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La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 5

September 25th, 2012

Barcelona remains 8 points ahead of Real Madrid after a weekend that saw Madrid’s match against Rayon postponed due to suspected sabotage of the floodlighting at the host stadium. Barcelona struggled in their match against Granada, although eventually winning 2-0, while Madrid won their second league match of the season.

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Barcelona struggles to defeat Granada

September 23rd, 2012

FC Barcelona won their fifth consecutive league match last night against Granada, although they struggled to score at all. Granada went out of their way to break the flowing style of Barça, who struggled to get close to the visitors goal. In fact there were just two opportunities in the first half, neither of which went home.

Back on after the break Barça started to find their form, while their opponent struggled in defence. Barcelona started to pile on the pressure, although Granada wouldn’t yield. And suddenly they went on the counter-attack, with Victor Valdes making a great save.

Finally it was only in the 86th minute that Xavi scored off the crossbar. Minutes later Messi’s shot was deflected by Borja into his own net to make it 2-0 Barcelona.

1-0 Xavi (min 86)
2-0 Borja (min 91)

Barça win hard fought match against Spartak

September 20th, 2012

FC Barcelona won their first clash in their new Champions League campaign last night at the Nou Camp against Spartak Moscow in a hard fought match. Barça went 1-0l up in the 13th minute thanks to Tello but Spartak fought back scoring their first thanks to an own goal from Dani Alves and then Romulo put the visitors in the lead in the 58th minute.

On came Alexis in places of Alvis and Barcelona started to look like they were making some progress. Finally Messi equalised in the 72nd minute. With Villa on the pitch the Spartak area was really under attack and Finally Leo Messi scored the winner in the 80th minute, with the home team managing to hang on to their advantage for the last 10 minutes for the final whistle.

The bad news is that Gerard Pique was injured early in the match, with Alex Song coming on to replace him. Pique is likely to be out for two to three weeks with a foot injury.

1-0 Tello (min 13)
1-1 Alves (min 28)
1-2 Romulo (min 58)
2-2 Messi (min 72)
3-2 Messi (min 80)

La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 4

September 17th, 2012

Barcelona remains unbeaten in the Spanish league with 12 points after four matches and is now 8 points ahead of current title holders Real Madrid. Barça’s arch-rivals have won just one of their matches so far and drawn another and, according to a Catalan news report, the first time in the history if the league that they have fallen 8 points behind the league leader. However, on the down side, it was confirmed yesterday that Carles Puyol has injured his left knee, a strain of the posterior cruciate ligament, and will be out of action for six weeks.

This week sees the start of Barcelona’s Champions League campaign, with their first match in the group stage against Spartak Moscow at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

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Dominant Barcelona Take the Points at Getafe

September 17th, 2012

FC Barcelona were in fine form on Saturday evening as they beat Getafe 4-1 in Madrid. It was a complete performance by Barça – lively in attack and defensively very sound. The goals came from Messi, who got two, Adriano and David Villa. Pablo Sarabia got a consolation for the home side, who barely had a sniff of the Barcelona goal all match.

Assistant coach Jordi Roura took Tito Vilanova’s place on the touchline, as the main man served out the second game of his suspension.

High in the stand at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Vilanova will have been pleased with the first half display, in a fixture that saw Pep Guardiola’s side slip to defeat last season. Barcelona found their touch quickly and started combining to great effect, even without mainstays like the injured Dani Alves and Messi, who was on the bench.

Tello had a chance four minutes in, when he used his lightning pace to rush past the Getafe backline, but saw his shot saved low by Moya. A little later Thiago controlled the ball deep in the Getafe half, strode forward and produced a rasping shot that crashed off the crossbar. Xavi then went close with an effort of his own

The pressure was building now, and it culminated with a goal – Cesc did well to get past two Getafe defenders before laying it off for Adriano, who tucked it home. Thiago might have made it two when he chested down a pinpoint pass by Tello, but Moya was alert and made a nearpost save.

Getafe hadn’t posed much of a threat, but forced Valdés into action just before half-time, when the Barça ‘keeper scrambled away a Pedro León free-kick.

The second half was much of the same from the visitors. Barcelona controlled possession and hardly looked troubled at the back. Tello had a couple of chances, the first of which was curled wide and the second well saved by Moya. Messi, on for Thiago, was denied what looked like a penalty when Miguel Torres brought him down but appeared to make no contact with the ball.

The referee had no choice but to point to the spot later when Pedro cut inside Valera and was caught by the defender. Messi scored, via Moya’s palm.

The onslaught continued into the final stages of the match – Montoya broke down the right, and his low cross was deflected into Messi’s path, who made no mistake from six yards out.

With just over 10 minutes to go, Getafe pulled a goal back to make it 3-1, when a shot by Sarabia took a wild deflection off Mascherano and left Valdés with no chance. But it had been a thoroughly professional performance by Barcelona, and this was underlined in injury time, when David Villa scored from a delightful Xavi pass. The Asturian forward strode into the area and placed his shot in between Moya’s legs to end the match at 4-1 to Barcelona.

1-0 Adriano (min 32)
2-0 Messi (min 72)
3-0 Messi (min 76)
3-1 Mascherano (min 77)
4-1 Villa (min 89)

La liga 2012/2013 – standing after week 3

September 3rd, 2012

Barcelona opened their lead at the top of the table at the weekend being the only team to win all three of their encounters so far. Real Madrid won their first match of the season putting them on four points down in ninth place. However, it is still early days and there is plenty of time for Madrid to close the gap. Barça’s next match is against Getafe on September 15th.

