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Thiago

Barça continues record breaking streak against Malaga

January 14th, 2013

Barça continued ploughing their way through the rest of the league on Sunday night when they won their eighteenth league match of he season.

Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 26th minute after some sloppy play by the Malaga defence and the first half ended with a single goal. However, after the break it took just five minutes for Cesc Fabregas to score.

With 18 minutes to go Cesc came off to be replaced by Thiago, who added Barcelona’s third goal of the night in the 80th minute. With the result sealed it was Malaga’s turn to score off a free kick by Buonanotte in the closing minutes to end the night 3-1 to Barça.

0-1 Messi (min 26)
0-2 Fábregas (min 48)
0-3 Thiago (min 80)
1-3 Buonanotte (min 87)


Barça decisively beats Cordoba for place in Copa del Rey Quarter final

January 11th, 2013

FC Barcelona easily qualified for the Copa del Rey quarter finals last night after a 5-0 win against Cordoba, for an aggregate of 7-0. Goals came from Thiago just after the quarter hour mark, and two each from Villa and Alexis. 

With Tito Vilanova in New York seeking a second opinion on the treatment for his salivary gland tumour, Jordi Roura was once agan in charge. While the result was good, Barça suffered two injuries; Sergi Roberto was replaced just after the second half started, while David Villa came off 12 minutes before the end with a thigh strain.

Barça will face Malaga in the quarter finals. The first leg will be played at home on January 16th, with the away leg on the 23rd.

1-0 Thiago (min 16)
2-0 Villa (min 20)
3-0 Villa (min 25)
4-0 Alexis (min 54)
5-0 Alexis (min 84)


Joy Returns in Rayo Rout

April 30th, 2012

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.


New Arrivals Shine in Impressive Victory

August 30th, 2011

FC Barcelona were in breathtaking form on Monday night as they defeated Villareal 5-0 at the Camp Nou. Playing with a new formation, Guardiola’s men were in total control from start to finish. New recruits Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez were among the scorers, while Barca’s latest young talent Thiago Alcântara was in excellent shape, weighing in with a goal and two assists.

But it was Lionel Messi who stole the show, as he so often does, providing one assist for Cesc, and scoring two well-taken goals of his own. The performance was a reminder to all that Barcelona are still the team to beat in the Primera División.

Barcelona started with an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation, especially remarkable because it didn’t include a single recognised striker, and, in Abidal, only one experienced defender. The remainder of the three-man backline included Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano, defensive-midfielders until only last season. Keita played in front of the defence, occasionally dropping back to offer support. Pedro and Alexis provided the attacking width, while Messi, Iniesta Thiago and Cesc interchanged to devastating effect.

With this formation Barça were able to maintain their usual lion’s share of possession, all the while offering even more penetrating runs from deep. Cesc’s movement, working in tandem with Messi, was especially unpredictable.

The first real chance of the half fell to Messi, after being released by a clever reverse pass from Pedro. The new Argentine captain’s shot was saved at the near post by Diego López, and Busquets grazed the crossbar when he rose to meet the ensuing corner.

Barça’s opening goal came after Thiago was found just beyond the halfway line by Cesc. The young midfielder drove forward in a diagonal direction until he reached the Villareal area. When a pass failed to present itself he lashed a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

The goal was followed by an isolated reminder of Villareal’s attacking threat, when Rossi latched onto a lofted pass but smashed his effort into the side-netting. At any rate Barcelona were in full control, and doubled their lead before half-time. Messi caressed a sublime through-ball for Cesc, who rounded López to open his league account for Barcelona on his first start.

Pep Guardiola’s men picked up where they left off after the break. Within seconds of the restart Thiago picked out Alexis with a looped pass from the outside of his boot, and the Chilean winger made no mistake one-on-one with Villareal’s exposed ‘keeper.

Just five minutes after this Messi would get on the scoresheet, when he rounded López yet again, after yet another perfect through-ball, this time by Iniesta. Such was Barça’s dominance that they could afford to withdraw both Iniesta and Cesc with more than 20 minutes of the game remaining.

Messi was on the field and still wasn’t finshed; he exchanged passes with Thiago in the Villareal area before tapping home from six yards to make it 5-0.

1-0 Thiago (25′)
2-0 Fabregas (44′)
3-0 Alexis (47′)
4-0 Messi (51′)
5-0 Messi (74′)


Thiago Gets Pulses Racing at the Audi Cup

July 28th, 2011

FC Barcelona have lifted the Audi Cup after a comfortable 2-0 victory against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Exciting midfielder Thiago grabbed both goals to cap another man of the match performance. It was a satisfying night all round as Barça carry an unbeaten record into the American leg of their preseason.

