it didn’t take long for Neymar to score the opener from a Messi assist. Atletico often get pretty rough when things aren’t going their way and after going a goal down play started getting pretty physical, resulting in Neymar requiring attention after a particularly hard tackle. After recovering he came close to adding to his goal tally, but it was Messi who again provided the assist for Barcelona’s second goal, scored by Suarez.

Back on after the break a penalty was awarded to the visitors for a foul by Messi, which was kicked home by Mandzukic. And as the end of the match drew nearer both teams applied more pressure resulting in a spate of fouls. In the end it was Messi who scored the final goal of the match in the last few minutes of the game with an assist from Rakitic, sealing the win for Barça and another three points.

1-0 Neymar (min 11)
2-0 Suárez (min 34)
2-1 Mandzukic (min 56)
3-1 Messi (min 86)

Barcelona dominates Elche after slow start

January 9th, 2015

With Messi, Neymar and Suarez all starting last night’s match it looked like Luis Enrique was going in with all guns blazing with the aim, if the reports are true, of saving his managerial career at Barça.

However, despite fielding Barcelona’s heavyweights it took a long time for the Catalans to get into the game and for the first half an hour seemed it wouldn’t be going anywhere. This was Barcelona at their worst, with no real opportunities and uninteresting to watch. However, Neymar changed all that at the 34th minute, when suddenly the team stepped up a couple of notches and this first goal prompted more. Suarez scored five minutes after the Neymar opener, and then Messi from the penalty spot after Neymar was brought down to go into the break 3-0; just 15 minutes earlier it was looking like it was going to be deadlock.

Back on after the break Barcelona kept the pressure up and more goals came. First Messi set up Jordi Alba to score Barça’s fourth, and Neymar finished with Barcelona’s fifth goal of the night. Despite a poor start, Barcelona really got into the match and go into the return leg with the clear advantage.

1-0 Neymar (min 34)
2-0 Suárez (min 39)
3-0 Messi (min 45)
4-0 Jordi Alba (min 54)
5-0 Neymar (min 57)

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