Barcelona travelled to the Basque Country last night for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final, the first leg of which they won 2-0 last week. The Catalans came on with one aim in mind and controlled possession throughout. However, try as they might, Real Sociedad made sure that Barça had little space to make the most of their high possession and were quick to counterattack, creating several dangerous situations.
Messi scored 26 minutes in, pretty much sealing a place in the final for Barcelona with the home team, but despite needing to score 4 goals the Basques kept on fighting to the end. The match was fairly tough, with five yellow cards handed out by the ref, and in the end Griezmann scored for Real Sociedad with a great shot in the closing minutes but there was no chance at all to catch up with Barça.
FC Barcelona will face Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final, currently scheduled for April 19th. That date is likely to change as it coincides with a weekend in which a league match is already scheduled and so something has to give.
0-1 Messi (min 26)
1-1 Griezmann (min 85)
After last weekend’s poor result against Valencia Barcelona stood in the number two spot in the Spanish League table, three points behind Atletico and tying on points with Real Madrid. This weekend also looked like a fairly tough one, with Barça being drawn against Sevilla, in seventh place, while Atletico faced lowly Almeria and Real Madrid playing Osasuna. In the end Saturday see Atletico slip up on Saturday and lose 2-0, while Real Madrid won their match 2-0, suddenly turning the spotlight back on FC Barcelona.
It was the hosts who opened the scoring in a match plagued by heavy rain, when Alberto Moreno shot from the edge of the box and the ball deflected off Bartra. However, they were unable to capitalise on three other occasions on the Barça goal. Meanwhile Barcelona picked up the pace and just after the half hour mark Alexis off a Messi free kick, although it looked like he might have been offside; that’s the way of football though and the ref gave the goal. And then two minutes before the half-time whistle Messi put the Catalans into the lead.
Back on after the break Sevilla had a good go at the Barça goal; the fight had by no means left them, and Valdes was called into action. And then 10 minutes into the second half Iniesta set up Messi to put the visitors 3-1 in the lead. Barça continued to control the game, although the possibility of a Sevilla fight back was ever present but finally in the closing minutes of the game Alexis crossed to Cesc, who scored the final goal of the match and put Barcelona back on the top of the table.
1-0 Alberto Moreno (min 14)
1-1 Alexis (min 33)
1-2 Messi (min 43)
1-3 Messi (min 55)
1-4 Fábregas (min 87)
All looked like it was going to go to plan on Saturday afternoon when Alexis opened the scoring for Barça after just six minutes. However, despite high possession throughout the match the Catalans were unable to do quite enough and ended the match with their second defeat this season and their first league defeat at the Nou Camp in 25 matches.
Following the early lead in the opening minutes it looked as if everything was going Barcelona’s way and would surely be a matter of time before they scored a second goal. Unfortunately, when another goal did come it was for Valencia at the end of the first half.
After the break things quickly went from bad to worse with Piatti scoring for the visitors three minutes in and putting Valencia into the lead. It still looked as though Barcelona were commanding the match and could turn things around their way. That feeling was reiterated when Messi scored from the penalty spot 10 minutes into the second half to level the score again, but just minutes later Valencia once more took the lead with a goal by Paco Alcácer.
With half an hour still left to run it seemed like plenty of time for Barça to get down and focus, to lay on the pressure and score. However, things were not helped by Jordi Alba being sent off after being booked a second time and despite changes in the lineup, Barcelona were unable to level with Valencia, let alone retake the lead.
The result leaves the Catalans in second place in the table behind Atletico Madrid.
1-0 Alexis (min 6)
1-1 Parejo (min 43)
1-2 Piatti (min 48)
2-2 Messi (min 54)
2-3 Paco Alcácer (min 59)
Barcelona made it through to the Copa del Rey quarter finals last night in Madrid after a 2-0 win against Getafe on top of their 4-0 victory in the first leg last week, a match that marked the 700th appearance for Barça by Xavi.
