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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)


Barça turns around Milan advantage to qualify for Champions League quarterfinals

March 13th, 2013

FC Barcelona overcame the odds last night to turn around their 2-0 defeat in the first leg of the Champions League knockout stage by Milan three weeks ago and make it through to the quarter finals with flying colours. The result of the first leg meant they had to make it 3-0 or better to ensure their place, a feat which according to Sky News had never been done before.

What was clear was that the squad came into the stadium intending to do all they could towards winning, whether or not it had been done before. Very quickly the Catalans showed who was in charge and Lionel Messi scored the first goal in the fourth minute. Soon after Milan had one of their only chances on an open Barcelona goal, which went badly wrong for the Italians when it rebounded off the post instead.

Four minutes before the half time break Messi scored his second of the night to at least put them on an even footing with Milan, a virtual reset for the second half.

Back on after the break, Villa soon made it three goals for Barcelona. Although it was still a good result, it would only take a goal from the visitors to take this round still and so Barcelona contunued pushing.

And in the closing minutes of the goal, that twilight period where things ciould easily have gone astray with a break from Milan, it was Jordi Alba who signed and sealed the result for Barça, with an injury time goal that made the 95,000 strong crowd ecstatic. Last night’s result makes it the sixth successive year that the Catalans have made it thorugh to the quarterfinals. 

1-0 Messi (min 4)
2-0 Messi (min 38)
3-0 Villa (min 54)
4-0 Jordi Alba (min 92)


Barça bounces back against Deportivo

March 10th, 2013

Barcelona bounced back from the disappointment of the recent clasicos and gained a well needed victory ahead of their Champions League match against AC Milan on Tuesday.

Of course Deportivo is currently bottom of the table and nowhere near being in the same class as either Real Madrid or AC Milan, but despite several key players started on the bench the Catalans started well. However, they failed to do much with the opportunities they created until finally, some eight minutes before the break, Alexis scored with his head from an Alves cross.

The second half saw them with fewer opportunities, but when Messi, Iniesta and Busquets come on the opportunities began. Messi scored, only to have the goal ruled offside, but the Argentine player made it 2-0 in the closing minutes of the match.

1-0 Alexis (min 37)
2-0 Messi (min 87)


Valdes sees red as Barça loses second clasico inside a week

March 4th, 2013

Although Saturday afternoon’s clash with Real Madrid started going wrong after five minutes after Benzema put the hosts ahead, Messi equalised for the Catalans 12 minutes later.

Real Madrid had nothing really to gain on Barcelona, with a 16 point difference in the league, and with the Champions League clash against Manchester United on Tuesday rested some key players. Barça didn’t seem to be on top of things all the same, despite dominating possession.

However, 10 minutes from full time Ramos headed a corner past Victor Valdes to put Madrid back in the lead. But the defining moment of the match was when a clear penalty was denied after Adriano was brought down in the box. Iniesta was shown a yellow, while Valdes received a red after the final whistle for his protestations to the ref, which continued in the tunnel and for which he will received a lengthy ban.

1-0 Benzema (min 5)
1-1 Messi (min 17)
2-1 Sergio Ramos (min 81)


Barcelona beats Sevilla in cold night at the Nou Camp

February 25th, 2013

Saturday night was Sevilla’s turn to visit the Nou Camp in cold conditions that saw snow over much of Catalonia. It was also Barça’s first match after the dissappointment of defeat at the hands of AC Milan and so they had something to prove.

Although Barcelona dominiated possession throughout, the first half ended with the visitors in the lead after a goal in the 41st minute by Botía, one of the only real challenges they had on the Barcelona goal.

However, after the break Barcelona came on with renewed determination to make something happen; the fans didn’t have long to wait with David Villa scoring with his head just six minutes in to the second half from a Dani Alves cross. And then, just a few minutes later Messi put the Catalans in the lead with the final goal of the match.

0-1 Botía (min 41)
1-1 Villa (min 51)
2-1 Messi (min 59)


Barça stages second half comeback to defeat Granada

February 18th, 2013

Barcelona notched up another 3 points in the Spanish league on Saturday after a 2-1 win against Granada. The hosts opened the scoring, with a goal from Ighalo in the 25th minute that saw the Catalans goalless at the break, but Lionel Messi scored 2 for Barça to turn the match around.

Right from the start Granada were able to disrupt the flow of the game, but soon the visitors began to get into their stride and dominate possession. However, despite their best efforts they were unable to score.

However, back on after the break and Messi scored within a few minutes after the Granada keeper deflected a shot from Cesc. Meanwhile Barça upped the pressure and it only seemed a matter of time before they went into the lead; a goal from Pedro was disallowed, but finally, 72 minutes into the game Messi scored from a free kick.

1-0 Ighalo (min 25)
1-1 Messi (min 49)
1-2 Messi (min 72)


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