Victoria (0ntheverge) wrote in _fcbarcelona_,

match report

(source) Barcelona's hopes of reclaiming the Primera Liga title survived intact despite a nervy showing in their 1-0 victory at Valladolid.

Barca had plenty of chances to kill the game off but lacked precision in the final third, with Xavi and Andres Iniesta both failing to score despite a handful of chances.

Striker Samuel Eto'o was more successful, starting and then sublimely finishing the game's only goal after 40 minutes.

The pressure was on Eto'o to deliver with Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry both rested after the international break and fellow attackers Bojan Krkic and Eidur Gudjohnsen also on a star-studded substitutes' bench.

Barcelona started positively and Rodriguez Pedrito, Xavi and Iniesta all drew Andres Sergio Asenjo into action, with a flurry of shots all testing the home goalkeeper.

He stood up well to the examination, though, and Valladolid battled their way back into contention as the play become more fractured in the middle of the park.

With 23 minutes gone Iniesta produced a piece of magic to set up Eto'o, effortlessly lofting a chipped through ball into the penalty area with the outside of his boot.

The Cameroon forward was first to the ball and although his touch was heading goalwards Asenjo had narrowed the angle sufficiently to smother the danger.

With half an hour on the clock Iniesta drew a foul from Alberto Marcos, earning his side a free-kick from an inviting position.

Xavi stepped up to take it but Valladolid did well to clear his curling delivery at the far post.

By now Pep Guardiola's side were starting to move through the gears and Eto'o again teed up a scoring chance when he flicked the ball nonchalantly past his marker and broke free to the byline.

From there he cut the ball to Xavi on the edge of the area, but with the whole goal visible the Spain international blasted high into the stands.

Eto'o was more clinical five minutes before the interval.

He took the ball forward from a deep position, laid it off to Xavi and, when he received the neat return pass, chipped wonderfully into the open net.

Iniesta almost made it two moments later but his curling effort was punched clear by Asenjo at full stretch.

Pedrito, willing but uninspired in place of Messi, had the first chance of the second half but got the ball lost under his feet and allowed Valladolid time to regroup and clear.

Substitute Damian Escudero tried gamely to get his side back into things with a bold run into the Barca box but there was nothing at the end of it.

The hosts continued to work hard, though, and Henok Goitom was lurking dangerously at the far post, where he would surely have headed a home a deep cross from the right had Daniel Alves not tracked back to head over the crossbar.

It was starting to get a little nervy for the visitors and, with 15 minutes remaining, Iniesta again failed to convert after impressing in the approach.

He stole possession after some ponderous defending, skipped into the area at pace but, with the goalkeeper charging him down, sent his shot wide of the post.

There were two further dramatic moments in the final 10 minutes, with a lack of communication between Victor Valdes and his defence almost playing Bartholomew Ogbeche in, and a muted penalty appeal from the same player in injury time turned down.

Post-match Comments;

Pep: "We responded as a team," "I am very proud of my players."

"These gestures of celebration show that every player out there knew how important this victory was. They have all given everything and that is all we can ask of them. We need these three very important points to recover our form and after ten days break the win reinforces the morale".

[About Valladolid] "I would like to congratulate them for their courage, their boldness and to say that is how teams should play and it made things difficult for us."

[About Pedro] "He knows how to play on the wing very well.""The wide pitch was good for us and I may have not used him much, but I am calm when he plays. I am very pleased with his performance".

[About Champions League] "Now we will have some rest and then prepare for the next game,"

"On Wednesday there should not be an empty seat in the house... We hope that the supporters will come to the stadium to help us. We need them more than ever."

Eto'o: "It was quite difficult to rediscover the dynamics of the league as many of us were coming back from World Cup Qualifying and friendly games, but we won in the end. There is no pain or exhaustion."

"We fought for every ball and played as a team."

"Xavi put the ball in behind the defence and I have scored. I had just won the ball back after losing it and Xavi then gave me a great pass. That is his quality as any other player could not have done the same thing. The goals are from the whole team. Today we showed that we work together and that is why we won. I do not feel any pain and do not think that anyone is suffering after the international games so we have to keep working hard and pushing on."

"There is no pressure. While we win we do not feel it because it is then up to the other teams. The title is still some way off and we have to go from game-to-game, but the best thing is that each time there is one game less and we know that if we want to take the title off Madrid then we have to keep winning."

Pedro: "We are very happy with the win because we knew it would be difficult and it is an important victory. The win has given everyone a boost."

"The coach chose me after calling me into the squad. That is great."

"This win will give us a lot of confidence and we went into it feeling a bit tired, but with the three points the morale is back up."

"To play for Barça Atlètic and the first team is not easy, but I have to be prepared for the two of them."

Alves: "I was in good condition having played for Brazil and I was happy and had a desire to play again and to help the team."

"The truth is that it was a bit strange to be a substitute, which I do not like."

"I am fine physically. I have played a few minutes and will now prepare for Wednesday."

"We know that there are two very important months left where we will play the best teams and we have to be prepared.

Sylvinho: "The fact that we have not scored a free-kick this season is not causing any concern and I ma just pleased with our performance."

Busquets: "From the start they were pushing up, but we played well. In the second half we improved. The other team was not as strong physically and we were able to win."

"They were a bit more tired than us and we took advantage of that."

"Not many teams have won there because it is a difficult place to do so and I think we have done very well."

"The pitch was a bit slow and slippery."

"Every game until the end of the season will be exciting. On Monday we will start to prepare for the game against Bayern and hope everything goes well."

Pep doesn't approve of hotlinking.





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Puyol and Etoo








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Tags: la liga, match report: 2008/09, picspam, post-match comments, videos

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