Sevilla 1 – Barcelona 1

Source- ElMundoDeportivo.com

A combination of wasteful finishing, poor luck, a spirited fight 2nd half fight back from Sevilla, and a sprinkle of bizarre referring means we could not celebrate Pep’s 1000th day in charge with a victory.  Sevilla were bloody awful first half but came out fighting in the 2nd to earn a 1-1 draw.  Objectively, a draw away to Sevilla isn’t bad and with the gap at 5 points, the league is still ours to lose.

We started the game very much in the ascendency and frankly, Sevilla’s game plan was obvious from the start.  This game plan being the all to familiar 10 men behind the ball, let’s hope we are lucky on a counter attack or set piece.  But, with just 8 minutes on the clock, we broke through with a lovely placed Messi free kick.  Well, we thought we had broken through.  The referee made an absolutely ridiculous decision to disallow the free kick because of some “fouling” done by Busquets with a Sevilla player behind the wall.  Honestly, the ref knew he was going to blow the whistle before the ball was even kicked.  He had chatted to them before the kick about the pushing and shoving and in an act to stamp his authority on the play I can bet you he premeditated blowing that whistle if he saw the slightest inclination of pushing or shoving.  The problem with these sorts of calls is the incredible inconsistency of them.

Then in the 14th minute Pep was forced to make a substitution when Pedro appeared to have picked up a muscle strain when he overstretched for a ball.  That saw the introduction of Bojan, who interestingly was not even supposed to make the 7 on the bench before the game and was only included as Jeffren picked up a niggle during the pre-match warm-up.

The rest of the half we dominated in such a huge way.  I’m rather embarrassed for other teams who seemingly have neither intention nor courage to play us in a normal match of football.  Many Sevilla fans were feeling similar during the match with constant whistling when we had almost 80% of possession.  Sure, they were whistling to disrupt us, but I’m sure they were unimpressed the team they pay good money to watch had no intention of trying to win.

Between the 15 and 20th minute we were showing decent penetration, particularly from Adriano and Alves on the wings.  Alves was called offside in the 16th minute, which I thought was level, and then in the 17th minute Adriano got in the box but Fazio made a strong last ditch tackle.

In the 24th minute Sevilla had their only attacking highlight to speak of, which was the penalty shout.  They got a freekick, which was whipped in from the right and when Zakora was running to attack the ball he and Alves accidentally collided their legs.  It was completely accidental and if they got a penalty there, it would have been a joke.

But finally in the 30th minute we broke through.  One of Alves’s runs was timed to perfection, the linesman didn’t raise his flag, and Dani got onto the end of Iniesta’s wonderfully weighted lobbed pass.  The Brazilian took it down perfectly and with his second touch squared it to the open Bojan.  Now, despite the perfection of the set up, Bojan’s finish was far from secure.  He tried to take a touch and when trying to follow up on it, Caceres got right onto him.  The ball basically trickled over the line after a combination of Bojan holding off Caceres and Caceres trying to win the ball resulted in nobody touching it and eventually it went in.

Villa then blew a decent chance 8 minutes later after Iniesta did some lovely work to penetrate near the box and released the ball right.  Villa just skied it over and up till then he was nearly non-existent in the game.  The one note I will add though is he was trying to make runs all night, some quite good and his teammates didn’t seem keen to lose possession for a hopeful ball.

In the 42nd minute Messi nearly made it 2.  Messi passed it to Xavi, who held the ball perfectly while Messi darted into the box.  Our magical 6 put in a perfect ball into Messi’s path and our little Argentine put a thumping header in that rebounded off the bar.  Unlucky.

A minute later Messi made a great run, with about 5 people trying to stop him, he however should have passed left to Adriano (who honestly was wasteful upfront tonight) but went to Bojan in the middle, who got fouled.  Off the freekick Messi made Varas save it.

The 44th minute saw a half chance for the home team when Adriano missed an easy header to clear the ball from a cross and if Capel had been more awake he may have capitalized on the mistake.

The half ended with Messi down on the ground in pain, but personally, I wasn’t too worried as it looked like a knee-to-knee collision.  Having had a few of those myself, I know they are painful but they aren’t an injury in the strict sense of the word.

