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Barça beats Milan for place in last 16

November 7th, 2013

After a week in which it was being asked in the Catalan and Spanish media if Messi had lost his touch after a lack of goals following his injury layoff, or whether Barça’s glory days were behind them under Tata Martino, the squad sent out a clear message in their match against Milan last night.

Barcelona dominated from the start, while Milan opted for highly defensive play making it difficult to get through. In the end Neymar was brought down in Milan’s area and a penalty awarded to the Catalans; Messi ended his goal drought by putting Barça ahead. Busquets also scored minutes after Messi’s first goal, while the Italians’ only goal came towards the end of the first half when Pique deflected Kaka’s shot into his own goal.

During the second half Milan looked to drop their focus on pure defence and started to look at attacking the Barcelona goal. However, with their defence now opened up Messi delivered his second goal 10 minutes from time assisted by Cesc to seal their victory and a place in the last 16.

1-0 Messi (min 29)
2-0 Busquets (min 38)
2-1 Piqué (min 44)
3-1 Messi (min 82)

Group H
Club Pld W D L F A Pts
Barcelona 4 3 1 0 9 2 10
AC Milan 4 1 2 1 5 5 5
Ajax 4 1 1 2 3 7 4
Celtic 4 1 0 3 2 5 3

The result means that Barcelona are now guaranteed to be through to the next round whatever now happens in the group stages, five points ahead of second place Milan. Not bad for a team that some said was in crisis.


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 12

November 4th, 2013

Barcelona remains at the top of the table, still just one point ahead of Atletico and six in front of Real Madrid. 

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Narrow win in the Barcelona derby

November 4th, 2013

With the All Saints holiday on Friday, the Barcelona derby against Espanyol was played on Friday night rather than Saturday or Sunday as would be more normal.

Barcelona dominated possession from the outset, but were unable to break the Espanyol defence. Espanyol enjoyed a few moments of counter attack and came close to scoring after a mixup with Dani Alves, but Valdes made the save. Immediately afterwards Alves came close to opening the scoring but struck the Espanyol woodwork and in the end the first half ended goalless.

Back on after the break Barça looked revitalised and soon looked like they would score, with a Messi header that looked certain to go in saved by the Espanyol keeper, Kiko Casilla, and Neymar had a go at the goal too. In the end Neymar assisted Alexis to the only goal of the match in the 66th minute and while both teams sought to score, the remainder of the match was goalless.

1-0 Alexis (min 66)


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 11

October 30th, 2013

Barcelona extended their lead at the top of the table last night, at least temporarily, with most teams in the Spanish League still to play tonight and tomorrow. 

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Barça continues unbeaten run against Celta

October 30th, 2013

Following Saturday’s clasico there has been now let up for the Barça squad, with an away match scheduled for last night against Celta de Vigo. While a number of key players were rested ahead of the Barcelona derby on Friday and the next Champions League clash against Milan next Wednesday, the team got into their stride right from the start.

Once again Alexis showed that his class, putting the visitors into the lead after eight minutes. Celta, managed by one time Barça captain and Barça B coach, tried to apply pressure by moving their defence forward, but the Catalans controlled the match and the home team watched Barcelona’s attempts on the goal coming to nothing, but they must have known is was just a matter of time.

Back on after the break saw Barcelona extend the lead, when Cesc Fabregas hit the bar, for the ball to rebound into the net off the back of the Celta keeper. And a few minutes later Messi set Cesc up to score again, this time cleanly putting the ball into the net.

0-1 Alexis (min 8)
0-2 Yoel (min 47)
0-3 Fábregas (min 53)


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 10

October 28th, 2013

The result of the clasico on Saturday was to open up the gap with Real Madrid in third place. Barcelona is now six points ahead, while a single point separates them from Atletico Madrid, who are looking like they are the real competition for the league title this season.

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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
Club Pld W D L F A Pts
Barcelona 3 2 1 0 6 1 7
AC Milan 3 1 2 0 4 2 5
Celtic 3 1 0 2 2 4 3
Ajax 3 0 1 2 2 7 1

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.


La liga 2013/14 – standing after week 9

October 21st, 2013

With Barcelona dropping their first points of the season, Saturday night provided a couple of hours anxious wait to see what would happen with Atletico Madrid. In the end Espanyol beat Atletico meaning they now fall behind Barcelona by a single point, while Real Madrid are trailing Barcelona by three points to take third place in the table.

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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. 

 


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