El Messiah flattens The GunnersApril 7, 2010
After the 2-2 scoreline against Arsenal last week there was little room for complacency when The Gunners came to the Nou Camp last night. And with Puyol and Pique each serving a suspension, Barça was forced to field a severely depleted defence.
But after Arsenal’s first goal in the 18th minute it all went Barcelona’s way – or more correctly Lionel Messi’s – when the Argentinian scored a staggering four goals for a 4-1 victory taking Barça through to the Champions League semi-finals against Inter Milan later this month.
In some ways the match was a complete reversal of the first leg, with most of the really decisive action happening in the first half. Although Barcelona started off with high possession as usual, Arsenal kept breaking the flow of the game, and the result was a rather scrappy match to watch.
And then disaster struck in the 18th minute with a goal from Bendtner after some poor defence from the Catalans. However, just 2 minutes later Leo Messi equalised with a shot from the edge of the box.
Barcelona’s second goal came in the 36th minute from an Abidal pass in the area, showing the visitors who was in the driving seat. And a few minutes later, in the 41st minute, Messi ran forward with the ball and chipped it over the keeper and into the goal for his hat-trick.
With the match all but decided in the first half, the pace of the second half was much slower. However, Arsenal showed they had not given up and came close to scoring on two occasions. The first was in minute 72, when a Bendtner header struck the post – although even if it had gone in he was ruled offside. And in the 82nd minute Arsenal again came close, with a shot the struck the corner of the post.
With the game looking like it was won, Messi put in a final effort in an amazing display of football. He dummied the ball around the Arsenal defence almost like he was two different players; shot the ball towards the goal, which was deflected by the Arsenal keeper; lined the ball up again and… GOAL!!! It was the goal keepers worst nightmare, straight between his legs.
0-1 Bendtner (min 18)
1-1 Messi (min 20)
2-1 Messi (min 36)
3-1 Messi (min 41)
4-1 Messi (min 86)
FC Barcelona are looking like they’re right at the top of their game, which is good news for the forthcoming El Classic against Real Madrid on Saturday at the Bernabeu. And if they carry on like this they’ll be returning to the Bernabeu at the end of May for the Champions League final.