Bate Borisov 0 Barça 5

Barça followed on from Saturday night’s 5-0 hammering of Atletico Madrid with a Champions League manita over Belarusian champions FC Bate of Borisov. Two goals around the twentieth minute saw off any resistance from Bate and the game appeared to be a stroll in the park after this. However, it should be said that Barça needed to work very hard to make things look so easy and our constant pressure whenever we lost the ball was key to not allowing the home side a sniff at Victor Valdés’s goal.

The game, played in Dynamo Minsk’s stadium, was Barça’s first ever game in Belarus, making it the 40th country we have visited in European football, and right from the start it was clear that Bate saw their only chance being in getting nine outfield players behind the ball, leaving just Kezman alone to fight a fruitless battle against Puyol and Mascherano. Bate seemed content to close down the channels for passes into the box and to make sure Messi had at least three men to beat if he wanted to try and dribble through. For fifteen minutes we were frustrated by this but the ease with which we were receiving the ball in wide positions, with Abidal and Alves both pushing forward, suggested that sooner or later we would find a way through.

These games are often all about getting the first goal, if you don’t get the break then the weaker defensive team grows in stature as the possibilities of becoming heroes rise. However, tonight we got that little bit of luck early on when Alves’s cross towards Messi at the far post was turned past his own goalkeeper Gutor by the unfortunate Volodko. As so often happens with a goal our opponents lost concentration for a bit and before they knew it Pedro had sneaked in front of Gutor to head home Villa’s excellent chipped cross.

After this is must be said that the game was always completely in our control. Bate continued to get nine back behind the ball when we had possession but besides not defending the wings very well they failed to put us under much pressure when we had the ball prefering to stand off and wait. Of course this just meant we passed the ball around quite happily. Whenever we happened to lose the ball usually due to over-confidence, our players were quick to fight to regain possession. I was particurlarly impressed with Mascherano tonight who showed excellent anticipation in not allowing opponents a moment on the ball. Victor Valdés hardly had a touch which perhaps was the reason for one dash out of goal which he might have left to his defence. The moment led to our one lack of concentration at the back but Puyol was on hand to make a good saving tackle on Volodko.

Our dominance led to a third goal before the break but we had to be thankful for another gift. Pedro did well to get past the left back but his cross was too close to Gutor, fortunately for us the goalkeeper only parried the ball allowing it to bounce in front off him and before he could collect the ball in his hands Messi had nipped in cheekily to head the ball over the line.

The second half was just a case of how many more goals we could score and to be quite honest I was not too impressed with some of our shooting. However, in the 55th minute Messi put Alves into the area, Alves held the ball up before finding Messi with the return and Messi fired in an absolute belter of a shot from 15 yards that was well worthy of being the goal that equals Barça legend Ladislao Kubala on 194 goals for the club. Messi then demonstrated his passing ability with a splendid pass through for Abidal who unfortunately couldn’t beat the keeper. Cesc, Adriano and Maxwell came on but the pattern of the game remained much the same though the spaces in Bate’s defence seemed to be getting bigger as both teams dropped the pace. Near the end the Bate defence gave the ball straight to Thiago who set up David Villa for a deserved goal.

All in all a very solid performance from the team. It was interesting to see Xavi given the “Busquets” position with Keita playing in his more natural left sided midfield position, though I will not tire of repeating that I am happiest when Busquets takes the role in front of the defence. It may be fair to say that Bate did not have their best day and their tactics were pretty poor. however, it is surely a very good sign if the opposition so often claims to have not played to their best as this demonstrates that it may just be that it is because we do not allow teams to play well against us.

We have had a few ups and downs already this season but it is pretty exciting stuff and we are scoring an enormous amount of goals. It shgould be pointed out that supporting Barça is not always like this, so you had better make sure that you enjoy it while it lasts.

Barça: Valdés 6; Alves 7, Mascherano 8, Puyol 7, Abidal 6.5 (Adriano m61, 6.5); Thiago 7, Xavi 7 (Fabregas m59, 7), Keita 6.5; Pedro 6.5 (Maxwell m69, 6), Messi 8, Villa 7.