Both goals were scored by Messi, showing he is fully recovered from his injury and back on form, the first just before the break, with the second goal coming quarter of an hour into the second half.
With the Catalans through to the next round the only down side was Neymar hobbling off the pitch about 20 minutes into the match. While it was feared he hard torn a tendon in his knee, the good news is that he is suffering a sprained ankle and so should be playing again shortly.
0-1 Messi (min 43)
0-2 Messi (min 62)
Two each from Cesc Fabregas and Leo Messi ensured that Barcelona look like a strong contender for the next Copa del Rey round in a 4-0 victory against Getafe last night.
Cesc opened the scoring just seven minutes in, but despite working hard at finding a way through the Getafe defence and increasing that lead, the visitors ensured the Catalans lead by a single goal going into the break. Quarter of an hour into the second half Cesc scored his second for the night following a penalty against Pedro.
When Messi started to warm up the crowd began to cheer him on, finally brought on for his first match since being laid off through injury in place of Iniesta. Right at the end of the match his moment came, when Busquets and Montoya set him up to score, while Alex Song set him up for a second goal in injury time.
1-0 Fábregas (min 7)
2-0 Fábregas (min 61)
3-0 Messi (min 87)
4-0 Messi (min 91)
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)
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.
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)
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.
Barcelona’s win against Almeria on Saturday created a new club record for the start of the season, winning all seven matches played so far. The Catalans started the match testing the Almeria defence, while the hosts did all they could to make sure they were able to do little with the high possession.
However, at the 20 minute mark Pedro passed to Messi at the edge of the box and put Barça in the lead. Although Messi might have hoped to do more though, as just a few minutes later Xavi came on to replace him with the Argentine suffering a thigh injury likely to keep him out of action for two to three weeks. And with Messi off, Almeria started to capitalise on Barcelona’s lost focus, forcing Valdes into action at the end of the first half.
Back on after the break Barcelona regained their composure and, back in control, started to slow things down. 10 minutes into the second half Adriano put the ball into the Almeria net for the final goal of the match.
0-1 Messi (min 20)
0-2 Adriano (min 56)
Barcelona made it six games out of six last night when they faced Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp, and in doing so equalled their best ever start to the league. Barça scored a barrage of goals early on, with Neymar opening the scoring in the fourth minute, followed by Messi just three minutes later and Busquets 22 minutes in.
Although Barça continued to dominate the first half ended 3-0. The Nou Camp was in a party mood thanks to the city wide celebrations for la Mercè, Barcelona’s patron saint, and also the anniversary of the inauguration of the stadium; every chance on the Real Sociedad goal was celebrated in the stands.
Back on after the break it took nearly 20 minutes for the visitors to make their mark on the evening when they took the scoreline to 3-1. However, it was too little and too late against the might of Barcelona, who scored one more 12 minutes later to end the match 4-1.
Barça heads to Almeria on Saturday for the next league match, followed by Celtic on Tuesday.
1-0 Neymar (min 4)
2-0 Messi (min 7)
3-0 Busquets (min 22)
3-1 De la Bella (min 64)
4-1 Bartra (min 76)
Barcelona kicked off their Champions League campaign last night with a 4-0 win against Dutch side Ajax. The goals came from a Messi hat trick, plus a header from Gerard Pique, with all but one of the goals coming in the second half.
The lead up to this match saw a war of words between Barça president Sandro Rosell and soccer legend Johan Cruyff, who has played and managed both Barça and Ajax and recently said he would never step inside the Nou Camp while Rosell remains president.
Although in some ways the match was rather lacklustre, Victor Valdes put on a strong performance, twice preventing Ajax from equalising when Barça had gone one goal up and then later stopping a penalty. The end result leaves Barcelona top of the table in Group H, ahead of AC Milan thanks to goals for.
1-0 Messi (min 21)
2-0 Messi (min 54)
3-0 Piqué (min 68)
4-0 Messi (min 74)