FC Barcelona News
Barcelona walked away frustrated following last night’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain after dominating possession throughout the match didn’t quite prove enough against some poor refereeing decisions, a goal awarded to Ibrahimovic that looked to be offside and a last minute equaliser from Matuidi.
The hosts started out strong and Valdes was forced repeatedly into action, but soon the Catalans looked brighter and when PSG failed to clear a corner, Dani Alves passed it to Leo Messi in the box, who almost effortlessly landed in the back of the net to open the scoring. However, Messi was soon in trouble and was substituted for the second half after suffering a hamstring injury; early reports suggest he’ll be out of action for three weeks.
After the break Barça continued to dominate until the last quarter hour when Valdes was called upon again to stop Paris Saint-Germain from scoring. Eventually though, after an absurd moment when Alba and Mascherano collided and were sent off the pitch for treatment, Ibrahimovic did score despite being well offside.
However, an attack on the PSG goal saw Alexis brought down by the goalkeeper and Barcelona again went ahead thanks to Xavi’s penalty kick. It looked like the clock was counting down to another Barça win, but a last minute goal from Matuidi that Valdes just couldn’t get his hands to saw the result reduced to a draw.
However, FC Barcelona will go into the second leg with a clear advantage thanks to the two away goals.
0-1 Messi (min 37)
1-1 Ibrahimovic (min 80)
2-1 Xavi (min 90)
2-2 Matuidi (min 94)
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)
Things have gone so well with FC Barcelona since Tito Vilanova took over as coach that it was inevitable that at some point something had to go wrong. Unfortunately has gone wrong is the return of Vilanova’s salivary gland cancer, requiring urgent surgery this week. He is due to undergo six weeks of chemo and radiotherapy after which he plans in returning to the job. We wish him a speedy recovery. Some good news regarding Eric Abidal, who prior to this bad news being announced was given the all clear by doctors after undergoing a liver transplant.
On Saturday night Barça played away at Valladolid with goals from Xavi, Messi and Tello, while Javi Guerra scored one for the home team. The last match of the season put Messi’s goal tally for 2012 at 91.
0-1 Xavi (min 42)
0-2 Messi (min 59)
1-2 Javi Guerra (min 89)
1-3 Tello (min 94)
Barcelona continued their record breaking streak of 10 wins in 11 league matches after beating Mallorca 4-2 last night, while Lionel Messi passed Pele’s 1958 tally of 75 goals in a calendar year with his 75th and 76th goals. The record stands at 85, by Gerd Mueller in 1972.
Barça dominated the first half, and by the half time whistle were three goals ahead thanks to Xavi, Messi and Tello. However, after the break Mallorca came on fighting with Pereira scoring the first for the home team in minute 54. Three minutes later Barcelona’s lead was cut to a single goal after a penalty was awarded to Mallorca for hand ball, with Victor putting the ball into the back of the net.
However, the Catalans reacted well and when Alves crossed to Alexis, who controlled the ball, Messi was able to finish and the match was back under control again.
0-1 Xavi (min 27)
0-2 Messi (min 43)
0-3 Tello (min 44)
1-3 Pereira (min 54)
2-3 Víctor (min 57)
2-4 Messi (min 69)
FC Barcelona’s 5-0 win against Rayo Vallecano means Tito Vilanova has equalled the club’s record for the start of a season of 8 wins and a draw set by Louis van Gaal in the 1997/98 season. In the same match Lionel Messi became equal tenth highest scoring player in la liga.
The hosts started out with Rayo looking like they were going all out and came close to scoring in the first 15 minutes. However, in the 20th minute Cesc found David Villa who scored the opener and after that Barcelona settled into the match, dominating possession.
However, it wasn’t until the start of the second half that things really started to go Barça’s way, with Messi scoring the second goal just two minutes in. Rayo did continue trying but with Barça continuing to dominate possession their efforts just ran out of steam and the match ended with goals from Xavi, Cesc and Messi to end 5-0.
0-1 Villa (min 20)
0-2 Messi (min 47)
0-3 Xavi (min 78)
0-4 Fábregas (min 79)
0-5 Messi (min 88)
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)
Barcelona beat Manchester United last night in Gothenburg on penalties after neither time had scored at the end of full time.
