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Match report

Clasico goes to Barcelona thanks to Neymar and Alexis

October 28th, 2013

Saturday was the big one, when Real Madrid visited the Nou Camp to play in “el clasico”. The event is one of the most widely anticipated matches in the world with Spain’s two biggest teams acting out on pitch the antagonism felt between centralist Spain versus Catalonia. At least the days of Jose Mourinho amping up the tension are over though.

Both teams started perhaps a little nervously, with neither doing much at first. And then Iniesta ran forward with the ball passing to Neymar, who scored the first in the 18th minute and the home crowd was ecstatic. It seemed to spur on Barça too, who were clearly in control of the match. It didn’t stop Madrid from making a good effort on the Barcelona goal towards the end of the first half, only stopped by Valdes.

The break seemed to have revived the visitors, with Barcelona not dominating possession to such an extent and allowing Madrid to take another go at the Barcelona goal. Again Valdes showed what he is paid for.

With Alexis on for Cesc, Madrid continued to apply pressure. However, Barcelona once again brought the game back into their control culminating in the 76th minute with the second goal of the night scored by Alexis. As they continued working, Alves came close to making it 3-0, but in the end it was Madrid’s last minute goal that clawed back the scoreline to 2-1. The goal came too late for the visitors though and the final whistle blew to give Barcelona three more points.

1-0 Neymar (min 18)
2-0 Alexis (min 76)
2-1 Jesé (min 89)


Milan holds Barça to 1-1 draw at San Siro

October 23rd, 2013

Last night’s Champions League group stage match against AC Milan ended in a draw after first half goals from Robinho and Messi, leaving Barcelona at the top of the table for Group H.

Milan came out clearly focused on scoring early only to have their first goal ruled offside. However, a couple of minutes later their determintaion payed off, with Robinho putting the ball into the back of the Barça net. The Italians’ energy soon waned though and Barcelona picked up, demonstrating their usual high possession rate and when the time came, 20 minutes into the game, with Busquets and Iniesta setting up the goal for Leo Messi.

Despite controlling high possession the Catalans were unable to score again, despite some good opportunities. Neymar saw a volley just go wide at one stage but in the end the teams were forced to share the points.

1-0 Robinho (min 8)
1-1 Messi (min 22)

Group H
ClubPldWDLFAPts
Barcelona3210617
AC Milan3120425
Celtic3102243
Ajax3012271

Barcelona’s next Champions League fixture is against Milan on 6th November. Before that we have the Nou Camp “clasico” on Saturday and the Barcelona derby on 1st November.


Goalless draw against Osasuna ends Barça’s winning streak

October 21st, 2013

While eight straight wins for FC Barcelona created a new club record for the start of the season, the dream of a new la liga record was ended on Saturday night when they walked away with a single point against Osasuna. The match was marked by the return of Carles Puyol after months laid off with a knee injury and while the Catalans controlled possession from the start, the Basques didn’t allow them to do anything with the ball when in their area. 

Leo Messi, who started on the bench after recovering from his injury, came on twenty minutes into the second half for Xavi, with Tello substituting Pedro almost 10 minutes later but even so, they were unable to penetrate the Osasuna defence. New boy Neymar and Cesc Fabregas both came close to scoring in the second half, but in the end it just wasn’t to be.

The match ended goalless, with a big week for Barça ahead. They play AC Milan in Italy on Tuesday and Real Madrid visit the Nou Camp for the clasico next Saturday. 

 


Barcelona continues winning streak with 8 out of 8

October 7th, 2013

Barcelona continued their record start to the season under Tata Martino, with their eighth successive win. However, despite Barça dominating possession in the first few minutes it was Valladolid who opened the scoring, with a goal by Javi Guerra in the ninth minute. Alexis equalised soon after but despite the dominance of the Catalans the first half ended with one goal to each team.

Barcelona properly got into their stride in the second half, with Xavi putting the home side into the lead six minutes in thanks to Tello and Xavi, while – with Messi injured – Neymar was pushing hard. It didn’t take long for Barcelona to go further ahead, with Alexis scoring his second of the evening in the 63rd minute after being set up by Neymar.

Just a few minutes later and Alexis returned the favour despite the opportunity of scoring a hat trick and instead set up Neymar to make it 4-1. The squad should be satisfied with the result as they take a break from domestic football while attention turns on the World Cup qualifiers.

0-1 Javi Guerra (min 9)
1-1 Alexis (min 13)
2-1 Xavi (min 51)
3-1 Alexis (min 63)
4-1 Neymar(min 69)


Barcelona beats 10 man Celtic

October 2nd, 2013

Last night’s win against Celtic means Barcelona are in a strong position to go through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, with the Catalans remaining top of the table after AC Milan drew against Ajax.

Travelling to Glasgow without the injured Leo Messi meant there was some concern, especially with memories of the same stage of the competition last year when Celtic beat Barça in both the group stage matches. However, there was no repeat of that last night, with Barcelona controlling possession as usual and crucially not allowing Celtic the opportunity to counterattack.

The first half ended with neither side having scored, but after the break the home side pushed more, the ball flowed less, and the fouls got worse. In one of the match’s most crucial points Brown brought down Neymar around 15 minutes into the second half. Although the foul looked minor, Brown received a red car; replays revealed that the Celtic captain had kicked Neymar’s back after he had already fallen to the ground.

With the home side down to 10 men and Barcelona pushing, Celtic came close to opening the scoring, saved by Victor Valdes. And then it happened; Neymar sprinted forward with the ball, passed to Alexis, who crossed to Cesc to score the only goal of the match.

In the closing minutes of the match Barcelona maintained pressure on the Celtic goal, but in the end the match finished with just the single goal.