The first half saw Guardiola field his most experienced lineup so far this summer; Busquets, Iniesta, Villa, Keita, Valdés and Maxwell all figured against a young Bayern team. It was little surprise to see Barça take the initiative and force their opponents back. David Villa had the first opportunity, stinging Hans-Jörg Butt’s palms from long range. Soriano, playing at the centre of the front three, then fired over after good work by Maxwell down the left.

Bayern did manage to conjure some interesting opportunities on the break – Valdés had to be sharp to block a Petersen effort after a teasing cross by Japanese winger Usami. Later in the half Austrian international midfielder David Alaba found himself in a one-on-one situation with Valdes, but Barça’s keeper closed down the space well and made a crucial save.

Barcelona took the lead just before half time. Soriano pulled wide and clipped a perfect cross for Thiago, who met the ball with a guided header past Bayern’s keeper and into the right side of the goal from 10 yards.

There were slightly fewer changes from Guardiola at half time, as the manager opted instead to give a few more minutes to Thiago, Iniesta and Jonathan Dos Santos, who was making an unwonted appearance at right-back.

More replacements did take to the field as the second half wore on, with Gerard Piquè making his first appearance since the Champion League final in May. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes called on a few more of his established stars, as Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos, Mario Gómez and Thomas Müller all entered the fray.

The alterations did little to alter the dynamic of the match, with Barcelona controlling possession and Bayern launching some dangerous counter-attacks. The Bavarian side forced Pinto into action after 70 minutes, when defender Jeremy Boating crashed a long-range effort straight at Barça’s substitute ‘keeper.

Isaac Cuenca caught the eye, initiating a number of attacks from the right wing with a mix of stylish dribbling and cute angled passes. David Villa also looked in good shape,

But the match was settled by yet another moment of brilliance from Thiago. Gaining possession on the left side of the pitch, the young midfielder exchanged a quick-fire one-two with Ibrahim Afellay, collecting the ball just outside the area and curling a right-footed shot into the top corner. It was a fitting way to settle the match, and Guardiola’s men now head to the United States, where they’ll initially face defeated Champions League finalists Manchester United at FedEx Field in Washington.


Barcelona Slip Against Spirited Sociedad

May 2nd, 2011

FC Barcelona fell to a 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad on Saturday evening. The Basque team capitalised on two defensive slips to condemn Barça to a first league defeat since September and boost their own fight against relegation. Substitute Diego Ifrán tapped home from close range, and Xabi Prieto converted a penalty to cancel out Thiago’s opener for the away team.

Barça will feel also somewhat aggrieved after a legitimate Milito goal was disallowed for offside when the match was finely poised at 1-1. Despite this frustration the result means that the picture remains unchanged at the top thanks to Real Madrid’s latest home defeat, this time at the hands of Real Zaragoza.

Pep Guardiola elected to field a smattering of young Barcelona B talent ahead of the crucial Champions League semi-final second leg at the Camp Nou on Tuesday. Andreu Fontàs, Martín Montoya and Thiago all provided a glimpse of the next generation.

Barcelona were largely superior early on and fashioned two quick chances, with Messi smashing a volley just wide and Afellay forcing a smart save from ‘keeper Claudio Bravo. Montoya then had his game sadly cut short after a foul by Xabi Prieto.

There was little to trouble Pinto at the other end, apart from a half-chance for Raúl Tamudo. The former Espanyol man almost notched a goal against his old rivals, directing a lobbed Griezmann pass inches past the post.

Just before the half hour mark, the mounting Barça pressure told; Xavi fired a 20-yard pass along the ground to Messi. For once in his career the Argentine failed to bring the ball under control, but young Thiago Alcántara was quickest to react and found the back of the net via a touch from Claudio Bravo and the underside of the crossbar.

By half time it looked like Guardiola’s men were taking another comfortable step towards a third successive title, but Real Sociedad came out for the second 45 with renewed purpose. Within minutes they were looking dangerous from set pieces; Pinto half-cleared a Griezmann free kick and Estrada went just wide with a long-range volley.

Barça’s defence was starting to look a little indecisive, and this was especially evident for the Erreala equaliser. After a scramble following one of many high crosses, substitute Diego Ifrán escaped the attentions of young Andreu Fontàs to find the net with his first touch of the game.

This goal was followed by the game’s most contentious moment. Gabriel Milito stooped to head home a teasing Xavi delivery at the back post, but the assistant’s flag was raised instantly. Replays suggested the Argentine defender was level.

