Barcelona fans needed one thing from the last group stage match in Champions League play, a victory. Four draws in five matches in all competitions has left a bitter taste in the Blaugrana’s mouths, but there were three other things the faithful desperately wanted to happen to turn the recent tide for the club. With the top spot in Group C already secured, supporters hoped to see a goal from Paco Alcácer, strong displays from fringe players, and for Lionel Messi to break Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for most goals in the group stage. Well, one out of three ain’t bad especially with the dominating performance displayed by FC Barcelona on the night.
The curse of Anoeta continues as FC Barcelona is lucky to win a draw against a dominating La Real performance. A moment of magic between Neymar and Lionel Messi rescued the club one point. They now sit six behind Real Madrid heading into the first El Clásico of the season.
What a relief it is to have Lionel Messi on your side. Not only is he a magician on the field, but he also has the ability to be the ultimate decider of games- more so than any player in other player in the world. Is it a coincidence that Leo happened to be the player making the run-on into the box conveniently for Neymar to put in a dinked cross that ultimately led to the first goal? It all looks so simple- so easy. But often it is not. Leo has started the season on fire, scoring 17 goals in 13 appearances, whilst also racking up five assists.
Over the past month or so, Barcelona B have installed themselves as favourites for one of the promotion playoff spots in Group 3 of the Segunda División B. The Blaugranas have been excellent value for the lead, but as all teams, they too can have days off. Against Badalona on Saturday, the stars seemed to conspire against Gerard López’s team. In front of the biggest crowd the Miniestadi has seen this season, the reserves huffed and puffed, but all they managed in the end was to lose 3-1 after going down 2-0 at halftime. The golden Segunda B rule was at work again: fail your chances and you shall be punished.
Good teams must know how to win convincingly. But what ultimately makes a good team into a champion team is the ability to win ugly. Against bottom-placed Eldense, Barcelona B didn’t even come close to playing their best football. The Blaugranas did dominate the match from start to finish, looked sharper than the opposition and had the best chances, but still left a lot to be desired with their performance. The team managed to dodge the banana skin in the end, but only just. Gerard Gumbau, who has become a key figure in Barcelona B’s resurgence of late, netted a wonderful free kick just 5 minutes from time to keep his team top of the league standards from yet another week.
Barça entered matchday 11 with something to prove.
Playing away at Sevilla is a consistently difficult match, and the general mood suggested it might not go well.
Round 11 of La Liga sees FC Barcelona pull out a narrow victory over Sevilla FC at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. Lionel Messi was the star of show pulling Barcelona back after they were undone by a beautiful pass from Samir Nasir that led to a Vitolo goal. Luis Suárez won the match in the 61st minute after a devastating Messi dribble.
Luis Enrique’s men travelled to Manchester knowing that they were facing a team that are very much a work in progress under Pep Guardiola’s management, but definitely knew that they are a very dangerous side. With multiple injuries within the squad, to think that City could get something from Wednesday’s game was in no way unthinkable.
If a football match lasted 38 minutes, Barcelona would have flown back to El Prat airport with a simple win and feeling very proud of their performance, but unfortunately a football match lasts 90 minutes, and Manchester City showed how important momentum and confidence can be, and how a game can change within small margins of error.
Round 10 of La Liga sees an uninspired FC Barcelona struggle to find the back of the net as they dominate bottom feeding Granada CF in every other department. A lone goal by Rafinha in the 49th minute was the difference as Barça put in a lackluster shift before their trip to Manchester for Champions League play on Tuesday.
Round 9 of La Liga sees FC Barcelona narrowly defeat Valencia CF after Lionel Messi converted a penalty won by Luis Suárez in the second minute of extra time during the second half. Barcelona took an early lead after a controversial Messi strike in the 22nd minute, but Valencia responded with two goals early in the second half. Suárez tied the contest in the 62nd minute after a Neymar corner setting up a tense yet exciting finish.