FC Barcelona celebrated both Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal’s return to the Nou Camp on Saturday night with a spectacular 5-0 against Mallorca. The Barça coach has recently returned from New York where he was receiving treatment for cancer of the salivary duct, while Abidal came on in the second half for the first time since his liver transplant last year.
With Messi out of action after the draw against Paris Saint-Germain last Tuesday and with the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday some of the big guns were missing from the squad. However, Iniesta came on as captain while Cesc slotted in to replace Messi.
In fact by the half time whistle with Barça four goals ahead the match was all but over with two each from Cesc and Alexis. After the break Cesc scored his hattrick immediately to make it 5-0. While that was to be the last goal of the match, another highlight was when Eric Abidal came replace Gerard Pique in the 69th minute to huge cheers from the crowd.
1-0 Fábregas (min 19)
2-0 Alexis (min 21)
3-0 Fábregas (min 36)
4-0 Alexis (min 37)
5-0 Fábregas (min 45)
Barcelona walked away frustrated following last night’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain after dominating possession throughout the match didn’t quite prove enough against some poor refereeing decisions, a goal awarded to Ibrahimovic that looked to be offside and a last minute equaliser from Matuidi.
The hosts started out strong and Valdes was forced repeatedly into action, but soon the Catalans looked brighter and when PSG failed to clear a corner, Dani Alves passed it to Leo Messi in the box, who almost effortlessly landed in the back of the net to open the scoring. However, Messi was soon in trouble and was substituted for the second half after suffering a hamstring injury; early reports suggest he’ll be out of action for three weeks.
After the break Barça continued to dominate until the last quarter hour when Valdes was called upon again to stop Paris Saint-Germain from scoring. Eventually though, after an absurd moment when Alba and Mascherano collided and were sent off the pitch for treatment, Ibrahimovic did score despite being well offside.
However, an attack on the PSG goal saw Alexis brought down by the goalkeeper and Barcelona again went ahead thanks to Xavi’s penalty kick. It looked like the clock was counting down to another Barça win, but a last minute goal from Matuidi that Valdes just couldn’t get his hands to saw the result reduced to a draw.
However, FC Barcelona will go into the second leg with a clear advantage thanks to the two away goals.
0-1 Messi (min 37)
1-1 Ibrahimovic (min 80)
2-1 Xavi (min 90)
2-2 Matuidi (min 94)
Ahead of their Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona fielded a squad with a number of less familiar faces against Celta de Vigo on Saturday night, while Abidal appeared on the bench for the first time following his liver transplant last April.
Barça dominated possession in their usual manner they were prevented from doing much with the ball by Celta who started pressurising early on and eventually it was Celta who opened the scoring after 37 minutes. However, that lead didn’t last long, with Tello equalising for the Catalans 5 minutes later.
Back on after the break, it wasn’t until 20 minutes from time that Messi put Barcelona in the lead, meaning he has scored against every single team in Spain’s top league. However, Oubiña scored a few minutes before the end leaving Barça with a draw.
1-0 Natxo Insa (min 37)
1-1 Tello (min 42)
1-2 Messi (min 71)
2-2 Oubiña (min 86)
The position at the head of the table remains unchanged, with Barcelona 13 points clearn of Real Madrid, with a single point separating them from Atletico. Barcelona is a full 27 points in front of fourth place Real Sociedad.
After knocking out AC Milan from Champions League last week, FC Barcelona seems to be back on form and fully recovered from their dip in performance against Real Madrid recently.
It was the turn of Rayo Vallecano to visit the haloed turf of the Nou Camp and both sides went out of their way to score. Rayo is currently half way down the table, but came on playing to win. In the end though it was Barcelona, with Puyol and Xavi off through injury, who went ahead. First a goal from Villa and then from Messi a few minutes from the break. And back on again Messi again to make it 3.
Tamudo scored in the 69th minute for the visitors, but by then it was too late to stage a comeback and the match edned 3-1. With the first captains off through injury or, in the case of Victor Valdes, suspension the captaincy was handed to Inieta. When he came off the armband was handed to Leo Messi, his first ever time as Barça captain.
1-0 Villa (min 24)
2-0 Messi (min 39)
3-0 Messi (min 56)
3-1 Tamudo (min 69)
FC Barcelona overcame the odds last night to turn around their 2-0 defeat in the first leg of the Champions League knockout stage by Milan three weeks ago and make it through to the quarter finals with flying colours. The result of the first leg meant they had to make it 3-0 or better to ensure their place, a feat which according to Sky News had never been done before.