Real Sociedad took the lead a few minutes later when a tentative exchange of passes between Mascherano, Alves and Pinto handed dangerous possession to Sociedad. Griezmann was felled by Mascherano and Xabi Prieto stepped up to squeeze home a tame penalty.

Although the defeat was frustratingly preventable, Barça’s lead at the top still looks unassailable.

0-1, Thiago (min 29)
1-1, Ifrán (min 71)
2-1, Xabi Prieto (pen, min 82)


Barcelona See off Spirited Almería

April 11th, 2011

FC Barcelona edged a little closer to the title on Saturday night with a display of steely determination to overcome a stubborn Almería team. After a disjointed first-half, Barça swept the Andalucian visitors aside, but not before going a goal down.

Once again Lionel Messi will deservedly take the plaudits after raising his tally to a staggering 47 goals for the season. Much like his team tonight, the Argentine genius’ performance was a little below his best. But it was his sheer will to win that was most remarkable; as late as second-half injury time he chased an apparent lost cause to force a mistake from Marcelo Silva and seal the game for his team with a delicate close-range chip.

It was an unfamiliar Barça side to take to the pitch tonight. The recent defensive injury crisis was exacerbated by one-match suspensions to Víctor Valdés and Busquets, while Bojan began in place of Villa, and Pedro continued his slow reintroduction to the side by starting on the bench. Young La Masia graduate, Thiago was rewarded for his mature performance away to Villareal with another midfield start.

Perhaps understandably, Barcelona were unable to assert their usual tempo on the match in the first half. Bojan produced a rare moment of excitement as he crafted an opportunity for Thiago after a great run. But his game was ended by an awkward collision with Marcelo Silva, and Villa entered the fray in his stead.

Almería’s performance belied their status as the league’s bottom club, working hard to deny Barcelona time and space in the final third. In truth the Blaugrana side was starting to look more than a little frustrated when the half time whistle blew.

A much-improved second half was needed, and at the offset it was clear that Barça were upping the ante. Villa drilled the ball onto the post after just three minutes. Still, this team has been a little vulnerable on counter attacks lately, and so it proved when Almería broke from a corner and Miguel Ángel Corona was set free to tuck the ball below Pinto.

Gabriel Milito was perhaps culpable for the goal by dropping a little too deep, but the central defender atoned for his error moments later with a wonderful raking pass to release Villa, who was felled by Diego Alves to win a vital penalty. Messi stepped up and made no mistake, smashing the ball into the bottom right corner.

Pedro soon took to the field, allowing Iniesta to drop back to his midfield role and start conducting affairs with his usual panache. A second goal was starting to look inevitable, and it came from Barcelona’s youngest player; Thiago met a Messi corner with a perfect glancing header to give Alves no chance.

From then on, the visitors posed no real threat, and Messi struck at the death to add a little gloss to another crucial win.

0-1 Corona (min 49)
1-1 Messi (min 52)
2-1 Thiago (min 63)
3-1 Messi (min 90)

Team P W D L F A Pts
1
Barcelona
31
27
3
1
85
16
84
2
Real Madrid
31
24
4
3
72
22
76
3
Valencia
31
18
6
7
51
35
60
4
Villarreal
31
16
6
9
48
36
54
5
Sevilla
31
13
7
11
48
46
46
6
Atlético Madrid
31
13
6
12
48
41
45
7
Athletic Bilbao
31
14
3
14
47
45
45
8
Espanyol
31
14
2
15
38
43
44
9
Levante
31
11
6
14
33
41
39
10
Mallorca
31
11
6
14
33
42
39
11
Sporting Gijón
31
9
11
11
29
35
38
12
Racing Santander
31
9
10
12
31
45
37
13
Osasuna
31
9
8
14
36
37
35
14
Real Sociedad
31
11
2
18
40
54
35
15
Deportivo
31
8
11
11
25
40
35
16
Getafe
30
9
7
14
41
49
34
17
Zaragoza
30
7
9
14
29
43
30
18
Hércules
31
8
6
17
28
48
30
19
Málaga
31
8
6
17
39
62
30
20
Almería
31
5
11
15
32
54
26

Barça through to Copa del Rey final

February 3rd, 2011

Barcelona have reached the final of the Copa del Rey for the 35th time after beating Almeria last night to go through 8-0 on aggregate.The final will be played against Real Madrid on April 23rd, celebrated across Catalonia as Sant Jordi’s Day. The match will be played in Sevilla.

0-1 Adriano (min 34)
0-2 Thiago (min 56)
0-3 Afellay (min 66)


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