After last week’s media circus centred on Neymar’s transfer figures and the shock resignation of FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell as a result, the focus was back on football this weekend when Malaga travelled to the Nou Camp for round 21 of the Spanish League.
Barcelona narrowly beat Malaga 1-0 in the second round of the 2013-2014 season and with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid comfortably winning their own matches prior to Barça’s kick off the players went on the pitch knowing that they would need to perform well.
The Catalans piled on the pressure from the outset and came close to scoring early on, but then so were Malaga, who made a few good attempts on the Barça goal. But finally it was Pique who broke the deadlock from a corner, just a few minutes before the halftime whistle to end the first half 1-0.
Back on after the break the visitors came close to equalising, but with the game back under control Barcelona starting working away at the Malaga goal. Time and time again the ball was stopped but it just looked like a matter of time and finally in the 54th minute Pedro scored Barça’s second off a Messi assist.
Six minutes later and Barcelona scored again, effectively shutting off any hope for Malaga. With the result in the bag the pace slowed down and off came Xavi, Pedro and Alexis and in their place came Tello, Sergi Roberto and Afellay. The latter has just recovered from knee and thigh injuries and back playing for Barça for the first time since 2012 after being loaned to Schalke.
This week sees Barça take on Levante again in the Copa del Rey, followed by Valencia next Saturday.
1-0 Piqué (min 39)
2-0 Pedro (min 54)
3-0 Alexis (min 60)
With Real Madrid soundly beating Betis on Saturday and equaling the point tallies of both FC barcelona and Atletico Madrid prior to their own matches, the competition at the top of the table is really heating up. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
With Real Madrid closing in on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on Saturday to put all three clubs on 50 points however briefly, it was essential to do as much as possible on Sunday. Barcelona played the earlier match against Levante, with the home side going ahead after 9 minutes and the equaliser scored by Pique at 18. Barcelona dominated possession in their normal inimitable style, but with Levante throwing as much as they could into defence the Catalans found it difficult to create any real opportunities. With only one other real chance other than Pique’s goal the first half ended disappointingly 1-1.
Back on after the break most of the play was concentrated in the Levante end. However, that didn’t mean that things went entirely Barça’s way as a) they still couln’t create any good opportunities, and b) Llevante came on strong when they had the chance and put Victor Valdes to the test on two occasions. As the minutes counted down it seemed like Barcelona would pull one of thos last minute goals out of the bag, but it just didn’t come, leaving a worryinging couple of hours before the Atletico result was known.
With Atletico Madrid drawing too, Barcelona is still at the top of the table. However, with Barça and Atletico on 51 and Real Madrid on 50 the second half of the season leaves the three clubs everything to play for.
1-0 Vyntra (min 9)
1-1 Piqué (min 18)
Saturday night’s goalless draw between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona means the top of the table is essentially unchanged, with both teams now on 50 points and the Catalans marginally ahead of goals for. The result means Barcelona ends the half way point of the season leading the table, but the remainder of the season could easily go either way. Read the rest of this entry »
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Saturday night saw the two top teams in the Spanish league battling it out with the potential for a points gap at the end of 90 minutes. Barcelona travelled to Madrid to play Atletico, who they are just ahead of in the table thanks to their goal tally, making the halfway point of the season.
Both teams were clearly going out of their way to win the match but despite numerous chances neither team scored. Barcelona, with both Neymar and Messi sitting the first half out, were unable to control the pace of the match as they are so often able to do and Atletico were quick to counterattack when the occasion arose.
After the break Messi came on in place of Iniesta, but the hosts seemed more in control of the match than before, and with Neymar brought on 20 minutes into the second half the dynamic of the match changed, with chances for both teams. However, nothing came off, despite the players’ best efforts and the teams ended the weekend much the same as they started.
Barcelona remain at the top of the table after both they and Atletico madrid won their respective matches, with Barcelona ahead on goals for. Next weekend they face each other and so the long standing points tie may well be broken to put one or the other ahead on points, but prior to that Barcelona faces Getafe in the King’s Cup on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
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Barcelona celebrated the eve of Three King’s with a 4-0 win against Elche in their first match of the New Year. The evening is marked across Spain with processions with children showered in sweets before going home to receive toys and other presents brought by the kings and as a special treat many youngsters were taken by parents and grandparents to watch the match.
The match saw the return of Victor Valdes in goal after several weeks being laid low by an injury sustained in the national squad and saw Barça quickly show the visitors that they meant business as usual after the Christmas break. Goals from Alexis and Pedro saw the Catalans two goals ahead at the quarter hour mark, which remained until the break.
Back on in the second half Barça failed to extend their advantage when Xavi missed a penalty, but Alexis soon made up for that with his second of the night, set up by Iniesta and Pedro. Minutes later Alexis scored his first hat trick for FC Barcelona when he scored from a free kick just outside the area.
1-0 Alexis (min 6)
2-0 Pedro (min 15)
3-0 Alexis (min 61)
4-0 Alexis (min 67)
Barcelona ends 2013 at the top of the table after they turned around a 2-0 advantage by Getafe to win 5-2. Atletico Madrid also won their match, leaving them in second place by a cat’s whisker. Barcelona are ahead having scored three more goals than Atletico, and both teams are five points ahead of Real Madrid. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Barcelona’s last match of 2013 took place yesterday afternoon in Madrid, where they had travelled to play Getafe. However, with the home team scoring twice within the first quarter hour it looked for a while as if they might drop points ahead of Atletico Madrid’s evening match against Levante.
However, as the Catalans carried on working away Pedro scored one for Barcelona, then equalised and finally put Barça a goal ahead in time for the break; that was all in nine minutes. Barcelona were still playing without Messi and Valdes through injury, and Neymar was absent through suspension, but with these key players missing the remaining squad were determined to go into the holiday break heading the table still.
After the break Barcelona were clearly in control and although Getafe had a good chance at equalising 15 minutes in, Cesc effectively sealed the result when he scored from a Pedro cross. And when Pedro was brought down inside the area Cesc scored his second of the night to end the match 5-2 and with the almost certain knowledge that they would remain at the top of the table over Christmas.
1-0 Sergio Escudero (min 9)
2-0 Lisandro López (min 14)
2-1 Pedro (min 33)
2-2 Pedro (min 40)
2-3 Pedro (min 42)
2-4 Fábregas (min 67)
2-5 Fábregas (min 71)
Many commentators in Spain were already writing off FC Barcelona under Gerardo Martino after a couple of poor results, seemingly forgetting the string of successes that came before. But another solid result on Saturday night after Barcelona’s thrashing of Celtic during the week should silence the critics, at least until they drop another point.
Not everything went Barça’s way, of course, and Villarreal put on a good fight. However, Barcelona dominated possession and while they were unable to do as much as may have been hoped, they also prevented Villarreal from doing much either. In the end the opening goal was scored by Neymar from the penalty spot following a hand ball at the half hour mark and despite a promising attempt on the goal by Alexis, the first half ended 1-0.
Back on after the break the visitors were quick to equalise, but Barcelona remained unperturbed. And 20 minutes into the second half Barcelona were rewarded with a second goal from Neymar, set up by Alexis. While there were some who criticised the decision to sign Neymar at the start of the season he is proving his worth at the moment. With Messi injured, the Brazilian seems to have found himself within the team and in the last two matches scored a total of five goals.
1-0 Neymar (min 29)
1-1 Musacchio (min 46)
2-1 Neymar (min 66)