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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
A hat trick from Lionel Messi put Barcelona three goals ahead of Valencia last night at the Mestalla stadium, helping the Catalans to win the match and overcome their first real test of the new season. However, the home team fought back to score two goals before the break and offered a serious threat to Barça’s early lead.
Leo Messi opened the scoring after 10 minutes after being set up by Cesc, and for the next 30 minutes Barcelona continued to dominate, with Messi scoring at the 38 minute mark and then two minutes later. However, just when it looked like the visitors had everything under control, Valencia scored two goals just before the break while the clock was counting down injury time and closing the early advantage down to a single goal.
Back on after the break Barcelona was unable to produce the same kind of magic that created that Messi hat trick, but with Valdes and the defence holding up, they conceded no more goals either. Valencia is always a tough competitor, and the Barça squad must be glad to have this match out the way with a positive result.
0-1 Messi (min 10)
0-2 Messi (min 38)
0-3 Messi (min 40)
1-3 Hélder Postiga (min 44)
2-3 Hélder Postiga (min 47)
Fc Barcelona last night won the Spanish Supercup on away goals after a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp.
Although Barcelona dominated possession for much of the match, they were unable to break the Atletico defence and the closest they came to scoring was from the penalty spot; however, Lionel Messi’s shot ricocheted off the inside of the crossbar and failed to go in.
However, Victor Valdes made two good saves and in doing so almost certainly won the cup for the Catalans.
Barcelona travelled down to play Malaga on Sunday, the second match of the new season. Playing without Leo Messi, suffering from a slight injury sustained against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, Tata Martino emphasized prior to the match that the team’s result could not be affected by one player.
The Catalans maintained their usual high possession and while they were able to test the Malaga defences, much of their effort seemed to go to waste.
In the end Adriano scored the only goal of the match at the end of the first half, while Victor Valdes ensured Barça took the three points with fantastic save just before the final whistle.
0-1 Adriano (min 43)
Barça debuted their away strip in Madrid last night, the red and yellow stripes of the Catalan flag provocatively worn in Spain’s capital as they faced Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup.
The match kicked off late to allow for the August heat, with reports of it being 32 degrees C even at that time, which obviously takes its toll on players. There was to be no rerun of the huge goal tallies Barça has been getting used to in pre-season and in the first match of the league with the hosts showing that they meant business and creating moments of danger, particularly on the counter attack.
Atletico scored early, David Villa putting his new team ahead of his former team mates, while Barcelona just couldn’t make it happen, despite high possession. After the break Messi didn’t restart due to a minor injury, while new boy Neymar came on a few minutes later.
In the end Neymar scored for the Catalans 20 minutes into the second half and left it to the second leg to decide the trophy. The Nou Camp leg takes place next Wednesday.
1-0 Villa (min 11)
1-1 Neymar (min 66)