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Barcelona Do Enough Against Valencia

September 3rd, 2012

Barcelona produced a workmanlike performance to see off a gritty Valencia team with a 1-0 victory at the Camp Nou on Sunday night. Chances were rare for both teams, and Barça had to withstand a late push by Valencia to get the win. The only goal of the night was a spectacular strike by Adriano.

In the first half Barcelona were handed the task of breaking down a Valencia team that was sitting deep and defending doggedly. Alex Song made his league debut, and took his place in Busquets’ role in front of the back four.

Barça needed a little time to size up their opposition, but were soon keeping the ball and beginning to find threatening positions. It was Valencia though that created the first real opportunity – Soldado trapped a long pass, cut inside Piqué and curled a dangerous-looking shot just past the right post from the edge of the area, with Valdés at full-stretch.

But for the remainder of the half Barcelona proceeded with relative comfort and were soon finding space. Messi had two headed opportunities, the first of which flew over the bar, but the second drew an acrobatic save from Diego Alves. The threat was growing, but when the opener did arrive, it came from an unlikely source.

Barcelona worked a short corner on the left, and the ball found its way to left-back Adriano, who trapped it on the angle of the area and curled a rasping shot into the top right-hand corner, leaving Diego Alves helpless.

The chances continued to flow – Xavi threaded a fantastic pass that Pedro met on the volley, but Alves got down to make the save. Minutes later Messi put Cesc through on goal with plenty of time, but the midfielder’s chipped effort grazed the outside of the post.

Barça conjured two good chances at the beginning of the second half, but slowly faded. The first was perhaps the best of the night. Alexis worked the ball cleverly to the by line on the right and cut back for Cesc who was in space seven yards out. The former Arsenal man took his shot first-time but managed to clear the cross-bar by a couple of yards.

Then, after a flowing passing move Adriano cut in from the right, where he was now positioned after an injury to Dani Alves, but his left-footed shot was hit straight at Valencia’s ‘keeper.

In the final half-hour the game stagnated. Barcelona lost some attacking cohesion, and Valencia’s confidence started to grow. They thought they had equalized when Víctor Ruíz turned the ball in at the back-post from a free-kick, but the defender was correctly ruled offside.

As the clock ticked down, it was Valencia who created the best chances, but they were little more than glimpses of goal. Víctor Ruíz headed a corner well over, with Valdes looking uncomfortable, and then Jonas hit a volley from 25-yards out on the right, which flew just over the bar.

1-0 Adriano (min 21)

Champions League tickets now available for group stage

September 1st, 2012

Following the Champions League draw earlier in the week, Simply Barcelona Tickets now has ticket prices for all of FC Barcelona’s home matches in the group stage of the competition.

First off is Spartak Moscow on September 19th, with Celtic visiting the Nou Camp on October 23rd. And finally Benfica makes the trip to Barcelona on December 5th. You can check out availability for our tickets here or contact local suppliers for away matches.

Champions league 2012-13 groups drawn today

August 30th, 2012

The group stage of the UEFA Champions League was drawn at Monaco earlier today and finds FC Barcelona in group G against Celtic, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

The first match in the group stage is due to take place on the 18th or 19th of September, finishing at the beginning of December. We’ll be adding match dates and ticket availability once we have that information from FC Barcelona.

Brave Barcelona Fall Just Short

August 30th, 2012

10-man Barcelona lost the Super Cup on away goals on Wednesday night, slipping to 2-1 defeat, with the score 4-4 on aggregate. In a torrid first half, Barça conceded two goals in quick succession and had Adriano sent off. They pulled a goal back via a Messi free-kick and rallied in the second half, but were unable to find a winning goal.

Barcelona looked confident in the first ten minutes, with Pedro finding some dangerous space, but the positive start was undone when Real Madrid played a hopeful ball over the top. Higuaín was making a run, but Mascherano looked set to clear until he kicked at air, leaving the Argentine forward with plenty of time to place his shot beneath Víctor Valdés.

The next 20 minutes were brutal – Barcelona’s defence under constant pressure and unable to find Xavi, Iniesta or Messi in any space.

Real Madrid’s second goal arrived after Valdés had been called into action a number of times. It came from another long-ball – Piqué tried to cut it out, but deflected it to Cristiano Ronaldo, who flicked it high into the air and brought it down on the right angle of the penalty area, now facing Valdés one-on-one. The Portuguese forward hit it low, and Valdés made contact, but the ball deflected up and into the roof of the net.

Barcelona were still unable to settle and looked uncomfortable dealing with Madrid’s direct passing. In one attack Adriano was left isolated by a long ball for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Brazilian defender tried to get his tackle in but was second to the ball, giving away a professional foul and seeing red.

After withdrawing Alexis and bringing on Montoya, Barcelona saw out the half in comparative comfort, fashioning a couple of attacks and pinning Real Madrid back. After ten minutes of building pressure, Messi cracked home a stunning free-kick from 30 yards that curled round the wall and beat Casillas at the left post to make it 2-1 on the night.

Following a tentative start, the second half burst into life 15 minutes in, after some great work by Pedro. The winger first controlled a long-range pass with an immaculate first touch, seeing his subsequent shot saved by Casillas. And minutes later he embarked on an exciting run down the right flank, before cutting inside and forcing another save from Madrid’s ‘keeper.

Until this point Real Madrid had been happy to slow the tempo, but responded by initiating attacks of their own. Khedira bustled past two defenders before Valdés blocked his close-range shot, while Higuaín grazed the outside of the post after being sent clear – Mascherano had managed to get make a crucial challenge at the last moment.

In a frenetic ending, Barcelona had chances to win the tie. Montoya raced through down the right-flank, but Casillas pulled off another big save. Then in the last minute substitute Alex Song set up Messi, but the Argentine’s effort flew just wide.

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