But, the 2nd half could not have been any more different from the first.  Whether he heard the criticism from myself above, or the groaning of the fans, Manzano definitely saw something that persuaded him to change tactics.  I suspect it was our forgiving first half as well as some tiredness and also weaknesses in Villa, Bojan, and Adriano.  His decision to bring on Kanoute was instrumental, as the Malian changed the game totally and throughout the 2nd half he held the ball up brilliantly and caused mountains of problems for the defense.

And in just 4 minutes, Sevilla capitalized on our wastefulness first half with a goal.  Pique got caught horribly out of position when he chased an attacker down, which left a huge gap in the defense.  A ball was fed to Negredo, who showed strength to keep both Abidal and Alves from tackling him.  He was forced wide but managed to drag a cross back into the danger area, which Navas headed in and it was 1-1.

The game changed totally from now on.  Sevilla were pumped up and the crowd really got behind them.  From the tight first half we totally bossed, the 2nd was an open game with end-to-end chances.

Now, in the 51st minute, just 2 minutes after equalizing, Bojan should have punished Sevilla.  I cannot even remember who slotted the ball through to him because I was so angry.  He was behind the defense but showed a horrendous first touch and the chance was over.  It was truly wasteful and not a touch expectant of a player on our team.

Then just one minute later Negredo showed some wastefulness of his own.  Adriano, who had an absolute stinker tonight, put in a hospital pass to Busquets that was intercepted, and fell to Negredo who had a clear sight at goal.  Luckily for us, his left footed attempt on goal was just terrible and went well high and wide.

The game was really heated at this point, with tackles flying in, mostly from Sevilla.  Xavi got into a bit of a stare down with Chilean Medel.

In the 65th minute Adriano was once again pathetic when given a decent opening in the box.  We take a lot of time, effort, and patience to create open spaces against defenses that pack the box and Adriano was just throwing them all down the toilet.  I was hugely unimpressed with him again tonight, as were the commentators.  He is nowhere near the level those in Sevilla were blessed with for many years.

Messi definitely had a quieter 2nd half but in the 68th minute he nearly scored another wonder goal if not for a focused Javi Varas.  He did a signature dazzling weaving run, leaving 3 Sevilla defenders dead in their tracks.  He was one on one with Varas, but the Sevilla goalkeeper rushed out well and made the angle too tight for Messi to squeeze the shot past him.

The 71st and 73rd minute had Bojan at center stage.  In the 71st he was again awful on the ball when given solid space on the left hand side.  Then in the 73rd, he again got himself into a space, but he just could not make use of it.  His touch was clumsy all night and he could not get his body position right for a proper strike on goal.  This time however we may have gotten a penalty out of it.  Navas put in a silly tackle that in honesty didn’t get near the ball.  But Bojan looked too unconvincing for the ref to give it.  It looked in the live feed like Bojan simply messed up again and then looked for a soft penalty.  Replay showed differently but I cannot blame the ref this time, despite the fact he had a pretty crappy evening out.

Navas nearly made it 2-1 in the 75th minute if not for the alertness of Victor Valdes.  Perotti had come on for the ever-diving Capel and caused us huge problems.  An awesome flick from Kanoute put Perorrti in acres of space on the left side (Pique again got caught out by coming up very forward and not getting a block on the ball).  He then squared it, it came all the way across the box, Navas came dashing in, struck it (not totally cleanly), but Valdes managed to close the angle enough and then get his feet on it to make the block.  Just 3 minute later, Perotti again got the better of Pique and thankfully this time on the pull back Kanoute fluffed his shot.

The last 10 minutes however belonged to us and we were unlucky not to score.  In the 81st minute Bojan finally did something positive and sent in a lovely low cross from the right which Messi was literally centimeters from getting onto.  Then in the 85th minute Iniesta absolutely cracked the crossbar.  He received a ball on the top of the box and seemingly had enough of just passing it around just put his foot through the ball and Varas was very lucky the bar saved him again.

We then nearly struck a dagger in the Sevilla hearts when Messi’s wizardly again saw him break into the box, have a shot on goal, which rebounded off a defender and fell right to Iniesta.  Iniesta’s shot beat the keeper but Medel had gone to the line and saved a point for Sevilla.

