FC Barcelona News
For a horrible moment on Sunday night at the Nou Camp it looked as if things were going wrong, when Falcao scored at the half hour mark for Atletico Madrid, currently lying in second place in the Spanish league. However, four goals from FC Barcelona meant that the result was turned around and the gap at the top of the table opened up.
The visitors were creating all the chances at the start of the match, with the Catalans creating no real threat. However, once Falcao scored the opener the home team seemed to gain the focus required and it was just five minutes later that Adriano scored the equalizer, followed soon after by Busquets to put Barcelona in the lead.
Back on after the break Atletico had lost their early form, and as soon as Barça had the opportunity to attack they made it 3-1 thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi. However, that was not to be his last, with a goal two minutes before time, Messi’s ninetieth goal of 2012 and nine points clear of Atletico at the top of the table.
0-1 Falcao (min 30)
1-1 Adriano (min 35)
2-1 Busquets (min 44)
3-1 Messi (min 57)
4-1 Messi (min 88)
Once again Barcelona showed what incredible talent they possess in a 5-1 win against Athletic Bilbao at a cold Nou Camp on Saturday. The win was the thirteenth out of fourteen matches and means that Barça have made the best start to the season by any Spanish team ever.
Gerard Pique opened the scoring, with a goal after 20 minutes, with Messi scoring just minutes later. With the Catalans attacking the Bilbao goal mouth at every opportunity it looked like they would soon score again, and just before the hald time whistle Adriano made it 3-0.
Cesc Fabregas scored Barça’s fourth in the 56th minute, with Ibai Gómez scoring the only goal for the visitors in minute 64. However, just five minutes later Leo Messi scored his second goal to make it 5-1, and came close to scoring a hat trick before the final whistle blew.
1-0 Pique (min 21)
2-0 Messi (min 24)
3-0 Adriano (min 45)
4-0 Cesc (min 56)
4-1 Ibai Gómez (min 64)
5-1 Messi (min 69)
Barcelona made it through to the last 16 of the Copa del Rey last night after beating Alaves 3-1 in a match that saw the visitors score first.
Alaves scored the opener at the quarter hour mark, with the Catalans not up to their usual form at the start. However, the goal made them step up to the challenge and eventually Adriano scored just after the half hour mark to end the first half with one goal to each team.
Following the break it was David Villa’s chance to shine, in his first full match since returning from injury – he broke his leg during the Club’s World Cup, almost a year ago. Villa scored Barcelona’s second and third goals just after the start of the second half to give the home team a 3-1 win and to go through to the next round 6-1 on aggregate.
Barça’s next Copa del Rey challenge will be against Cordoba on December 12th at the Nou Camp.
0-1 Viguera (min 15)
1-1 Adriano (min 34)
2-1 Villa (min 55)
3-1 Villa (min 58)
Saturday night saw a new record created by FC Barcelona after they won their ninth match in 10 games when they played Celta at the Nou Camp.
The Catalans came on looking strong, dominating possession and looking like they meant business. Back in defence there was no Abidal or Piqué, while Puyol is going to be off for some time still after his horrific elbow dislocation.
The first goal came in the 20th minute from Adriano, set up by Pedro. However, soon after Mario Bermejo soon equalised for Celta. Barcelona quickly struck back though, when David Villa scored in the 25th minute to make it 2-1.
In the second half Villanova brought on Bartra in place of Cesc Fabregas to bolster Barça’s defence. Equally, Celta’s defence seemed difficult to break and it was only in the 60th minute when David Villa and Jordi Alba broke through to score. In the final half-hour the home team controled the balll with little sign of trouble, ending the game 3-1.
Barça’s new record was not the only cause for celebration. On Friday it was widely reported that Lionel Messi became a father for the first time.
1-0 Adriano (min 20)
1-1 Mario Bermejo (min 23)
2-1 Villa (min 25)
3-1 Jordi Alba (min 60)
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)
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)
Barcelona breezed to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup to set up a meeting with Copa Libertadores Champions Santos FC of Sao Paulo. Goals for Adriano (two), Keita and Maxwell helped the Catalan club to a 4-0 win against Qatari Asian Champions League winners, Al-Sadd, who were unable to muster as much as a shot on target throughout the encounter. Barcelona’s celebrations will be somewhat muted by the news that striker David Villa suffered a fractured fibia in the first half.
Guardiola used the game at Yokohama to give an opportunity to his rotation options, with Mascherano starting in central defence, Seydou Keita in central midfield, Adriano at right-back and Pedro on the left wing. It was a match in which Barcelona were never once troubled, but the slightly gauche attempts by the Al-Sadd players to win possession meant that this was a game watched with dread by most Cules.
