FC Barcelona News
It was a big night at the Nou Camp on Sunday being the first home game since taking the league title last weekend and the chance to celebrate on home turf. The entire weekend saw heavy rain and Sunday night proved no exception, but even that failed to dent the celebrations.
After a bit of a slow start from the hosts Pedro scored the first goal for Barça in the 20th minute thanks to Xavi, as the team aims to end the season on 100 points. After this Barcelona upped the pace but despite their best efforts were unable to follow through to put the ball home. In the end Marc Valiente failed to clear the ball from the Valladolid goalmouth after a corner and put the ball in his own net.
After the break Barcelona looked like they were going for broke to score a third, but in the end it didn’t happen. Instead Valladolid scored from the penalty spot three minutes from the end after Manucho was brought down by Montoya in the box.
Following the match were the customary celebrations for the league title, with coach and players individually thanking the crowd and fireworks to celebrate the fourth league title in five years for Barça.
1-0 Pedro (min 20)
2-0 Marc Valiente (min 41)
2-1 Víctor Pérez (min 87)
The first leg of the Champions League quarter final proved to be rather controversial, with FC Barcelona making a formal complaint against the referee for a number of technical errors on his part that disadvantaged the Catalans, while Paris Saint-Germain’s first goal was clearly offside and added to that was an injury sustained by Lionel Messi making his appearance in the home leg doubtful; in the end he started on the bench.
PSG came on fighting and it was clear from the start that there were not going to be intimidated simply because the match was at the Nou Camp and it looked for a long time as if it would be they, rather than Barcelona who might go through to the next round. While the first half ended goalless, after the break it took just a few minutes for the visitors to break the deadlock with a goal by Pastore. However, it didn’t really change the balance of the game as Barça still needed just a single goal to clinch their place in the semi-final.
However, once Messi came on at the hour mark the whole dynamic of the match seemed to change. While perhaps not at his best, Messi seemed to be everywhere and it was he who set up the equaliser, assisted by Villa and put into the net by Pedro. In last 20 minutes PSG knew they needed to score again, while Barcelona had to prevent them from doing so as they’d then need to score 2 more to qualify.
In the end the match ended 1-1 to put Barcelona through to the semi-finals for the sixth successive season, a record.
0-1 Pastore (min 49)
1-1 Pedro (min 70)
After suffering their first league defeat of the season last weekend Barcelona were back on form at the Nou Camp on Sunday when they played host to Osasuna. Jordi Roure was again in charge while Tito Vilanova undergoes treatment for cancer.
On particular form was Leo Messi, who opened the scoring in the 10th minute. While Loe equalised in minute 23 for the visitors, it was the world’s number one player who put Barça back in front. Three minutes later Arribas received his second yellow card for handling the ball inside the area and the visitors were down to 10 men, tipping the balance of the match completely; Messi scored from the penalty spot.
Pedro scored Barcelona’s third towards the end of the first half, and after the break, with a rejigged lineup for Osasuna, Messi scored the two goals of the second half 10 minutes in and then two minutes later.
1-0 Messi (min 10)
1-1 Raoul Loe (min 23)
2-1 Messi (min 27)
3-1 Pedro (min 39)
4-1 Messi (min 55)
5-1 Messi (min 57)
FC Barcelona went through to the next round of the Copa del Rey last night after beating Malaga 4-2. Pedro scored the opener for the Catalans, but the home team soon equalised. Pique then put the visitors ahead again early in the second half, only to have Malaga equalise again 20 minutes later.
Finally it was up to Iniesta and Messi to score two more goals for Barcelona to end Malagas hopes completely.
In the next round Barça faces arch-rival Real Madrid.
0-1 Pedro (min 7)
1-1 Joaquin (min 11)
1-2 Pique (min 49)
2-2 Santa Cruz (min 68)
2-3 Iniesta (min 76)
2-4 Messi (min 80)
Well, it had to happen eventually. Barcelona played Real Sociedad on Saturday night and came away with their first league defeat of the season.
It started as business as usually with goals from Messi and Pedro in the sixth and 24th minutes, but towards the end of the first half Castro scored the hosts’ first goal and put the score level fifteen minutes into the second half. However, the clincher for Real Sociedad came right at the end of the match when Agirretxe scored their winning goal in injury time.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Catalans went down to 10 men after Pique received his second yellow card at the hour mark.
0-1 Messi (min 6)
0-2 Pedro (min 24)
1-2 Castro (min 39)
2-2 Castro (min 61)
3-2 Agirretxe (min 90)
Barcelona’s first match of the New Year was marked by the Barcelona Derby, with city rivals Espanyol visiting the Nou Camp. Tito Vilanova was back in charge after the operation to remove a tumour on his salivary gland just before Christmas and his squad rewarded him well.