This really was a game of 2 halves.  We totally dominated the 1st and should have ended that 45 minutes up by at least 2.  It must be noted though the ref didn’t help us with his ridiculous decision (how annoying was it also in the 2nd half when ever single time we put a ball into their box from either a corner or freekick the ref just blew a foul against us!).  The 2nd half though Sevilla came out fighting and as much as we could have gone up a few goals, we also could have conceded some.  Tonight, we had some particularly poor individual performances.  Pique did not impress, but the worst players by a mile were Adriano, Villa, and Bojan.  Villa just had no impact what so ever tonight and for the first time I was properly disappointed in him.  He looked almost uninterested and fed up none of his runs were being spotted, but then the few times he got the ball, he did nothing.  Bojan was also rubbish.  His touch was funky and he was simply muscled off the ball with too much ease time after time.  Iniesta was by far our most impressive attacking spark tonight, so congratulations to him.

But, 1-1 in Sevilla is not a bad result.  When you start the La Liga campaign, any reasonable coach looks at away games at Valencia, Sevilla, and Madrid and can live with zero points.  One point is respectable and 3 points is a bonus.  Considering the physically and emotionally draining match Tuesday night, maybe it was over expecting to have us win again.  Still, it is hard to forget the domination first half, disallowed goal, and 2 cross bars tonight.

We are 5 points in front of Madrid with 9 matches to go.  We only really have two tough games left, Madrigal on April 2/3 and then Real Madrid April 16/17.   Madrid themselves have a tough run of away games with Atletico Madrid, Bilbao, then Valencia, then Sevilla, and finally Villarreal.  So basically, let’s not panic tonight.

Ratings:

Valdes 8, Alves 7.5, Pique 6, Abidal 8 (how cool was his crazy defensive header thing), Adriano 4 (Maxwell 6), Xavi 7.5, Busquets 7.5, Iniesta 8.5, Pedro 6 (Bojan 5), Villa 4 (Keita 6), Messi 8

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11 Responses to Sevilla 1 – Barcelona 1

  1. Lee says:

    Wow–you’re still pissed. I really enjoyed the post, especially since the game wasn’t carried on TV here. I had to read the Guardian’s updates. It was clearly a great game to watch. Oh well. Could have been worse. Hopefully Pedro is okay are your boy Bojan will continue to haunt you. We should have sold that kid before we destroyed his confidence entirely. Chelsea will probably want him still as they seem especially fond of pretty boys these days. Torres, Kaka, and Bojan: the supermodel team. They can have all three. We will play beautiful football with ugly players!

  2. Lee says:

    Finally saw the first goal on footytube: seems like you might have been a bit hard on Bojan. His first touch was fine, I thought, the important thing being to direct it at any speed goalward because nobody was there to stop it. Don’t get me wrong, I still think we should sell Vagina Lips to Chelsea. (You just can’t rely on mouth breathers.) But in that instance Bojan did well, though it sounds like it went downhill after that.

  3. FCB says:

    Lee– your reasoning and the way you talk is kind of strange. pretty boys? we will play football with ugly players? vagina lips? seriously? mouth breathers? what is that supposed to mean?

  4. bc9jaCulé says:

    I don’t mean to just vent my rage out here but seriously I need to get these off my chest:

    1) Piqué should be DELIBERATELY made to sit-out some matches. His pathetic embrace of attackin’ threats has been particularly very poor lately. Shakira must be really shakin’ too much of those hips for him and evidently, those HIPS DON’T LIE as Piqué finds it difficult to even concentrate on his own profession. Thank GOD he compulsorily had to miss the match against Arsenal.

