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Barça thrashes Santos in 2013 Gamper Trophy

August 3rd, 2013

Last night Barcelona played their first match of the 2013-2014 pre-season in front of a new crowd, marking the debut of both Tata Martino and Neymar at the Nou Camp. With the new team being introduced prior to the match, the Nou Camp was in full celebratory mood, while commemorating legendary Barça goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets, who died on Tuesday.

This year Brazilian club Santos was invited to play in the Gamper trophy, the club from which Neymar has just been signed and so the Gamper played farewell to him as much as it did an introduction to the new.

Barcelona came on brimming with energy and from the early moments it looked like they might score. It took just seven minutes for Lionel Messi to score, followed by an own goal from Santos a few minutes later. It took 10 more minutes before Alexis made it 3-0, but even that wasn’t enough and by the time of the break Pedro had made it 4-0.

There can’t have been a good feeling in the changing room of one of Brazil’s premier clubs, but after the break play continued as before. Martino made a number of changes in the second half, including the hugely anticipated debut of Neymar, who for the first time played alongside Leo Messi to roars of approval from the crowd.

Cesc scored two within the first 25 minutes to make it 6-0 and while it was clear that the squad was trying to set up Neymar to score his first goal for the Catalans, it didn’t quite happen. However, Adriano scored a seventh goal for Barcelona and Dongou made it 8-0.

All in all a good display of football and a good result. While some doubted whether Messi and Neymar could coexist in the same team, the first demonstration seems to show that both are mature enough to get on with the job. based on this match it looks like it will be a fantastic season ahead.

1-0 Messi (min 7)
2-0 Léo (min 10)
3-0 Alexis (min 20)
4-0 Pedro (min 28)
5-0 Fábregas (min 51)
6-0 Fábregas (min 66)
7-0 Adriano (min 73)
8-0 Dongou (min 81)


Neymar debut against Lechia Gdansk ends in draw

July 31st, 2013

Barcelona yesterday travelled to Poland in the last of a series of three friendlies before the Gamper Trophy on Friday. The starting lineup against Lechia Gdansk was almost exactly the same as that which played in the previous two matches, with key players still missing from the Spanish and Brazilian selections, with one exception; that of Neymar, who made his debut for Barça in the last 15 minutes of the game.

If Barcelona thought the match would go their way then they were sorely mistaken, with the hosts controlling the game from the start and scoring at the quarter hour mark. The Catalans clawed back a goal from Sergi Roberto ten minutes later, but when the half time whistle blew the scores were level.

Back on after the break Lechia came on fighting still and scored in the first five minutes to once again put themselves ahead but a few short minutes after Leo Messi equalised again for the Catalans. With the majority of the squad now made up of B team players after a mass substitution, Messi and Alexis were also brought off. On went Neymar, playing his first match for Barcelona and who instantly became the target by the home side.

Although not able to show what he is capable of in that situation, he will surely play of Friday against Santos when the squad makes its first appearance of the new season at the Nou Camp.

1-0 Bieniuk (Min 14)
1-1 Sergi Roberto (min 25)
2-1 Grzelczak (min 49)
2-2 Messi (min 56)


Barcelona dominates in second pre-season match

July 28th, 2013

Barcelona last night won the first match in there pre-season tour, when they visited Oslo to play Valerenga.

The squad was missing a number of key players once again, giving the chance for a number of B team players to show what they could do. Very quickly the Catalans showed what they are made of, with three goals inside 12 minutes giving an early boost.

By the break they were four goals ahead, and with two goals early in the second half, both scored by Dongou, all that was needed was a goal six minutes from the final whistle to put FC Barcelona on 7-0.

0-1 Alexis (min 3)
0-2 Tello (min 5)
0-3 Messi (min 12)
0-4 Jonathan dos Santos (min 41)
0-5 Dongou (min 49)
0-6 Dongou (min 53)
0-7 Joan Román lr (min 84)


Barça signs Gerard Martino to replace Tito

July 24th, 2013

FC Barcelona yesterday confirmed Gerard “Tata” Martino as its new coach, following the shock news of Tito Vilanova stepping down last Friday.

