Uefa Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg: Barça 1 Madrid 1 (Barça win 3-1 on aggregate)

A one all draw tonight was enough to see Football Club Barcelona reach the final of the Uefa Champions League where we will meet the winner from Manchester United and Schalke 04 at Wembley on May 28. The two goal lead from the first leg in Madrid proved to be too much for our opponents to recover. Pedro Rodriguez turned our advantage to three goals early in the second half when he converted from Andres Iniesta’s through ball, and although Madrid pulled a goal back through Marcelo in the 64th minute the final outcome never really looked in danger.

There was a pretty big storm in Barcelona before the game which meant the pitch was generally pretty fast though in the first half there was a little bit of surface water that made play more difficult. Mourinho was of course banned and he stayed in the hotel and didn’t even accompany the team to the stadium but Madrid began with a more attacking 4-2-3-1 with Kaká and Higuaín back in the team and early on it looked like we would see a more open game.

Madrid definitely pressed further forward than in the 1st leg but neither side was taking big risks. After an initial period of very high pressure from Madrid the game settled down to the familiar pattern of Barça bossing the midfield and possession. As we took control we also started to see some late challenges from Madrid and Carvalho was booked after 13 minutes for bringing Messi down. Carvalho protested that it was his first foul but he then went on to commit at least four more fouls, two of which on Messi in the first half might well have been worthy of a second but the referee was very lenient. The first chance came for Barça after Messi’s persistance had won a corner, Xavi crossed in for Busquets whose header went straight at Casillas.

Madrid had very little going forward as Piqué, Mascherano and Puyol were superb in defensive duties, then as the game entered the last 15 minutes of the first half Barça suddenly put together a string of chances. First in the 32nd minute Messi cut across the edge of the area before shooting low but Casillas got down well. Then Messi had an effort wide and then he turned provider setting up Villa but Casillas made an excellent one handed save diving to his left. We were rampant now, Villa forced a way through to create a shooting opportunity for Pedro but the shot from 25 yards went wide. And then in the 36th minute Messi again forced Casillas into making another very good save.

Madrid began the second half with probably their best spell. Higuaín had a goal disallowed after a foul was called against Ronaldo. Madrid will feel hard done by for this as Ronaldo brought down Mascherano as a result of the fact he was falling after making contact with Piqué. Madrid can talk about conspiracies and they may have been a little unfortunate here but I think they need to accept some decisions go against you. However, Madrid coming out to look for a goal meant they were more vulnerable and Barça took advantage in the 54th minute when Iniesta threaded a ball through to Pedro who controlled the ball before sweeping it left footed past Casillas.

Madrid immediately brought on Adebayor for Higuaín and the big striker immediately set about intimidating our players with a series of fouls, and Ozil also came on for the disappointing Kaká. We were looking comfortable again but a moment of over-confidence led to a poor pass from Villa to Xavi, Xabi Alonso intercepted, the ball came to Di Maria whose shot smacked against the post, Di Maria was onto the rebound and he squared for Marcelo to fire past Valdés. The Madrid goal did indeed lead to a few nervy minutes and the unthinkable began to look possible but Madrid created no more chances and within ten minutes of the equalizer we were completely controlling the game again. More Madrid players went into the book as they chased us around and Alonso, Lass, Adebayor and Carvalho all flirted with the red card which would no doubt have made their coach feel better with his conspiracy theories.

I have to say I am quite pleased it ended 1-1 tonight as Mourinho will no doubt be cursing even more the decisions he feels prevented Madrid from getting the “desired” 0-0 score in the first leg. Well who knows what might have happened if the first game had ended like that, but it didn’t and the football gods were not with Madrid or Mourinho this time. We should be proud of all our players and Pep Guardiola for another magnificent season that looks like ending with another Liga and another CL final. To cap a great night Eric Abidal reappeared for the last few minutes to a tremendous ovation. It looks like we might have some competition for defensive places given the excellent form of Mascherano. We’ll have to see how Abidal is over the next couple of weeks but I would dearly love to see him play at Wembley after missing out on the Rome final due to suspension.

Barça: Valdés 7; Alves 6.5,  Mascherano 8, Piqué 8.5, Puyol 8 Abidal m90); Xavi 7.5, Busquets 6.5, Iniesta 7.5; Pedro 7.5 (Afellay m92), Messi 9, Villa 7 (Keita m74, 6.5).

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Albiol, Carvalho, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Lass; Di María, Kaká (Ozil m60), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Adebayor m55).

Goals: m54 Pedro 1-0, m64 Marcelo 1-1.

Yellow cards: m13 Carvalho, m58 Lass, m69 Alonso, m75 Marcelo, m82 Pedro, m85 Adebayor.