    2) Could anyone please tell me what the FFFF Bojan is still doing in a Barça shirt? Even his goal was utterly AWFUL. Was he plannin’ on walkin’ the ball over the goal line? RIDICULOUS!!! Alves did some exquisite magic to square the ball to him and he almost squandered it with some lackadaisical first touch. He actually meant to control the ball first before kickin’ it in and the ball SLIPPED AWAY from him AS USUAL!!!. Only this time, he was quite lucky the ball was close to the goal line and went goalwards. If not, Carceres would have saved that goal. That pass from Alves needed ONLY ONE EMPHATIC TOUCH but my dear–amateurish–overhyped–inferior–incompetent–feeble–fragile–glassy Bojan controlled loosely and was ONLY FORTUNATE that it led to a goal.
    My Point:
    Bojan aint no Barça material so he should be sold or loaned out to WHEREVER (I really don’t care where) and replaced with some decent centre forward — PERIOD. This is Barça — where every 3 potential points matter — and not some Almeria or Malaga so, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH — Bojan MUST leave!!!

    3) We need to be more ruthless and devastatin’ in front of goal and kill matches early enough as that unnecessarily cost us 2 crucial points last night. Not until the final third of the match did our players begin to shoot from all cylinders. This has to end. And Villa needs to get his footing back. He was completely M.I.A. last night — what’s the issue with his ON &OFF mode anyway?

    4) Judgin’ from the first half, we deserved to win, while from the second, we were lucky not to have lost. So, the game was a two–way street and not forgettin’ the fact that we were quite unlucky in front of goal too, I guess a draw was just fair. And admittedly, better a win against Arsenal and a draw against Sevilla than vice versa so CHEER UP CULÉS.

    5) We cannot afford to lose any more points in the Liga (especially if Madrid doesn’t) as any further loss of points will heap immense pressure on our boys. Madrid is desperately lurkin’ @ the corner so we must keep vigil and record a win in AT LEAST the next 8 Liga fixtures.

    PS:
    Why on earth was Messi’s freekick goal nullified? There’s simply no form of rational justification behind that pathetic call by the referee. May God save us from the malicious machinations of Laliga’s Anti–Barça (Madrid) match officials. And now nobody is makin’ an issue out of it but if that call was made for Barça against an opposition, the media (especially AS and Marça) could go ahead rantin’ and photo-shopping in their publications again. Plain INJUSTICE!!!

    Visca Barça!!!
    Força Barça!!!

    • Josher says:

      I agree bojan has had a mediocre season so far, and last year was even worse. Do you remember how well he was doing under Rijkaard? He was only 17 or 18 at the time he had Rijkaard and Henry molding him. Guardiola came in and Pedro was simply hungrier, faster, stronger. More talented, I don’t know, different talent. Bojan lost the little minutes he had and his momentum with the squad suffered. He is only 20 now though! Pedro and Messi are both 23. The growth you do from 20 to 23 is huge (I’m 23 and I feel so much stronger and confident on the field than I did when I was 20). He still has to put on that man strength. Bust his ass back to Barca B if necessary, but we need to hold on to this wonder kid for the future.

  5. Fredegar says:

    Well, at least the second half made for a very good game of football. But my god, it was frustrating. I think the team as a whole was pretty poor, apart from Iniesta nobody was really good tonight. Was it because of the Arsenal game? maybe, but I would have thought 5 days would have been enough to put it behind us.
    You’re a bit rude with Bojan I think. Yes he was a bit poor, but he never stopped to try, got a goal, an excellent cross that should have resulted in a goal and definitely shoud have gotten a penalty, so in the end it’s not such a bad day at work for a forward. As for his touch when through on goal, Messi missed almost the exact same chance with a poor touch, so… Speaking of Messi, he was poor yesterday, compared to his incredible standards of course, with no end product and an awful lot of wasted balls. And don’t get me started on Villa. Now I have been a staunch defender of Villa these last weeks, but was he even on the pitch yesterday? He wasn’t even offside, so you just couldn’t be sure… He had what, three touches of all game? And he spectacularly missed all three, what a gash… let’s hope it’s just a one off cos’ if Messi and Villa go missing as they have yesterday, we will be in trouble.
    Rest of the team were not fantastic either. Abidal ok but Piqué poor, Alves understrength, Adriano poor, only our midfield was at its level, with a stellar performance from Iniesta who created almost everything that was good, and a solid Xavi.
    Well, it was maybe one of these days in football where nothing will go your way. Still, we played at one of the most difficult grounds in Spain, had a bad game, the other team had a good game, we were not helped by the ref (though not too much disadvantaged either) and found the crossbar twice, and we still come back with a point disappointed not to have three, such is the strength of this team! Four points away at Valencia and Sevilla is a fantastic result and we still have a firm grip on the lead, so if I was a bit frustrated by the manner, the result is just fine for me.
    Just a word about Sevilla to finish: Capel is still an horrible c**t, I really can’t stand him, but Perrotti, Navas and Kanouté are fantastic players, and Negredo was okay yesterday too, how they can find themselves 7th in the league is just beyond me, this team should be in the champions league.

