Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Barça 1 (Barça win 6-1 on aggregate)

We eased our way into the Champions League semi-final with a 0-1 win in Donetsk tonight finishing off the job that we started so well last Wednesday. Leo Messi scored the only goal of tonight’s game bringing his Champions League tally to nine this season making a total of 48 goals in 45 games for Barça in all competitions which beats the 47 he scored last season. A truly remarkable achievement in the modern game.

Pep Guardiola showed Shakhtar every respect by playing more or less our strongest team given that Iniesta was suspended and Pedro has not started a game yet since his injury. With Bojan now out for the remainder of the season Afellay was given another chance to start up front with Messi and Villa. Ther main point of interest in our formation was seeing Mascherano in the back four alongside Piqué while Busquets played the defensive midfield role. The thinking behind this must surely be the lack of speed we have at the back, and while Masch is suspended for Saturday’s clasico I imagine Pep is thinking of starting with this back four for the Copa del Rey Final next Wednesday. Mascherano generally had a very good match but early on in the 8th minute he didn’t get close enough to Douglas Costa who made a good diagonal run to meet Jadson’s pass and Valdés had to make a good parry diving to his left.

Most of the early problems that Shakhtar gave us as they got the better of the first 20 minutes, came though Jadson and also through the attacking full-backs Kobin and Shevchuk who were replacing first choice pair Srna and Rat. In the 14th minute Shevchuk got forward and Valdés had to make another stop from Jadson’s poor finish, and then in the 24th minute the danger came from the right as Kobin crossed to Jadson whose first time shot went straight at Valdés.

However, it seems as though we were just testing the waters to see how much effort we would need to win. Gradually we began to carve out chances though most was coming from shots outside the area: Xavi and Keita both fired wide while Messi sent a powerful effort straight at Pyatov. On half an hour a nice build-up led to Afellay feeding the overlapping Adriano whose shot from an angle beat the keeper but Kobin was back to clear off the line. Messi then had a neat little run into the area but he tried to be too clever and didn’t find the height to lift the ball over Pyatov.

We were more in control now, Messi had another shot go over and Afellay sent in a stinger straight at Pyatov, then in the 43rd minute Alves got forward on the right before squaring inside to Messi who took the ball in his stride and into the area, and despite the close attention of a defender who managed to get a touch to the ball Messi followed its path as if he knew just where it was going anyway and sent a low shot past Pyatov who had no chance. Shakhtar came close to an equalizer just before half time but Valdés made a brave save crashing into a post to prevent Jadson’s free kick from curling into the top corner.

The second half was always going to be a stroll after that and we just concentrated on controlling things as Shakhtar gradually lost their fight. The best moment was a run past two from Messi which set up Afellay with a chance but Pyatov saved and Alves blasted the rebound wide. Shakhtar’s consolation might have come in the 76th minte but Valdés made a splendid save from Mkhitaryan’s drive. Guardiola was able to give a rest to Xavi, Piqué and Villa, giving a run-out to Pedro, Milito and Jeffren.

This was a fairly comfortable match and showed the developing maturity of this team, though Milito picked up a yellow card after slipping almost immediately after coming on, and Villa took a knock to his knee which needed an ice pack. He should be ok for Saturday, we are going to need as many players at their best as possible for the massive challenge ahead. More on Friday with the Madrid-Barça preview.

Shakhtar: Pyatov; Kobin, Ishchenko, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk; Hübschman (Fernandinho m75), Mkhitaryan; Douglas Costa (Eduardo m58), Jadson, Willian; Luiz Adriano (Moreno m66)

Barça: Valdés 7.5; Alves6.5, Mascherano 7.5, Piqué 7 (Milito m70, 5.5), Adriano 6; Xavi 6 (Pedro m66, 6), Busquets 6.5, Keita 6; Messi 8, Villa 5.5 (Jeffren m75, 6), Afellay 6.

Goal: m43 Messi 0-1.

Yellow cards: m56 Mkhitaryan, m60 Ishchenko, m71 Milito

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7 Responses to Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Barça 1 (Barça win 6-1 on aggregate)

  1. Caleb says:

    Valdés put in another great performance. He really has great concentration. Definitely a good result for the team, considering it’s nearly impossible to beat Shakhtar at home and we did it in a game that we didn’t need to win.

  2. layibiyi says:

    Congrats to all barca fans out there for another semi-final appearance….we are just totally spoilt nowadays.

    Its a credit to our team that one is usually left with few words to criticize after most of our matches which end in victories and are classified as ‘normal’. These wins are not normal for other teams. No team has ever won at the dombass arena and we won when we didnt need to, when our away knockout record has been questioned. I can praise the team enough.

    However, i will give valdes 8, adriano 6.5 ad afellay 7 at least. He had a really good game

    milito, milito….first real action was almost a red card. i wish we had something like the english reserves league so he can get more match practice(which i think he really needs), he’s just totally out of sync now. its a pity, his experience could have counted for something at this stage of the season

  3. bc9jaCulé says:

    I really had an ample dose of my Barça fix from our display tonight. The game was well– balanced and enough respect to Shakhtar for showcasin’ their mettle once again.

    Valdes was just awesome and Masch didn’t do bad either — pairin’ with Piqué @ CB. Afellay was also a constant threat on the left flank and was denied a beautiful goal only by Pyatov’s (SD’s ‘keeper) sheer brilliance. In fact, the whole FCB team were excellent save for Villa’s seemingly overstretched goal famine. And Messi set another record of total goals scored in a single season in all competitions — surpassin’ his and Ronaldo’s personal best of 47 — by a Barça player and with a handful of matches still hangin’ in the balance. SIMPLY PHENOMENAL!!!

    Here’s to hopin’ we dent Madrid’s confidence and morale in the forthcomin’ weekend classico fixture prior to the copa and potential CL classicos (and by dent, I mean another MANITA or @ least a 2–goal margin win).

    Let the classicos begin!!!

    By the way, what’s the highest total of goals scored in a single season in all competitions by a Laliga player?!

    Visca Barça!!!
    Força Barça!!!

  4. FCB-Parbo says:

    We couldn’t asked more from this team. With injuries and all that, it’s amazing. Congrats to all of you. Wow, Valdes is superb these days. After some goalless games, Messi’s machine is running at high spead again and so more before el classico’s. RM will be very dissapointing in this matter. Villa is so way out of form, but like the last el classico I hope he fines his scoringboots again. “Coz we need him. Masch has played very well in the last games and he is doing great things for the team. Ah, Milito what can I say.

    With el classico in mind, I’m a little worry with our defense, they are so slow. But I’m sure that the whole team will help eachother to give RM a spanking at their own home. And we have Valdes to save us.

    BIG UP BARCA!!!!!

  5. Lee says:

    What happened to Bojan that he’s out for the season? Poor kid nothing goes right for him. He needs to move on, I think.

  6. Caleb says:

    I don’t think I’ve quite got my head around us playing Real 4 times in short succession. It’s slightly insane.

  7. FCB-Parbo says:

    I’m still dizzy about that fact. Mou will surely sent his boys to intentionally harm our guys. Before we had played eatchother, RM was a goalscoring machine and they had not lost a game. Then Barca came along and they had vanished them like they hadn’t even existed. But back then we had our strong defense in line. Mou & CR with their bla bla bla and all that and we showed them how football has to be played

    And now it’s no different, they begin to bla bla bla again. It will never stop. But our guys will show them again, especially now that Messi is on again. Go Messi for your 50th goal, that would be an awesome history!!!!

    Visca Barça!!!
    Força Barça!!!

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