0-1 Fábregas (min 73)

Group H
ClubPldWDLFAPts
Barcelona2200506
AC Milan2110314
Ajax2011151
Celtic2002030

New start of season record for Barcelona

September 30th, 2013

Barcelona’s win against Almeria on Saturday created a new club record for the start of the season, winning all seven matches played so far. The Catalans started the match testing the Almeria defence, while the hosts did all they could to make sure they were able to do little with the high possession.

However, at the 20 minute mark Pedro passed to Messi at the edge of the box and put Barça in the lead. Although Messi might have hoped to do more though, as just a few minutes later Xavi came on to replace him with the Argentine suffering a thigh injury likely to keep him out of action for two to three weeks. And with Messi off, Almeria started to capitalise on Barcelona’s lost focus, forcing Valdes into action at the end of the first half.

Back on after the break Barcelona regained their composure and, back in control, started to slow things down. 10 minutes into the second half Adriano put the ball into the Almeria net for the final goal of the match.

0-1 Messi (min 20)
0-2 Adriano (min 56)


Six out of six as Barça equals their best la liga start

September 25th, 2013

Barcelona made it six games out of six last night when they faced Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp, and in doing so equalled their best ever start to the league. Barça scored a barrage of goals early on, with Neymar opening the scoring in the fourth minute, followed by Messi just three minutes later and Busquets 22 minutes in.

Although Barça continued to dominate the first half ended 3-0. The Nou Camp was in a party mood thanks to the city wide celebrations for la Mercè, Barcelona’s patron saint, and also the anniversary of the inauguration of the stadium; every chance on the Real Sociedad goal was celebrated in the stands.

Back on after the break it took nearly 20 minutes for the visitors to make their mark on the evening when they took the scoreline to 3-1. However, it was too little and too late against the might of Barcelona, who scored one more 12 minutes later to end the match 4-1.

Barça heads to Almeria on Saturday for the next league match, followed by Celtic on Tuesday.

1-0 Neymar (min 4)
2-0 Messi (min 7)
3-0 Busquets (min 22)
3-1 De la Bella (min 64)
4-1 Bartra (min 76)


Pedro hat trick seals 5th win for Barça

September 23rd, 2013

Barcelona won their fifth match of the season on Saturday night thanks to an on form Victor Valdes, a hat trick from Pedro and a goal from Cesc. The Catalans were visiting Rayo Vallecano, who came close to going ahead early in the first half but were prevented from scoring by Valdes.

Barça also had some early chances, but were unable to capitalise on them, with Messi and Neymar threatening the host’s goal. And a disaster was narrowly averted when Montoya came close to scoring an own goal when he unexpectedly back passed to Valdes. However, the first goal finally came when Messi set up Pedro who kicked the ball home. 10 minutes later Rayo was awarded a penalty, after Adriano crashed into Trashorras, but Victor Valdes kept his head and stopped the ball.

Back on after the break Pedro scored his second of the night to give Barcelona a more comfortable advantage, after which both Messi and Neymar both came close to adding to the goal tally and it was the latter who set up Pedro for his hat trick in the 72nd minute. The final goal of the match came shortly after, when Xavi set up Cesc to make it 4-0 to Barça.

0-1 Pedro (min 32)
0-2 Pedro (min 47)
0-3 Pedro (min 72)
0-4 Fábregas (min 79)


Messi hat trick opens Barça’s European campaign

September 19th, 2013

Barcelona kicked off their Champions League campaign last night with a 4-0 win against Dutch side Ajax. The goals came from a Messi hat trick, plus a header from Gerard Pique, with all but one of the goals coming in the second half.

The lead up to this match saw a war of words between Barça president Sandro Rosell and soccer legend Johan Cruyff, who has played and managed both Barça and Ajax and recently said he would never step inside the Nou Camp while Rosell remains president.

Although in some ways the match was rather lacklustre, Victor Valdes put on a strong performance, twice preventing Ajax from equalising when Barça had gone one goal up and then later stopping a penalty. The end result leaves Barcelona top of the table in Group H, ahead of AC Milan thanks to goals for.

1-0 Messi (min 21)
2-0 Messi (min 54)
3-0 Piqué (min 68)
4-0 Messi (min 74)

Group H
TeamPWDLFAPts
Barcelona1100403
AC Milan1100203
Celtic1001020
Ajax1001040

Alexis saves the day with last minute goal against Sevilla

September 16th, 2013

Barcelona’s fourth match of the season was against Sevilla at the Nou Camp on Saturday, and while going ahead 2 goals, Sevilla equalised in a 10 minute period leading up to the end of the match. It was only a goal in injury time by Alexis that saved the result for the Catalans.

Sevilla is never a walkover and another in a string of tough opponents at the start of this season. Although Barça piled on the pressure from the start, with Neymar and Tello in particular looking to threaten the Sevilla goal, the visitor’s defence didn’t allow much opportunity either. In the end Dani Alves opened the scoring after 34 minutes with a header off an Adriano cross and the first half ended with Barcelona one goal up.

Back on after the break Sevilla looked like they were going to make a go at it and upped the pressure on the Barça goal. However, with Cesc gaining the ball, Neymar then set up Messi for goal number two in the 74th minute. However, Sevilla were not yet done and just minutes later they had narrowed the advantage to a single goal, and then right at the last minute equalised.

With three minutes of injury time awarded by the referee it was looking like Barça would lose their first points of the season. However, the crowd was delighted when Messi set up Alexis to score the winning goal putting the Catalans equal first in the league table.

1-0 Dani Alves (min 35)
2-0 Messi (min 74)
2-1 Rakitic (min 79)
2-2 Coke(min 89)
3-2 Alexis(min 93)


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