After Xavi opened the scoring in the ninth minute off Iniesta, but then Pedro scored two goals and finally Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013 in the 28th minute. Having reached four goals inside half an hour, the home side felt they had the game under control and eased back a little. While it looked as if they might increase their lead, Espanyol broke up the flow in the second half and Pedro, looking as if he would make his hat trick, had two goals ruled offside.
1-0 Xavi (min 9)
2-0 Pedro (min 14)
3-0 Pedro (min 26)
4-0 Messi (min 28)
Friday’s Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderón Stadium marked the end of an era, the last match with Pep Guardiola at the helm of FC Barcelona.
Even before it was played the match had been controversial, with Real Madrid objecting to plans to play the match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium; the league authorities were slow to make their minds up over the date; and in the last week there wasa call by Madrid’s mayor to postpone the match as the date coincided with a pro-Franco march in the city; of course, what could be worse for Madrid, hosting a match between a Catalan and a Basque team?
And then on the day there were reports of coaches ferrying supporters of both teams to Madrid being stopped by the police and having banners and whistles confiscated! Yes, Spain has a long way to go in some respects as some elements clearly believe they are living in a totalitarian state where such behaviour is acceptable; in the end when the Spanish national anthem was played it was drowned out by the jeers of both sides.
FC Barcelona scored early on with Pedro opening; Messi scored after minute 19; and then Pedro scored the last goal of the match in the 24th minute. Afterwards Barcelona celebrated with Pep Guardiola’s final title for the club after the disappointment of the Spanish League and Champions League titles. And during the celebrations Barça’s supporters started to chant the name of their opponent, as Carles Puyol carried both Catalan and Basque flags around the stadium to celebrate.
1-0 Pedro (min 2)
2-0 Messi (min 19)
3-0 Pedro (min 24)
In one of the final matches of Guardiola’s tenure, FC Barcelona rediscovered their attacking verve, defeating lowly Rayo Vallecano 7-0 in Madrid on Sunday night. Messi grabbed two and he was joined on the score-sheet by Keita, Pedro (2) and Thiago, while Rayo left-back Rober scored an own-goal trying to clear a shot by Alexis.
Guardiola took the opportunity to rest a handful of players who have looked a little tired over the last few weeks. Pinto was in for Víctor Valdés, while Xavi, Cesc, Dani Alves and Iniesta all started on the bench. After a traumatic week it took a while for Barcelona to find their feet against a side battling against relegation.
But sure enough, Barcelona’s game regained its familiar fluidity, and they got a goal with their first shot on target – an incisive passing move saw Alexis find Pedro free on the right side of the area, and his low cross was perfectly weighted for Messi to finish at the back post.
Barcelona were dominating though, and doubled their lead when Keita threaded a delightful pass through for Alexis. The Chilean forward dribbled round the onrushing Cobeño and tried to turn it into the goal from a tight angle on the left. His shot was heading wide, but as left-back Rober slid in to block he succeeded only in turning the ball into the goal, and managed to injure himself as he collided with the post.
The third followed shortly before half-time, and was crafted by Messi, who cut in from the right, beat three defenders and played it through for Keita who tucked it beneath the ‘keeper.
The second half was barely underway before Barça added to their tally – Alexis bustled down the left before picking out Messi all alone in the area. The Argentine’s close-range shot hit the cross bar, but Pedro was free to follow up and make it 4-0.
Much of the remainder of the second half was subdued, with Barcelona waiting for opportunities rather than take the attacking initiative. Rayo had their moments, particularly through the ever-lively Lass Bangoura, who embarked on one run from the left that beat two Barça defenders before his powerful shot drew another reaction save from Pinto.
Later there was time for Ibrahim Afellay to make a long awaited comeback from injury as he took the place of Sergio Busquets with 20 minutes to go. Soon after, Thiago made it five, when he arrived late to nod Alves’ cross down and in off the post from 16 yards. With the minutes ticking down, Messi flicked a looping pass into the inside-left channel for Pedro, who brought it under control and drove it below Cobeño for his second of the night.
Immediately after Messi added a seventh as Rayo completely fell apart in defence. Pedro got loose in the area, and cut the ball back for Messi, who coolly passed it into the bottom corner to seal an overwhelming victory for Barça.
Barcelona got revenge for their away defeat earlier in the season by thrashing Getafe 4-0 at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening. Alexis Sánchez got two goals, with Messi and Pedro grabbing one apiece. It was a thoroughly professional and composed performance, and a result that ramps up the pressure on Real Madrid, just one point ahead before their match on Wednesday.
Guardiola fielded what looked a very attacking lineup – ostensibly it was a four-man defence, with Mascherano and Busquets in the middle, but the latter floated between midfield and defence. Puyol and Adriano were on the flanks, tucking in occasionally.
