5 – 1
Barcelona vs Shakhtar
Again, another amazing attacking football from Barca. It was an example of Barca’s tiki-taka style of play that is just entertaining to watch. Imagine, Barca had 671 passes completed compared to Shakhtar’s 286. I love their quick one-two passes, building up the play, the ball zigzagging within Messi, David Villa, Iniesta and Alves, and out of nowhere a shot (mostly) on target surprising Shakhtar’s goalie and defence.
The first goal was a pass from Messi to David Villa where there was some sort of deflection and Iniesta was just in the right spot to beat the goalkeeper. Second goal was a long pass from Iniesta and Alves, out of nowhere, slotted the ball in. I think Shakhtar’s defense was caught flat footed. I mean, who was marking Alves? Third goal was from set play corner. Alves providing the cross and the player marking Pique didn’t notice him slip away and make the shot. Fourth goal was right after Shakhtar scored their only goal (from a free kick) where Barca countered right away (probably within a minute after). It was Keita scoring from “a beautiful pass” (according to the commentator) from Messi. And just when you thought Barca was finished with their attack, an unmarked Xavi converted the excellent cross from Alves to score the last goal of the match.
Shakhtar had some quick-counter attack moves, where Barca’s defense was caught off guard a couple of times. They infiltrated the holes of Barca defense, capitalizing on the defensive mistakes of Barca. Good thing they had some “awful finishing” (according tot the commentator) sometimes firing the shots too wide or hitting the post. There were also great saves by Valdez. In those instances, you would really feel the absence of Puyol and Abidal at the back.
Messi might not have scored in this match but he did make his presence felt. He had some pretty close chances with his shots. But more than anything, he has set up some of Barca’s goals and attempts, so his attacking creativity is not just for finding the back of the net but for creating chances for the team as well. Can I say he can be a good playmaker as well? Football experts out there, please enlighten me J
On a different note, Srna (I think) asked for Messi’s jersey during end of the 1st half. I could just imagine that there are probably many players who ask for his jersey during games. Messi must, like, stock lots of jerseys in their dressing room. Does it happen where he’d run out of jerseys to give? Is there, like, a record for the most jerseys requested from a player? What does Messi do with all the jerseys he received? What do other players do with the jerseys they swapped from other teams? Do they hang it somewhere? Frame it?
*sigh* If I only lived in Europe, I’d be stalking my favourite players, and ask for autographed jerseys from them J
Here are numbers:
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
2nd minute – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
34th minute – Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
53rd minute – Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
60th minute – Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar)
61st minute – Seydou Keita (Barcelona)
86th minute – Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)
Razvan Rat (Shakhtar)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar)
Great articles on the match here:
Guardiola: We are not thinking about Real Madrid yet (very humble, coming from a coach whose team won big, this is why I like him better the “special one”)
Barcelona’s Gerard Pique looking ahead to Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid after Shakhtar mauling