Last night Barcelona played their first match of the 2013-2014 pre-season in front of a new crowd, marking the debut of both Tata Martino and Neymar at the Nou Camp. With the new team being introduced prior to the match, the Nou Camp was in full celebratory mood, while commemorating legendary Barça goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets, who died on Tuesday.
This year Brazilian club Santos was invited to play in the Gamper trophy, the club from which Neymar has just been signed and so the Gamper played farewell to him as much as it did an introduction to the new.
Barcelona came on brimming with energy and from the early moments it looked like they might score. It took just seven minutes for Lionel Messi to score, followed by an own goal from Santos a few minutes later. It took 10 more minutes before Alexis made it 3-0, but even that wasn’t enough and by the time of the break Pedro had made it 4-0.
There can’t have been a good feeling in the changing room of one of Brazil’s premier clubs, but after the break play continued as before. Martino made a number of changes in the second half, including the hugely anticipated debut of Neymar, who for the first time played alongside Leo Messi to roars of approval from the crowd.
Cesc scored two within the first 25 minutes to make it 6-0 and while it was clear that the squad was trying to set up Neymar to score his first goal for the Catalans, it didn’t quite happen. However, Adriano scored a seventh goal for Barcelona and Dongou made it 8-0.
All in all a good display of football and a good result. While some doubted whether Messi and Neymar could coexist in the same team, the first demonstration seems to show that both are mature enough to get on with the job. based on this match it looks like it will be a fantastic season ahead.
1-0 Messi (min 7)
2-0 Léo (min 10)
3-0 Alexis (min 20)
4-0 Pedro (min 28)
5-0 Fábregas (min 51)
6-0 Fábregas (min 66)
7-0 Adriano (min 73)
8-0 Dongou (min 81)
A team of young Barça B players and first-team stars making their comebacks from injury slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Serie A club Sampdoria in the Gamper on Monday night. The visitors took an early lead through Roberto Soriano, and despite probing for 90 minutes , Barça were unable to find a way back.
There was barely a minute on the clock when Sampdoria stole a surprise lead. The Italian side worked the ball down the left wing for Obiang to swing in a right-footed cross from deep. Midfielder Roberto Soriano evaded his marker and stooped to head home to the right of Pinto in the Barcelona goal.
The home team needed some time to settle, given its slightly unfamiliar mix of players, and for the next half an hour achieved plenty of possession but not much by way of chances.
Barcelona probed via Afellay, Villa and Deulofeu, but Sampdoria were organised and determined. Villa fired a free-kick over from 25 yards and Sergi Roberto was just unable to make contact with a powerful Espinosa cross from the left.
As the half wore on, spaces began to open up, but not before Pinto was forced into a fine save when Maxi López got free in the Barcelona area. Afellay went close with a long-range drive, and moments later the Dutchman sent Deulofeu through down the left, but Samp ‘keeper Romero was alert to the danger and gathered the ball from the young winger’s feet.
Deulofeu had been quietly impressive all half, and almost scored the equaliser, when he turned the Sampdoria defence inside out down the right wing, but could only sting the palms of Romero with his shot from a tight angle.
Barcelona began the second half at a far higher tempo, and produced a number of eye-catching attacking moves. The pick involved Sergi Roberto and Deulofeu. The former slipped a measured through-ball forward for Deulofeu, but the young winger was once again closed down by Romero.
Deulofeu continued to pose a threat, and raised the crowd’s spirits with his pace and close control, although he occasionally tried to take on a little too much and ran into traffic. Sampdoria on the other hand weres sitting ever deeper, but still managed to create chances on the break.
First Tissone fired over on the half volley as Barcelona tried to clear their lines, and then Pozzi was presented with fantastic opportunity when he raced clear of the Barça defence. He had plenty of time to choose a corner, but Pinto came out quickly and Pozzi’s shot only ricocheted off the base of the post and out for a goal kick.
A raft of substitutions followed, and the Nou Camp faithful got a glimpse of some of the next generation of young stars to be produced by the famous youth system. Among them was Jean Marie Dongou, but the 17-year-old forward only had seven minutes to impress, and by that point the game was starting peter out.
0-1 Soriano (min 1)
FC Barcelona made light work of Czech side Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday, winning 4-0 away. Lionel Messi notched a fabulous hat-trick on the night he reached the 200 goal landmark, and was joined on the score-sheet by Cesc Fàbregas.
The lineup was remarkable for the inclusion of Messi, Cesc and Piqué, who were starting in their first competitive game together since their days at La Masia more than eight years ago. Puyol partnered Piqué in central defence, and Isaac Cuenca continued his run in the team, starting on the right wing. Elsewhere Thiago and Cesc stood in for Iniesta and Xavi, both recuperating from minor injuries.
Against motivated opposition at the Struncovy Savy Stadion, Barcelona needed their customary few minutes to settle, and it was the home side that had the best of the early chances. Firstly Petrzela somehow managed to break free into a one-on-one situation with Valdés, but Barça’s ‘keeper was equal to the task, getting down quickly to his left. Moments later Kolar found himself unmarked in the area, but skied his shot, much to the relief of the Barcelona defence.
Cesc was denied what appeared to be a clear-cut penalty, when he turned in the box, but seemed to be brought down by a clumsy Jiracek tackle. Twenty minutes in, Barcelona were hitting their stride; Cesc had a powerful mid-range effort pushed away, and then Lionel Messi jinked into the area and was fouled when he nimbly cut inside defender Marian Cisovsky. Referee Robert Schöfgenhofer saw it as a goalscoring opportunity and somewhat harshly sent the Slovak defender off.