Barcelona settled quickly and attacked relentlessly in the first half, getting the opener after 12 minutes – from the left touchline, Iniesta looped a pass infield for Messi. The Argentine chested into the path of Alexis who strode forward and curled his shot past Moyá and inside the right post.
Barça maintained the intensity after the goal, and were denied what should have been a second by a strange refereeing decision. After a spell of prolonged possession Messi slipped a pass through for Xavi, who turned in the area and lifted his shot over Moyá. A goal seemed unavoidable as the ball bounced over the line, but it was hooked away by a Getafe defender and off Messi for a goal kick. Replays suggested the goal should have stood.
Getafe were deep, narrow, and struggling to cope with Barcelona’s pressing and movement. With half an hour gone, Busquets lofted a pinpoint pass through for Messi, but the forward’s shot dribbled agonisingly wide of the right post.
The away team did muster an attack of their own; as Barcelona cleared a corner, Rubén Pérez struck a sweet volley from outside the area which deflected just wide of the goal with Valdés motionless.
In response Barcelona should have extended their lead – Cuenca fired a low cross from the right wing that picked out Alexis in plenty of space at the back post, but the Chilean forward could only poke wide. The second goal came before half time, after a breathtaking passing move. Messi fired a pass through Iniesta, who produced a delightful back-heeled layoff for the overlapping Argentine with his first touch. Messi picked it up and fired the ball into the top left corner.
Barça were less urgent in the second half, electing instead to build slowly and retain possession. It was almost half an hour before Moyá was tested – he palmed away a wayward Cuenca cross. But the next time Cuenca got down the right flank he curled a cross that Alexis headed home. And two minutes later Barcelona scored with another header. This time Messi swung a free kick in from the right hand side, and Pedro glanced a deft header into the top left corner.
Later Messi danced past three defenders from left corner flag, but his shot was deflected onto the bar by the ‘keeper.
1-0 Alexis (min 13)
2-0 Messi (min 44)
3-0 Alexis (min 73)
4-0 Pedro (min 75)
With the 2011/2012 in its closing few weeks we still have tickets available for two matches. On April 24th Barcelona faces Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, while in early May we have FC Barcelona tickets available for the league match against Malaga. That match will be played midweek, and the date is not yet fixed so could be on any day between 1st and 3rd May.
FC Barcelona earned a hard fought 4-1 win away at Real Zaragoza on Saturday night. In a competitive match Valdés saved a penalty before conceding to an Aranda header. Barça bounced back minutes later through goals from Puyol and Lionel Messi. Messi extended the lead from the spot and Pedro added the forth.
Barcelona took a long time to find their stride. Zaragoza were tenacious in their attempts to press and win the ball back, and there was also a rugged edge to their game, giving away no fewer than six fouls in as many minutes.
Guardiola’s men were rattled and were finding it difficult to work the ball into dangerous positions. And indeed it was Zaragoza who carved the first big opportunity – when Micael sent the ball in low from the left for Aranda, but the striker miscued his shot.
Messi had a shot blocked, but 20 minutes into the match Barcelona were yet to force a save from Roberto in the Zaragoza goal. At the other end Zaragoza hit the post, and then Lafita beat Valdés to the rebound but was brought down by Barça’s ‘keeper. Turienzo Álvarez signalled what was a relatively clear penalty. Aranda aimed his spot kick towards the right side of goal, but Valdés got across to make a key save.
But Zaragoza continued to break with menace. Just after half an hour Aranda broke the offside trap and got in behind the Barcelona defence. His first shot was saved by Valdés, but the rebound bounced off the striker’s head in and into the goal.
The goal brought Barça to life, and they dominated the rest of the half. Roberto made a point blank save from Alexis, but when the resulting corner came in the Zaragoza ‘keeper’s attempt at a one-handed catch only served to divert the ball down to Puyol’s feet, and the defender was left with an easy chance to make it 1-1.
Zaragoza continued to attack, but it was Barcelona who would score the next goal on the break. After a Zaragoza corner, the away team broke forward with Alexis who carried the ball forward and picked out Messi with a lofted pass across. Messi wriggled past Paolo da Silva before slamming his shot into the top left corner.
A fractious second half saw Zaragoza coach Manolo Jiménez sent to the stands. Neither team could find their stride – Zaragoza looked dangerous early on, when Obradovic volleyed just wide, but Barcelona were soon on the front foot.
Alexis had an excellent chance to make it 3-1 when he was released by a Messi reverse pass and drew a reaction save from Roberto. Later the Chilean forward drew a clumsy tackle from Paredes in the area. Messi powered the penalty into the roof of the net to make the game safe. In injury time Pedro broke down the left, exchanged passes with Messi and tucked his finish neatly past Roberto to add gloss to the victory.
1-0 Aranda (min 29)
1-1 Puyol (min 35)
1-2 Messi (min 38)
1-3 Messi (min 86)
1-4 Pedro (min 91)