What was clear was that the squad came into the stadium intending to do all they could towards winning, whether or not it had been done before. Very quickly the Catalans showed who was in charge and Lionel Messi scored the first goal in the fourth minute. Soon after Milan had one of their only chances on an open Barcelona goal, which went badly wrong for the Italians when it rebounded off the post instead.
Four minutes before the half time break Messi scored his second of the night to at least put them on an even footing with Milan, a virtual reset for the second half.
Back on after the break, Villa soon made it three goals for Barcelona. Although it was still a good result, it would only take a goal from the visitors to take this round still and so Barcelona contunued pushing.
And in the closing minutes of the goal, that twilight period where things ciould easily have gone astray with a break from Milan, it was Jordi Alba who signed and sealed the result for Barça, with an injury time goal that made the 95,000 strong crowd ecstatic. Last night’s result makes it the sixth successive year that the Catalans have made it thorugh to the quarterfinals.
1-0 Messi (min 4)
2-0 Messi (min 38)
3-0 Villa (min 54)
4-0 Jordi Alba (min 92)
Barcelona bounced back from the disappointment of the recent clasicos and gained a well needed victory ahead of their Champions League match against AC Milan on Tuesday.
Of course Deportivo is currently bottom of the table and nowhere near being in the same class as either Real Madrid or AC Milan, but despite several key players started on the bench the Catalans started well. However, they failed to do much with the opportunities they created until finally, some eight minutes before the break, Alexis scored with his head from an Alves cross.
The second half saw them with fewer opportunities, but when Messi, Iniesta and Busquets come on the opportunities began. Messi scored, only to have the goal ruled offside, but the Argentine player made it 2-0 in the closing minutes of the match.
1-0 Alexis (min 37)
2-0 Messi (min 87)
Although Saturday afternoon’s clash with Real Madrid started going wrong after five minutes after Benzema put the hosts ahead, Messi equalised for the Catalans 12 minutes later.
Real Madrid had nothing really to gain on Barcelona, with a 16 point difference in the league, and with the Champions League clash against Manchester United on Tuesday rested some key players. Barça didn’t seem to be on top of things all the same, despite dominating possession.
However, 10 minutes from full time Ramos headed a corner past Victor Valdes to put Madrid back in the lead. But the defining moment of the match was when a clear penalty was denied after Adriano was brought down in the box. Iniesta was shown a yellow, while Valdes received a red after the final whistle for his protestations to the ref, which continued in the tunnel and for which he will received a lengthy ban.
1-0 Benzema (min 5)
1-1 Messi (min 17)
2-1 Sergio Ramos (min 81)
Barça crashed out of the Copa del Rey last night in a 3-1 loss against arch-rival Real Madrid at the Nou Camp.
The first leg of the semifinal had ended in a 1-1 draw and there were high hopes for Barcelona at home. However, the visitors went one goal up after just 12 minutes thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo, meaning the Catalans would need to score 2 to go through and putting the pressure on.
The score remained 1-0 to Madrid at the break, but it took less than 10 minutes for Ronaldo to score his second goal and pretty much putting a win out of the hands of Barcelona; and then Varene scored a third goal for Real Madrid leaving the Nou Camp feeling decimated.
Jordi Alba was able to restore some pride to the Catalans though, with a goal for FC Barcelona just minutes from full time. However, it is a huge disappointment for the team who have been doing so well this season.
Barcelona travels to Madrid on Saturday to play another la liga clasico. They’ll be looking to regain something after last night’s loss.
0-1 Ronaldo (min 12)
0-2 Ronaldo (min 56)
0-3 Varane (min 67)
1-3 Jordi Alba (min 88)
Saturday night was Sevilla’s turn to visit the Nou Camp in cold conditions that saw snow over much of Catalonia. It was also Barça’s first match after the dissappointment of defeat at the hands of AC Milan and so they had something to prove.
Although Barcelona dominiated possession throughout, the first half ended with the visitors in the lead after a goal in the 41st minute by Botía, one of the only real challenges they had on the Barcelona goal.
However, after the break Barcelona came on with renewed determination to make something happen; the fans didn’t have long to wait with David Villa scoring with his head just six minutes in to the second half from a Dani Alves cross. And then, just a few minutes later Messi put the Catalans in the lead with the final goal of the match.
0-1 Botía (min 41)
1-1 Villa (min 51)
2-1 Messi (min 59)