The teams faced each other in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, with Barça taking the title on both occasions. Manchester almost went ahead in the first half when a Rooney penalty was saved by Victor Valdes. The match also marked the debut of recent signing Jordi Alba.
Manchester missed their first penalty, with Pinto saving the second; Xavi and Pique both scored for Barcelona to give them the match.
Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s record goal-scorer, after FC Barcelona were made to work for a 5-3 win at home against Granada on Tuesday night. Messi got three, alongside goals by Xavi and Cristian Tello. Mainz scored a header and Siqueira dispatched two penalties for the visitors.
Barcelona went into this match in superb form, and wasted no time in taking the initiative against their Andalusian visitors. Within three minutes they were one up – the excellent Isaac Cuenca drove to the byline down the left flank and floated in a deep cross. Messi was at the back-post to meet it and smartly headed down for Xavi who was waiting at the edge of the area. He volleyed the ball into the ground and out of the reach of Júlio César in the Granada goal.
Isaac Cuenca played a role in the build up to the second goal, which followed shortly after. This time he dribbled past two Granada defenders down the left wing, before sending in a cross that glanced off the head of a defender and landed at the feet of Messi, whose first-time half-volley was perfectly executed and skimmed into the bottom left-hand corner. The goal also sent Messi level with César as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.
Ten minutes into the second half, Granada scored a goal from nowhere – they won a free-kick level with the left angle of the penalty area, just in from the touchline. Martins whipped the ball in, and Mainz climbed behind Piqué to nod the ball into the top-corner. Piqué nearly atoned for his lapse in Barça’s next attack, but his header from Xavi’s free-kick was straight at Júlio César.
Barcelona were then caught on the counter down the left, Benítez got goal side of Alves – the defender’s attempts to win the ball were slightly clumsy, bringing Benítez down, and Teixera pointed to the spot. The only doubt was whether the foul occurred inside the area. Siquera stepped up and sent Valdes the wrong way to equalise.
Really it was it was all building to Messi’s big moment. After a spell of end-to-end football, Alves picked out Messi with an exquisite chipped pass, which the forward pulled down before lobbing Júlio César. It was remarkably similar to his first ever goal for the club seven years ago and made him Barcelona’s all time top scorer on 233.
Fantastic interplay between Iniesta and Messi saw the ball fall at Cristian Tello’s feet insider the area. The young forward took a touch before sliding the ball into the bottom right corner to take the score to 4-2.
With five minutes to go Alves played another delightful pass behind for Messi, who brought it under control, rounded Júlio César and clipped it home. At the other end, Alves was harshly adjudged to have intentionally blocked a Benítez cross with his arm, and picked up a second yellow. Siqueira wrong-footed Valdés with a Panenka penalty and the full-time score was 5-3.
1-0 Xavi (min 4)
2-0 Messi (min 16)
2-1 Mainz (min 54)
2-2 Siqueira (min 61)
3-2 Messi (min 66)
4-2 Tello (min 81)
5-2 Messi (min 85)
5-3 Siqueira (min 88)
FC Barcelona gained a deserved 2-0 victory away at Sevilla on Saturday night. The first half was completely dominated by Guardiola’s men, and they capitalised on their superiority by scoring two well-taken goals – the first a curled free-kick by Xavi, and the second a delicate chip by Lionel Messi. The second half was more even and only some wayward finishing by both teams kept the scoreline so low.
Accused in the past of starting matches quite slowly, Barcelona were up and running within minutes of the kick-off. Adriano saw his shot deflected over away from Palop and just over the bar, before Pedro collected a pin-point pass from Cesc but saw his shot saved at close-range by the Sevilla ‘keeper.
Then, as Adriano raced down the inside-left channel he was sent flying by Spahic just as he was about to enter the area. Xavi stepped up to the ensuing free-kick and curled it beautifully into the top-left corner to open the scoring for Barcelona.