Attendance: 95,701

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16 Responses to Uefa Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg: Barça 1 Madrid 1 (Barça win 3-1 on aggregate)

  1. wikd14 says:

    I want to congratulate the whole team, Pep and all Cules for a 2nd CL Final under Pep’s management. Also, on Abidal’s recovery hopefully he will be fit for the final which I really doubt.

    My predictions of the 4 encounters were 1 loss 1 draw 2 wins; guess I was close :p
    We proved again for the whole world who has the upper hand in Spanish football.
    They just spent around 1 billion dollars and all they were able to do was win 1 match in 5 classicos and 1 trophy.
    Probably, we will be facing Manchester United and they won’t as in 2009 final or form. Although, they looked more dangerous back then; however, we might face Fletcher in this final. Let’s leave speculations for later let’s enjoy our triumph over Madrid 😀

    Congratulation all 😀

  2. barcacentralnic says:

    A couple more things. Madrid will try to take some credit for getting a draw here but it should be pointed out that the foul count tonight was Barça 10 Real Madrid 31 which demonstrates a massive difference between the two teams. Mourinho asked Why? Why? Why? do his teams always end up with ten, maybe this statistic helps to explain things a bit.

    The other thing is I’d like to ask you all who do you think should start in defence at Wembley. If Abidal is ok then I’d love to see him back at left back, and then I think Mascherano has been magnificent since playing at the back and I wouldn’t mind at all if he continued playing there for years, but then of course we’d need to drop Puyol or Piqué which is almost unthinkable. I hope they are all fit and Pep has to deal with a more agreeable headache than when both Puyol and Abidal were out. I think the hierarchy of Puyol and Pique will mean Masch has to start on the bench, unless he’s prefered over Busquets which I also don’t think will happen.

    • Josher says:

      With Abidal Puyol Pique Alves healthy in the back, and busquets in the defensive midfielder role, mascherano will start on the bench. you have to remember though Puyol is 33 and I’m sad to say I really think he’ll start to decline in playing time this next year coming up. Mascherano will continue to cycle around the cb or dmf positions as needed, he’s doing great; there are plenty of meaningful games to go around (la liga, copa del rey, champions).

  3. Fredegar says:

    Well, I must say I feel a bit exhausted after tonight, and maybe a bit sad. This could have been a festival of football, and we’re left with all this anger, all these accusations, all of this for nothing, just to learn what we already knew: Barça is the best side of the two. And that’s a really comforting thought!
    To be delighted for Pep helps a lot too, he really deserves it, he was brave, he was smart, he won this tie when everybody just talked about Mourinho, under a lot of pressure he proved that he is the better coach. I have a lot of pride that my preffered team is coached by such a great person.

    I HAVE TO mention Iniesta’s pass, what a beauty!

    And to answer you Nic, for me there’s no question: if possible we must go for our Abidal-Piqué-Puyol-Alves line up, it’s incredibly good if all players are on song. For all of Masch help and brilliance, I don’t think we would have conceded this goal or risked Higuain’s one if Puyol had played as a centerback. Also, this line up is far more flexible, we can keep it tight with four players at the back as we did tonight and last Wednesday, we can push Alves up front, or Alves and Abidal and retreat Busquets. We are more versatile, tactically more aware, and just have the best players in their best positions. Mascherano has been a fantastic servant and earnt a lot of credit, but if everybody is fit, he is the one who has to start on the bench.

    Well, a lot of time to think about this finale, and that in itself is just pure happiness.

  4. caleb says:

    A great performance from the team. Really good stuff.

    I must give a shout out to Lass, who had a great game (aside from being a bit heavy on the fouling). He put in a great performance and if it weren’t for him I think we might have really opened things up.

    Anyway, another CL final. We really are getting a bit spoiled.

  5. MUYIDEEN ABDULGANIYU says:

    The match was very nice to the extent that Barcelona players didn’t downgraded Real Madrid.They played as to being looking for 3 or more goals.Thanks to Pep encouragement.

  6. FCB-Parbo says:

    When the attendance began to sing El Cant del Barca all together I felt such an emotion of pride over my whole body. Congrats to all fans. It’s fantastic for the whole team. And Pep, oh I love this man and so happy for him. Once again beating Mou and that’s awesome. I’m so much very proud right now.

    We were the superior one and still are. Messi has proven again and again to be the better one over CR. Casillas made so many saves, who knows what the score might have been in the end if we had scored in the first half.

    Anyways congrats everyone and up to the final.

    VISCA EL BARCA!!!
    FORCA EL BARCA!!!