Goals: m19 Volodko o.g. 0-1, m22 Pedro 0-2, m38 Messi 0-3, m55 Messi 0-4, m90 Villa 0-5.

Barça yellow card: m77 Alves

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13 Responses to Bate Borisov 0 Barça 5

  1. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    Pretty good victory for us tonight. Great writeup tooo. All players had a good game indeed though it must be said that a chunky element of luck was on our side for three of the goals last night.

    Also, this is David Villa 2nd good game in a row for Barcelona. His involvement in the overall game is improving. The assist for Pedro’s goal was a thing of beauty. I’m still awaiting his long delayed hattrick thou =D

  2. layibiyi says:

    nice review…

    nic, please don’t scare us with the threat of bad times….. 🙂

    • barcacentralnic says:

      Hi Layi, I’m not too worried now about “bad times” – though when they come they may be very bad – , just trying to point out that it is not normal to have three 5-0s and an 8-0 before the end of September. However, it is vital that we don’t get too over-confident. As long as Guardiola is coach I’m sure the team will continue in the same line. It is not easy keeping so many stars happy when they can’t all play always (anybody think there’s a chance of Carlos Tevez coming to Barça?), and Pep is doing a magnificent job in that respect. Nevertheless, I think it is better to realise that these things don’t go on for ever so it is important to appreciate the good times!.

  3. Fredegar says:

    Loved your last line 😉

    Good game. Very offensive from Guardiola, just keeping Kezman between Masch and Puyol, with Xavi as the defensive mid and the two full backs so high on the pitch. Generally you see Alves (mostly) OR Abidal getting up, but in this game most of the time they were both giving options on the flanks.
    I believe Pep chose his formation accordingly to his opponent (there’s no use having three center backs if the adverse team will always have only one man in attack, thanks Zonal Marking!), but it must be said the 4-3-3 allows Villa and Pedro to play their preffered positions. With three at the back, firstly there’s a good chance that only one of the two will be on the pitch, and then this one will have to provide width and stick to the line. With both full backs providing the width, they are allowed to cut inside, which suits them best.
    It must be said it was a pretty poor opposition (how can you defend with 9 men in the box and allow Pedro AND Messi to score headers???), but still a second “Manita” in the space of four days, it’s incredible. Are we on for the same kind of run we had last autumn?
    Stand out points for me were the pass from Villa (a thing of beauty) and the second from Messi: he’s standing there alone between something like eight yellow shirts, and he pulls this goal out, incredible.
    And just a word about Valencia, I switched on their game for the last thirty mins (shame on me, I know) and they gave Chelsea something to think about and got a deserved equaliser. They really are an exciting team and I wish them the best for the rest of the season.

    • barcacentralnic says:

      I may be an old fogey but I do think for youngsters who are just discovering Barça it will be difficult to accept an inferior team in the future and that puts a hell of a. lot of pressure on future players.
      And thanks for reminding me to check out Zonal marking, I’ve been away for a week and not checked them out since getting back

      • Fredegar says:

        Yeah of course, having started to support Barça at the end of the 90’s, I thought I was in Heaven in 2006, and then Pep arrived… But sure, if you became a fan in 2008, you will probably get very disappointed when the bad times will come, but let’s all say that won’t happen before something like 2019, right?

  4. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    Tevez for Barcelona. Good fit…,,,,should we call Messi and see what he thinks? what your toughts ppl. I strangely love this guy !!! What he did was wrong but i won’t blame him entirely. Mancini is a joker =D

  5. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    who knows we could possibly get him for FREEEEE …hahhahha agree? or disagree ppl? Tevez for our supersub? =D Sounds madness in a way or two actually =D

  6. lee says:

    Tevez at Barca? Hmm, be careful what you wish for. Seems to me he’d fit in much better at Real. He seems the opposite of what Pep looks for in a player, though I will admit when he actually gets on the pitch Tevez give 110%.

  7. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    True that, Lee !!! Tevez is a great player, but im not sure Pep might wanna handle this extra headache especially in positions that we have pretty much loads of talent/stars. Tevez is surely quite a character but maybe not worth the bargain??

    The big question is, what if he was offered to us for freeee? Should we still say no? hahahhahha tough call man !

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