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Barcelona hang on to league hopes after draw against Elche

May 12th, 2014

Sunday evening saw FC Barcelona travel down to Valencia province to play Elche with kickoff coinciding with both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, timed so that none of the contenders for the league title would have an advantage in knowing how the others had done.

Barça maintained high possession throughout the match, but once again were looking lacklustre and without the spark that you expect from the Catalans. While there were a number of opportunities to score, the team was unable to come up with enough to put the ball home and while in some respects they were unlucky not to score, they also lacked the creativity to make it happen.

Elche also looked dangerous at times on the counterattack, something that Barça needed to avoid at all costs in order to remain in the race. In the end the match ended without a goal being scored, Elche happy with their single point that guarantees they will play in the top tier next season, while Barcelona hanging on to their hopes only because Atletico also drew.

The title this year comes down to the final match of the season, with Barcelona facing Atletico. Barça must win the match to take the title, but on yesterday’s performance they have a long way to go if they are to achieve that aim.

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 36 [UPDATE]

May 8th, 2014

Last night Real Madrid played Valladolid, which could have easily seen FC barcelona knocked into third place in the league. The match had been postponed from April to allow Madrid rest time because of the Copa del Rey final and Champions League semi-final.

The result, a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal from Valladolid, means Real Madrid took just one point, leaving them trailing the Catalans by a point. While not mathematically out of the running to take the league title, the chances slipped away last night.

At the weekend Barça plays Elche, while Atletico faces Malaga, while the last match of the season is against Atletico at the Nou Camp and may be the decider.

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La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 36

May 5th, 2014

While Barcelona’s Saturday afternoon clash was disappointing, Sunday evening also saw both the club’s rivals for the Spanish league title frustrated too. Levante beat Atletico 2-0, meaning Barça at least closed the gap by one point, which leaves them three points behind; and Valencia secured a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu leaving Real Madrid two points behind Barcelona with a game in hand.

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Late goal from Getafe frustrates Barça

May 5th, 2014

Saturday afternoon saw a disappointing result for FC Barcelona after when a match that looked like it was in the bag resulted in a draw due to a last minute goal from Getafe. The first home match since the death of Tito Vilanova last month started off slowly, while the Getafe defence prevented anything happening when the Catalans did get things together.

Although Barça was denied from playing their normal flowing style, finally Alves and Messi got together for a decisive move. Messi started to move, passing to Alves who powered up the right hand side of the pitch, crossed to Messi who put the ball in the net. After 22 minutes the deadlock was broken and Barcelona ahead!

Barça’s lead lasted 14 minutes, until a free kick awarded against them resulted in the visitors equalising. And despite a good move by Alexis towards the end of the first half the break came with the two teams level.

The second half started with Barcelona looking in much better form that before the break and started creating problems for Getafe. Bringing on Cesc Fabregas in place of Mascherano 20 minutes in quickly yielded results, with Cesc starting a move that saw Alexis score Barcelona’s second goal of the afternoon.

However, time and time again as the minutes counted down Barça was unable to score again, despite being given space to do so. And then, well into injury time, just before the final whistle blew the visitors scored again to level with Barcelona.

1-0 Messi (min 22)
1-1 Lafita (min 36)
2-1 Alexis (min 68)
2-2 Lafita (min 93)

Barça cleared of Neymar signing irregularities

April 30th, 2014

FC Barcelona has been cleared of any wrongdoing in signing Neymar last summer after the Spanish football association, the LFP, met last week to discuss the club’s appeal. The case initially came to light in January, when it was alleged that the club had committed tax fraud paid far in excess of the €53 million officially stated for the Brazilian player.

The club paid €13.5 million to the Spanish tax authorities after the matter came to light, with the LFP investigating the club over the incident.

Despite the club being cleared of any wrongdoing, the case brought about the resignation of club president Sandro Rosell and so was not without consequence; how much of that was politically motivated is open to speculation.

Source: Daily Mail

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 35

April 28th, 2014

Atletico Madrid remains at the top of the table after beating Valencia, while Barcelona is in the number two spot only by virtue of Real Madrid having played one match less. Madrid beat Osasuna 4-0 on Saturday and play the return leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

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Barça stages comeback against Villarreal after going 2 goals down

April 28th, 2014

Sunday’s match was bound to be a tough one after the shock of Tito Vilanova’s death from cancer on Friday. The players knew him well, having worked with him since he was Pep Guardiola’s right hand man prior to taking over the top job himself, and as a product of the club’s youth programme himself, he was Barça through and through.

After a minute’s silence for their much respected former coach, FC Barcelona dominated from the start but despite high possession they were unable to break through to Villarreal defence. Messi looked like he might do something for the Catalans to no avail; and when the hosts got the chance they really went for it too.

However, just when the first half looked like it would end goalless a last minute counter attack from Villarreal resulted in them going into the break ahead.

Back on after the break things started unravelling further for Barça when the home side scored a second goal 10 minutes in and it started to look like their slender league hopes would be dashed completely. However, two own goals from Villarreal in the space of a quarter hour levelled the score, a huge piece of luck for Barcelona; the second was a fantastic header by Musacchio that he is unlikely to forget any time soon.

Now on an even keel it was down to Messi five minutes later to put Barça ahead and completely turned around the match from the disaster it had looked at one point.

1-0 Cani (min 45)
2-0 Manu Trigueros (min 54)
2-1 Gabriel (min 64)
2-2 Musacchio (min 77)
2-3 Messi (min 82)

Tito Vilanova loses cancer battle

April 25th, 2014

This afternoon I was shocked to hear the news that former coach Tito Vilanova died today after being hospitalised last week for complications.

It was reported that yesterday his condition worsened and unfortunately he succumed to his illness, which was first diagnosed in 2011.

You can read more about him on the official FCB website but extend my condolences to his family at this sad time.

FIFA transfer ban on hold until appeal heard

April 25th, 2014

FC Barcelona has been handed something of a reprieve by FIFA, after submitting their appeal against the decision to bar them from player transfers for the next 14 months.

The original decision could have made it extremely difficult for Barça to replace Victor Valdes in goal, as well as strengthen the defence with Carles Puyol’s departure. However, with the appeal lodged FIFA have temporarily suspended the ban, allowing the club to sign new players this summer.

The appeal is likely to be heard after the summer transfer window has closed, one of the reasons for the ban to be lifted for now.

La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 34

April 21st, 2014

Atletico Madrid remain four points clear of second place FC Barcelona this weekend, with the Catalans in second place at least temporarily as Real Madrid’s match has been delayed until May due to Champions League commitments.

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