The players had a mission on Tuesday, and it was to secure the three points after the loss against Paris Saint Germain in the previous Champions League encounter. That mission was sealed in the first half with two goals from Barça’s magical duo Messi and Neymar, and a Sandro golazo at the closing minutes which sealed the three points. Neymar Jr, Andrés Iniesta, Ivan Rakitić, Pedro Rodríguez and Marc Bartra all spoke to the media at the mixed zone about the Ajax triumph and the Clasico which is looming ahead. Check out what all these players commented after the jump.
Ronaldo & Bale? Ibrahimovic & Cavani? Robben & Ribery? Nobody can deny that these are in fact some of the greatest duos in the modern game; and while it’s always a pleasure to see your team striker scoring in five games in a row, it truly is astonishing to have your team’s duo achieve that feat. That’s right, Messi and Neymar have been gelling together better than ever, scoring in the past five consecutive games.
Ever since the 3-0 win against Eibar where Lionel Messi showed his evergreen class on the field, there’s been talks around the Argentine refusing Luis Enrique’s orders to be subbed off. No matter how many times the coach has denied this story and that these stories are only mind games from the Madrid media ahead of Saturday’s clásico, it didn’t stop many football figures from criticising Leo. However, Tuesday’s Champions League encounter against Ajax proved that the coach was right after the four-time Ballon d’Or winner was subbed off after 65 minutes into the game. Messi made it even more clear after the match when he said, “Lots of things have been said, but when the boss needs to take me off, he takes me off, no problem.” More from Leo after the jump.
Javier Mascherano has taken over the role of task-master on the field, a role previously occupied by captain Carles Puyol. “He has good control of the game, and we all know this. Moreover, he knows how to organize the team,” enthused Marc-André ter Stegen after yesterday’s Champions League match against Ajax.
It genuinely is different watching live. I was fortunate enough this evening to enjoy the match in prime seats and literally wouldn’t have had a better view of the action. At the same time, I didn’t take notes so forgive me some possible inaccuracies and omissions. So, here goes.
An Ajax goal in the 88th minute made Barça unnecessarily sweat before yet another fantastically taken Sandro Ramírez goal made the result sure. A final 3-1 score-line is far more representative of the match pattern than 2-1 would have been, with FC Barcelona dominating Ajax entirely until Luis Enrique made the big changes in the second half. And as a side note, come on Lucho, telling the public the Real Madrid match was entirely out of your mind when removing Neymar, Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta is borderline insulting. That’s why you did it, it’s what you should have done it, and what happened afterwards is not a reflection of decisions taken at the time. That reflection being Barça considerably relaxed in the final half hour, eventually conceding a messy goal. But almost as importantly, the response was quick and fierce, a most positive element.
The Ratings… Everyone’s 2nd favorite part to a post-match analysis, after the Post-Match Review of course. It is now your turn to show us what you think of the players’ performances. Let’s see how you all do!
totalBarça welcomes you all to the2014-15 Champions League campaign game between FC Barcelona and AFC Ajax! Are you ready?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ 20:45 Barcelona time – Convert to local time
FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique underlined during the usual prematch press conference that game 3 of the Champions League won’t be an easy match. “We will have to produce a complete performance to beat Ajax, a team of many strengths. Ajax are a well-structured side, one that knows how to attack, how to press. Last season they created many problems for Barcelona.” said the coach. He had more words of praise for tonight’s opponent and underlined that “Ajax’s positional play is very good. They can play short and long passes and they find solutions in all areas. They press in defence − they don’t hesitate − and counterattack really well.”
The Barcelona first team is not the only club team in European action this week, as the club’s Juvenil A team (U-19s) face their Ajax counterparts in the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon at the Miniestadi. Speaking to the press, coach Jordi Vinyals issued a warning about Ajax’s quality and asked for a response by his players following a run of mixed results. Read Vinyals’ key comments after the jump…
October 21, 2014
October 20, 2014