The Argentine has recently been coaching Newell’s Old Boys following successful stints with the Paraguay and Argentine national selections. Newell’s Old Boys is Lionel Messi’s old club and prior to his appointment yesterday, Messi had already voiced his backing to Martino.

After cancelling a friendly on Saturday following the news about Vilanova, which has been rescheduled to 30th July, Barcelona’s first pre-season match will be played againt Bayern Munich tonight, whose new coach is Pep Guardiola.


Barça win against Betis takes them a step closer to league title

May 6th, 2013

After the disappointment of their devastating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, Barcelona bounced back on Sunday in their Spanish League draw against Betis at the Nou Camp.

Although an error by the Barça defence meant that Betis opened the scoring in the second minute, Alexis scored for the Catalans in the 8th minute to equalise and afterwards Barcelona had several more good opportunities to score but were just unable to put the ball home. Betis hadn’t finished though and after a second goal three minutes from the break, the visitors ended the first half in the lead.

Back on after the break it took a few minutes before David Villa scored to put the score level again. Villa was then substituted for Lionel Messi, who quickly scored to put Barça in the lead for the first time in the match. The Argentine was not yet finished though and scored his second in the 70th minute to seal the win for Barça.

0-1 Dorlan Pabón (min 1)
1-1 Alexis (min 8)
1-2 Rubén Pérez (min 42)
2-2 Villa (min 54)
3-2 Messi (min 59)
4-2 Messi (min 70)


FC Barcelona shares points with Athletic Bilbao

April 29th, 2013

Barcelona travelled to Bilbao to play Athletic with the league title close to being in the bag. Mathematically it would have been possible to claim the title this weekend, but it wasn’t to be.

The hosts came on strong and opened the scoring in the 26th minute, with a goal from Susaeta, and came close to scoring a second time in the first half. Barcelona slowly began to control the game, but when Lionel Messi came on just after the break the game appeared to turn around completely for Barça; immediately the Argentinian player scored the equaliser and then two minutes later he helped Alexis score to but Barcelona in the lead.

Just when it was looking like another win for FC Barcelona their luck changed. At the last minute Ander got through to the Barça goalmouth ensuring the two teams shared the points.

1-0 Susaeta (min 26)
1-1 Messi (min 66)
1-2 Alexis (min 68)
2-2 Ander (min 89)


Barcelona set for Champions League semis after 1-1 draw against PSG

April 11th, 2013

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)


Last minute goal from Paris Saint-Germain strips victory from FC Barcelona

April 3rd, 2013

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)


Last minute goal from Celta leaves Barça with a draw

April 2nd, 2013

Ahead of their Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona fielded a squad with a number of less familiar faces against Celta de Vigo on Saturday night, while Abidal appeared on the bench for the first time following his liver transplant last April.

Barça dominated possession in their usual manner they were prevented from doing much with the ball by Celta who started pressurising early on and eventually it was Celta who opened the scoring after 37 minutes. However, that lead didn’t last long, with Tello equalising for the Catalans 5 minutes later.

Back on after the break, it wasn’t until 20 minutes from time that Messi put Barcelona in the lead, meaning he has scored against every single team in Spain’s top league. However, Oubiña scored a few minutes before the end leaving Barça with a draw.

1-0 Natxo Insa (min 37)
1-1 Tello (min 42)
1-2 Messi (min 71)
2-2 Oubiña (min 86)


Barcelona beats Rayo 3-1

March 18th, 2013

After knocking out AC Milan from Champions League last week, FC Barcelona seems to be back on form and fully recovered from their dip in performance against Real Madrid recently.

It was the turn of Rayo Vallecano to visit the haloed turf of the Nou Camp and both sides went out of their way to score. Rayo is currently half way down the table, but came on playing to win. In the end though it was Barcelona, with Puyol and Xavi off through injury, who went ahead. First a goal from Villa and then from Messi a few minutes from the break. And back on again Messi again to make it 3.

Tamudo scored in the 69th minute for the visitors, but by then it was too late to stage a comeback and the match edned 3-1. With the first captains off through injury or, in the case of Victor Valdes, suspension the captaincy was handed to Inieta. When he came off the armband was handed to Leo Messi, his first ever time as Barça captain.

1-0 Villa (min 24)
2-0 Messi (min 39)
3-0 Messi (min 56)
3-1 Tamudo (min 69)


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