  7. Jfan101 says:

    Nic I think pointing out the statistics of the fouls (10 committed 31 received) says it all. Ricardo Carvalho should have been sent off for his second reckless tackle and adeybayor came into the game not playing futbol but rather to simply foul and rattle the Barcelona players and then last but not least Alonso was walking a tight rope throughout the second half. It seemed lime over the coarse of these 4 classicos whenever Messi would touch the ball you could bet that a Madrid player would follow I by a poor/rough tackle.

    I’m glade this media mess is over I just hope Madrid realizes what Mourhino has done to their club this year he is a habitual line crosser it has reflected over on the club with his wild accusations against The Spanish league and Uefa as well as beating up refs and other teams verbally all throughout this season. I don’t agree with the way our players have responded on the field with the dives and protests to the refs but at the same time when a team goes out to not play but to only fouls I guess it comes down to it is what it is and you got to fight fire w/fire.

    As to the question on how we should go about fielding our defence: I believe Mascherano has earned his spot on many occasions this year and we can thank him for making it to the fianl (his tackle to deny the arsenal game and his ability to read and shut down plays early are superb especially playing out of position) bu when it comes down to we need to go with Alves, pique, puyol, abidal and have mascherano fit and ready on the bench in case any in game injurys occurs plus it’s a great confidence host to see a great backup on the bench.

  8. Jfan101 says:

    Statistic over the 4 matches:

    Passes 2913 (barca) / 820 (Madrid)

    Possesion: 70.5 (barca) / 29.5 (Madrid)

    Shots: 21 (barca) / 16 (Madrid)

    Fouls: 69 (barca – 11y 1r) / 95 (Madrid – 15y 3r)

  9. barcacentralnic says:

    The final result of this season’s 5 clasicos reads

    Barça 9 (Messi 3, Pedro 2, Villa 2, Xavi, Jeffren)
    Madrid 3 (Ronaldo 2, Marcelo)

  10. wikd14 says:

    What a disappointing game from Schalke 04 which Manchester United almost made it a 04 :p

    At least put a fight to increase your fame in European football.

    I never expected them to do wonders but not to get slaughtered like a defenseless sheep in a slaughterhouse.

    I believe this Manchester is more compound as an all-over team than in 2009 final but we need to trust in our principles, team and in Pep!

    Visca El Barca

  11. Lee says:

    I thought three points about Mourinho were overlooked by the press in general. 1. Obviously his team is capable of competing in their traditional attacking style against Barca and therefore Jose’s anti-football tactics were unnecessary as well as being disheartening to his players. 2. Mourinho’s decision to leave Ronaldo out of the last league game–ostensibly because CR7 was being punished for criticizing Jose’s tactics–was a devastating mistake in light of Barca loss that week. 3. Ozil starting on the bench in the second CL leg in favor of Kaka was both disloyal and counterproductive and might have cost Real a victory.
    Great coach ever? Hardly.

  12. caleb says:

    Good points, Lee. With number 1, how would it feel to be playing on one of the most talent-soaked, expensive teams ever and have your manager tell you, “We can’t play our attacking game against Barca. We’re not even going to try. I just want you to defend in your half as though your lives depend upon it.” Just telling them they’re not good enough to cut it, pretty much.

  13. FCB-Parbo says:

    It’s so funny to read that SAF will ask Mou for advise to stop Barca. Mou can only advise anti-football and kick the barca players so hard that they cannot get up anymore. Do you think that SAF will let Mou grab the limelight off him, no of course not. Mou is a dirty bastard!!

    It’s funny that English pundits and fans are saying that Messi is not the best, because he has to play in the EPL to be the best. Well, all the discussions right now is about “The plan how they have to stop Messi”. If he isn’t the best then why bother planning to mark him. All and all hypocrites!!

    Visca El BArca!!!!!!!
    Forca El Barca!!!!!!!!

  14. Caleb says:

    It seems that a certain C. Ronaldo did pretty well in the Premiership and since coming to La Liga he hasn’t shown that he can do better than Messi in the same league. Further, the transition to England for many “Spanish” players is not usually difficult. think of Liverpool’s success a few years back, built on a Spanish contingent.

    The Premiership has less flare than Spain in general. Defenders in England often lack the skill to stick with a very technical player an only have physical play to fall back on. If Messi plays there not only does he do well, but he will draw so many fouls that the other team will be lucky not to see a red card every-other game (refs like Messi in general because he often makes a real attempt to stay on his feet).

    • FCB-Parbo says:

      Totally agree what you’re saying. CR thought he could outclassed Messi based on his experience in the EPL, but boy oh boy is he not so wrong! He was (is) arrogant enough to believe that. As for Messi, I think he will win the Fifa golden ball again and be once again the topscorer in CL. Back to back to back, nice huh!! Another record will be broken.

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