  6. MUYIDEEN ABDULGANIYU says:

    In the first place,Pique is doing rubbish these days;may be due to the lady Shakira that he carries.Secondly,Adriano used to do selfish. Why?I hail Mr Abidal for his performances.Finally,why is it that whenever Barcelona is rubbed by the ref,no any action been taken?Villa is putting us in shame for almost 4 weeks now he should adjust to prove that he is a world cup medalist.

  7. Hilal says:

    Football is a funny old game and these things happen. We should have won this game, but it wasnt to be. Poor finishing, even worse officiating and the damn goal posts made sure that we didnt get all 3 points. Be thankfull we got 1 because honestly on nights like these we could have walked away with nothing. It was just one of those games. It happens. At the start of the season if somebody had told me that we would have a 5 point lead (well it is effectively 6 since we have a 5-0 aggregate) with 10 games left in the season I would have been more than satisfied. We can still lose 6 points and even if Madrid are perfect we would still win the league on the head to head rule (unless they beat us by more than 5 goals). I am confident we can beat them, or at least get a draw when we play them away.

    Bojan needs to go on loan. Him being here, sitting on the bench is not doing either him or the club any good whatsoever. At his age he needs to be playing regularly not sitting on a bench. We need a player off the bench who actually has an impact on the game and isnt just a waste of space. It seems like everytime Pep gives Bojan a chance to shine, he squanders it. I wonder how much patience Pep will show the boy. Personally I think Afellay should get more of a chance than Bojan at this point.

    I am not too worried about Villa, first seasons are always going to be tough at Barca. It is such a unique and demanding system that players have to adapt both mentally and physically. He will get there and even without being quite there yet he already has 20+ goals.

    In a way I hope Messi sits out the game next week cos he could use the rest. Getafe at home shouldnt be too big of a problem without Messi, maybe have him on the bench just in case. Would love to see Afellay get a chance to start with the A-team.

  8. bc9jaCulé says:

    Rude about Bojan?!?!?! Maybe you didn’t see the same match I saw. Well, I’ll take that as your personal opinion which of course, you’re rightly entitled to as I am to mine. As for me, OBJECTIVITY is one of my prioritized watchwords and I never hesitate to CALL A SPADE A SPADE — no sentimentalities attached.

    Honestly, Bojan is a handsome wonderkid but with the deluxe standard Barça has carved out for itself, I’ll repeat UNEQUIVOCALLY that he aint no Barça material. And the outcome of the match wasn’t what baffled me but the way Bojan — a Barça 9, despite all the expectations on him — UNINTENTIONALLY scored that goal (please try and watch it again).

    And mind you, bringing in Messi when Bojan’s being discussed is a grave TABOO because what Messi has offered — especially under Pep — more than makes up for his performance in any match for the rest of his career — no matter how terrible the performance might be, trust me on this one.

    Have fun Culés.

  9. Fredegar says:

    Fuck fuck fuck, just learnt the news about Abidal… Just a shame, he had such an incredible season. Sunday I was posting on a french website to complain that they were always talking about Benzema and not at all about the outstanding french performer in La Liga this season, and today he makes the headlines, fuck. Careful with what you wish, as they say. Get well soon Eric!

  10. MUYIDEEN ABDULGANIYU says:

    Everyone just blamed Bojan,David Villa is our taboo now because he plays for Barcelona as if to have problem with the club.Bojan is our alternative while Villa is the main source.Lets blame Villa before any other player.This has shown that Villa can not carry us on shoulder when no Messi and Pedro at front.He did rubbish against Valencia,zaragoza,Arsenal and Sevilla.

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