It took a little longer than the customary few minutes for Barcelona to find their feet here; Al-Sadd defended very deep, and after no more than a couple of days in Japan, Guardiola’s men needed a while to settle. When they did the chances began to flow; David Villa latched on to a deflected clearance on the right side of the area and forced a low save from Mohamed Saqr in the Qatari’s goal.
The breakthrough followed shortly after. This time Barça took advantage of a comical Al-Sadd mix-up. Algerian defender Nadir Belhhadj nudged the ball back to his ’keeper when it would have been easier to clear. Mohamed Saqr struggled to get the ball under control, leaving Adriano free to steal in and score from no more than a yard out.
Minutes later David Villa suffered his injury. It occured when the Asturian striker attempted to control a loose ball in the Al-Saad area, under pressure from a defender. He looked uncomfortable straight away, but his calm reaction to the incident belied the gravity of the injury, as he now faces a number of months of the sidelines.
Alexis entered the fray in his stead and Barcelona continued to carve chances. On the stroke of half-time Thiago posted Adriano through with a beautiful reverse pass, and the Brazilian utility man found the bottom-left corner, although once again Mohamed Saqr might feel disappointed with his attempted save.
The second half was one of total Barcelona control. Messi was the man who came to the fore. He saw a shot deflected narrowly wide and a free-kick bound for the corner well saved. On the hour mark he was at the centre of a move to make it 3-0, producing a defence-splitting pass to play in Seydou Keita, whose neat finish across Mohamed Saqr nestled just inside the post.
The final goal came from a surprise source; the ever-lively Thiago found Maxwell on the left side of the area, and the Brazilian produced a powerful shot with his left-foot into the bottom-right corner.
0-1 Adriano (min 25)
0-2 Adriano (min 43)
0-3 Keita (min 64)
0-4 Maxwell (min 81)
FC Barcelona battled to a 1-0 victory away at Sporting Gijón on Sunday night. Utility man Adriano scored the only goal on what was a demanding and occasionally bruising encounter away at La Liga’s bottom club.
Indeed, recent weeks have brought plenty of bad news on the injury front, and for this game Guardiola had to make do without Alexis Sánchez, Cesc Fàbregas and Andrés Iniesta, all of whom are recovering from muscular injuries.
However, the coach continues to persist with a three-man defence; this time Alves and Abidal flanked Macherano at the back. Busquets sat in front of the backline again, offering help to his defenders when needed. Meanwhile Adriano started the game in a somewhat unfamiliar right-midfield role.
And it was to be the Brazilian player who made the breakthrough for Barcelona. With 11 minutes on the clock, Xavi looked up and slammed a shot from central position about 25 yards out. Juan Pablo in the Sporting goal was well beaten, but the ball rebounded off the left post and into the path of Adriano on the right angle of the penalty area. His bouncing, left-footed effort was slightly scuffed, but completely wrong-footed the ‘keeper and nestled in the bottom-left corner to make it 1-0.
The rest of the half was a story of absolute domination but few clear chances for Barça. A few minutes after the goal, Villa swapped passes with Thiago, but fired straight at Juan Pablo.
After that Barcelona couldn’t make their 80% possession count further. This was partly down to the organised defending of Gijón, who stepped up and caught Barcelona offside on a number of occasions; Villa was perhaps the chief culprit in this respect, but was joined by Messi and Alves.
Not long before half time Messi might have won a penalty, when he dribbled into the Sporting area, only to be felled by Miguel de las Cuevas, who appeared to catch his heels.
As the half ended there was a minor injury scare for Mascherano, who was caught on the side of the head accidentally by Alves’ knee and looked in real trouble before walking off groggily down the tunnel to join his teammates in the dressing room.
The second half was a similar story to the first, with Barcelona working hard to create openings, but being denied either by the offside flag or by sloppiness. Abidal limped off after 52 minutes with what appeared to be yet another muscle strain. He was replaced by Maxwell, and Barça then reverted to a back four when Piqué arrived in place of Pedro.
There were a few rugged looking challenges flying in as the game wore on, with Busquets, Messi and Alves all sent flying in the closing minutes. Messi came closest to doubling the lead, heading directly at Pablo, but Barcelona were ultimately happy to settle for a single goal and in truth were never really troubled at the back.
0-1, Adriano (min 12)
Barcelona have reached the final of the Copa del Rey for the 35th time after beating Almeria last night to go through 8-0 on aggregate.The final will be played against Real Madrid on April 23rd, celebrated across Catalonia as Sant Jordi’s Day. The match will be played in Sevilla.
0-1 Adriano (min 34)
0-2 Thiago (min 56)
0-3 Afellay (min 66)