The Argentine was clinical from the penalty spot, finding the bottom left corner to claim his 200th goal for the club. He was on the scoresheet again in the closing minutes of the half when he bustled forward, played a one-two with Adriano and tucked the return ball past Pavlik from six yards.
Straight after the break Messi and Cesc combined, with the latter almost sealing a wonderful team goal when he clipped the ball over the onrushing Pavlik, but his effort just missed the far post. Messi then saw a fine 25-yard free kick saved on the stretch by Pzlen’s goalkeeper.
Pzlen then went close, when Petrzela smashed a half-volley into the side-netting for the home side’s last real chance of the night. Isaac Cuenca started to shine for Barcelona, first working some space at the byline with excellent close control. A few minutes later he worked himself free and curled a perfect cross for Cesc to head home to take the score to 3-0.
Alexis Sánchez made a long-awaited return from injury with three minutes to go, and almost capped his comeback with a goal when Messi put him through in a narrow position on the right. Then, in the dying embers of the game, Barcelona’s inspirational Argentine grabbed his hat-trick, rounding the keeper and slotting home after Piqué had released him with a smart backheel.
0-1, Messi (min 22, pen)
0-2, Messi (min 45+1)
0-3, Cesc (min 71)
0-4, Messi (min 90+2)
FC Barcelona resoundingly beat SSC Napoli on Monday night in a match that saw Cesc Fabregas score his first goal for the club.The annual cup between FC Barcelona is an invitation match that brings some of the world’s top teams to the Nou Camp.
This year the Gamper Trophy was between two potential Champions League rivals and showed that following Barça’a defeat of Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercup they aren’t taking any prisioners.
The match saw a feast of goals for the Catalans and as well as Cesc’s first goal Leo Messi scored twice. With the player’s strike having postponed the first match of the league last week, there was the threat that the same would happen to the first home match of the season on Monday 29th against Villarreal.
Luckily the two sides have reached agreement and that will go ahead; before that Barça faces Porto in the European Supercup on Friday, which is being played in Monaco.
1-0 Cesc (min 25)
2-0 Keita (min 31)
3-0 Pedro (min 61)
4-0 Messi (min 65)
5-o Messi (min 77)
Ronaldinho was warmly received at the Nou Camp last night when AC Milan came to participate in the invitation Gamper Trophy. The match marked the official introduction of the new look squad, with David Villa scoring Barça’s only goal of the night to leave the full time score 1-1.
The hero of the night, therefore, was reserve goal keeper Pinto, who saved two penalties to hand the hosts the trophy for 2010. The league starts next weekend, with the first home match of the new league season being played the weekend of 11/12 September against Hercules.
If you’re looking for details of next season’s fixtures then you don’t have much longer to wait.
I’m expecting the draw it at the end of next week and will email you as soon as I have details – I’m in the middle of moving house at the moment so chaos rules, but thanks to the magic of a laptop plus Vodafone I can work from anywhere! You will get that email…
I’ve already sent you details of the Spanish Supercup to be played against Sevilla in August. The home leg will be played on 21/22 August at the Nou Camp:
Spanish Supercup 2010
But I’ve got some more news for you… Ronaldinho is returning to Barcelona!
It’s just for one night though, and it’s with his current club, AC Milan. The Italian club has been invited to play in the annual Gamper Trophy, an invitation event named after the founder of FC Barcelona.
I don’t have prices yet, but you’ll see them at the link below sometime this week:
Gamper Trophy 2010
Manchester City became the first British team ever to win the Gamper Trophy, FC Barcelona’s annual invitation match played aginst some of the world’s best known teams. It also marked the firsdt time in the tornament’s history that Barça has failed to score.
Before kickoff team coach Pep Guardiola introduced the new look teal to the public, in a stadium that was close to full – more that 94,000 spectators packed the stands.
The match was the Nou Camp debut of Summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is currently recovering from a hand injury and was substituted by Lionel Messi.
To celebrate the triple – Copa, Liga, Campions – Barça played in a specially designed strip with a distinctively retro 1970s look. The top was blue, with three vertical stripes up the centre broken by the word “mes” – as in “more than a club” – with red shorts.
The first half was filled with Barça B team players, who allowed Martin Petrov score. However, the second half really saw Barça playing well, dominating possession and attacking the goal. However, the failed to make the most of this advantage and were unable to find the net thanks to Manchester City’s defence and keeper Shay Given.
The next match is the second leg of the Spanish Supercup on Sunday 23rd August. See the homepage for price and availability of Barcelona tickets for all matches.
The Nou Camp saw an impressive display last night as Boca Juniors from Argentina visited to compete in the Gamper trophy. With a new manager and new players to show off, the stadium was a buzz of excitement, and a display to seemingly compete withe the Olympics opening.
However, after Barcelona’s goal heavy friendlies played recently, the match against Boca must have been a disappointment. The visitors out on a strong display and eventually went ahead 1 goal.
It looked as though it was going to stay that way too. At the end of the second half the teams were given a very generous 5 minutes injury time. Puyol made the most of it and scored. And with a few seconds to go Eto’o scored too.
Tickets are now available for the Gamper Trophy, to be played in 16th August. One of Argentina’s biggest clubs, Boca Juniors, visits the Nou Camp to play Futbol Club Barcelona.
The trophy is in memory of club founder Hans Gamper and played each August against a specially invited top-tier team. Come and check out the all new Barça lineup before the new season starts and get a feel for the new players.