The minutes proceeding the goal saw a succession of chances for Barcelona, as they produced some devastating attacking combinations. Cesc was at the heart of much of the danger – he threaded another clinical pass through for Iniesta, but his teammate shot just wide of the right hand post.
And after 25 minute they got their reward for some of their attacking play when more stylish interplay saw Iniesta set Messi free. The Argentine forward nutmegged Spahic and chipped Palop to extend his staggering scoring run and put Barcelona into a commanding position in the match.
Before time there were chances for both sides – Piqué lost his bearings momentarily, allowing Del Moral a header on goal, which rebounded off the cross-bar and just evaded the Sevilla forward as he attempted to follow up. In response to this effort both Cesc and Pedro saw one-on-one chances saved by Palop, overworked in the Sevilla goal.
Sevilla posed more of a threat in the second half, and had the first big opportunity, about 20 minutes in – Navas raced to the byline and squared across the face of goal, but Del Moral could only poke wide at the back post.
By the 70-minute mark Barcelona had settled and were once again dictating play, as it appeared the home team’s resurgence had been quelled. And indeed, they nearly extended their lead. Messi spotted Iniesta’s run as Barcelona broke on the counter. The midfielder went one on one, resisting pressure from the defender. He drew Palop out, but saw his shot trickle agonisingly wide of the right post.
Alexis, on as a substitute, also had a fantastic opportunity to kill the game as the minutes ticked down to injury time. This time Palop pulled off a fine reaction save to preserve the 2-0 scoreline. Seconds later, Messi saw a free-kick bounce off the roof of the net. In injury time Messi had a goal disallowed, correctly adjudged offside as he raced through.
0-1 Xavi (min 17)
0-2 Messi (min 24)
Barcelona produced a performance full of character to defeat Sporting Gijón 3-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday night. Star-man Iniesta gave Barça the lead in the first half, but when Piqué saw red for a professional foul, Sporting equalised through Barral and Barcelona needed some brilliance from Keita and Xavi to secure the victory.
Messi sat out this match with a suspension, and with Alexis rested on the bench, Barcelona went into the encounter with a side that that looked a little short of recognised forwards.
Sporting kept 11 behind the ball, and it was up to Barcelona to find a way through. There were occasional chances, starting as early as the 2nd minute, when a corner routine between Xavi and Pedro found the winger with a bit of room in the area, but his first time shot was high and wide.
Adriano almost opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he embarked on a lightning run from deep, beating three defenders in a flash before firing just wide. Later Keita found himself with a sight of goal in the area, but a crucial lunge by Botia saw the ball deflect out for a corner.
Then, as half-time approached, and as the match appeared to be descending into a stalemate, Barcelona made the breakthrough. It was a fabulous team goal, with Keita unlocking the stubborn defence, posting Adriano through down the left, who in turn squared for Iniesta to finish with ease from six yards. Cesc nearly made it two before the break, but his effort under pressure was blocked and cleared for a corner by Botía.
The second half began in dramatic fashion. De Las Cuevas got in behind the Barça defence, and as Piqué came in with a challenge, the Sporting forward went down. Referee Carballo had no hesitation in showing a straight red, but replays suggested this was a contentious decision. Barcelona weren’t able to clear their lines and reorganise before Sporting equalised. Mendy tricked his way to the byline, and Barral snuck in front of Valdés to direct his low cross into the net.
Barcelona wobbled briefly as they tried to come to terms with the one-man deficit, but soon settled and went about trying to regain the lead through the majestic Iniesta and Xavi. The former was sublime in carving a clear opportunity for substitute Alexis, but a Sporting defender intervened just as the Chilean was about to pull the trigger.
Then with just over ten minutes of the match remaining, Mascherano passed forward from deep for Alexis, who produced a deft touch to his left for the on-rushing Keita. The midfielder took it onto his left foot and curled a magnificent shot into the top right corner to regain the lead.
As the minutes ticked down, Barça made sure of the win when Iniesta went on another fantastic run before releasing Xavi who clipped the ball over Juan Pablo to cap a hard-fought victory.
1-0 Iniesta (min 41)
1-1 David Barral (min 48)
2-1 Keita (min 70)
3-1 Xavi (min 87)