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match report: sporting de "hee-haw"

Images: AP, Getty/AFP, Reuters, EFE
Match report: Yahoo!Eurosport and ESPN
Gifs: c0rrine

(source) Barcelona began their quest for a second successive league title under Pep Guardiola with a routine 3-0 win over Sporting Gijon in the first round of Primera Liga action at the Nou Camp.

First-half goals from Bojan Krkic and Seydou Keita set an under-strength Catalan side on their way and summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed his first for the club late on as Guardiola's side strolled to a comfortable victory.

Pedro was rewarded for his winning goal in the UEFA Super Cup win over Shakhtar Donetsk last week with a place in the starting XI, replacing Lionel Messi who is on international duty with in Argentina.

Keita, Bojan and Maxwell all started in a new-look Barcelona side, as Thierry Henry and Yaya Toure were left on the bench and Rafa Marquez and Andres Iniesta - on their way back from injury - watched on from the stands, along with new signing Dmitro Chygrynsky.

Barca dominated from the outset and Ibrahimovic showed some neat touches early on. The first real chance of note fell to the former Inter Milan forward, but he dragged a poor effort across the box from a good position after just four minutes.

Sporting came into this game with five players missing through injury and coach Manuel Preciado opted to field all five summer signings from the start.

The northerners began well and Diego Castro should have given them the lead after 10 minutes when he poked his shot harmlessly over the bar with only Victor Valdes to beat.

Seven minutes later, Barca were ahead. Keita cleverly flicked on Xavi's corner with his head and Bojan was on hand to apply the finishing touch with a diving header at the back post.

Maxwell's suicidal back pass almost set up David Barral for an equaliser after 32 minutes, but Valdes was alert to the danger. Ibrahimovic then cut the ball back in the area brilliantly after 40 minutes, but his weak shot was easily saved by Sporting keeper Juan Pablo Colinas at the near post.

Two minutes later, Bojan went on a mesmerising run and was allowed to shoot by a Sporting defence expecting the killer pass to a team-mate. His effort was eventually deflected wide and from the resulting corner, Barcelona went two up.

This time it was taken short to Dani Alves, who whipped in a pinpoint cross towards the far post where three Barca players were queuing up to apply the finish. The first in line was Keita, who crashed an unstoppable header past Juan Pablo to give Barca a two-goal lead at the break.

Bojan almost put the Catalans three up not long after the break, but Sporting kept fighting and came close through Mate Bilic and Barral midway through the second period. Bojan then had another chance straight after that and Ibrahimovic saw a header saved by Juan Pablo with 15 minutes left.

It was proving something of a frustrating evening for the Swede, but he finally got his reward eight minutes from time when he was left all alone to finish with ease at the back post after Sporting had once again failed to deal with a Barca corner. The Barca striker looked to be in an offside position, but he will hardly care now that he is off the mark for his new club.

Further chances came and went in the closing minutes, but this was still an impressive win for a Barca side with several players in reserve and paying well within themselves.

After one round of fixtures, the Catalans sit joint top alongside Getafe and Malaga, who both won by three-goal margins on Sunday.


» Maxwell injured his left thigh but still has to undergo tests to determine the extent of the injury.

» Bojan also injured his left thigh and will be out for about 15-20 days.


Pep: "The game was played out as predicted after all the efforts of the other day,"

"I cannot take anything away from the team. It makes me happy that we played like this. Effort is all the players can give and again they did that. We can play well or badly, but you have to always give everything."

"I think it would be best if the constant comments about how many trophies the team would win were stopped in order to help the team," he stated. "Do not keep on with this because it does not help. If you want to help stop asking about these things. If we win one trophy more it will be a good season."

"We will work with Bojan because we need him. I have the feeling that he has stepped up. He is intuitive, prepared and has a lot of confidence when he is on the pitch."

"It would be negative if I thought that injuries would cause us problems. We do not have a big squad, but we are united and when someone is injured we must only think about them recovering and to know that there are people that can come in to play."

[on Keita] "He is a player that gives so much and that improves as the game goes on. This year he will play a lot."

[On Ibra] "I am pleased he scored today. He played for 90 minutes and that is also a good sign and now he will continue to work. He is adapting and slowly-but-surely he will find his level."

Zlatan: "The team helped me a lot," he said. "I still do not feel 100 per cent, but I am happy because I have played for 90 minutes and bit-by-bit I am finding my level again."

Alves: "It was very important to win today because all our rivals in the league had already done so."

"Ibra has just arrived and it is important for him to be calm and to know that the goals will come."

"I am sure that if we do things well then we will only have ourselves to worry about."

Xavi: "We came off the back of winning two Super Cups and it was not easy. It was a game that could have caused us problems, but we gave everything we had."

"It was a game that could have caught us out. Sporting play well, but the team has not complicated matters for ourselves."

"In general we played well and played with humility."

"Ibra is a goalscorer and he likes to score. It is his first goal for Barça and we are happy for him because he is doing well."

Piqué: "We have maintained the same routine as last year. The only thing we thought about was winning."

"The set pieces we worked on on the day of the game and they worked. All the work that we did last year and this is building up. At times we need to use set pieces."

"It is normal that the team was a bit tired after the Super Cup, but I thought that we did well and we were quickly able to take control."

"The team played to a great level and I do not think tiredness was a factor."

Keita: "It was difficult playing after Monaco, which was a hard pitch and the game was 120 minutes long."

"We wanted Ibra to score because he needed to. If he can adapt quickly it will be better for the team."

"To play for Barça you need to adapt to the style, but I am delighted with things now."

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José was spying on us. (Emery was as well.)


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I think he needs air.

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Srsly guys.

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Nope, he's ok.


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Zlatan: Help me up.
Gerard: No, stay down... Puyi's coming.

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Zlatan: I'm not used to this kind of celebrating.
Puyi: Shhh, just lay still.

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Zlatan: Oh god help me.

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Zlatan: Is it over?

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There's now an international break which could possible injury even more of our players. Yaaay! =| Well at least some of them have meaning.

Next La Liga match is away against Getafe on the weekend of Sep 12/13.


( 19 comments — Speak )
Sep. 1st, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)

Sep. 1st, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
The "Hee-Haw" thing was really the highlight of my day -- suddenly, my childhood TV watching and my football obsession were colliding!
Sep. 1st, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
LOL at Ibra's first Barca goal and the celebration thereof. XD

And, OMG, Bojan's legs. O_O

Thanks for posting~~~
Sep. 1st, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Zlatan: Help me up.
Gerard: No, stay down... Puyi's coming.

so cute hehe!
Sep. 2nd, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
sergi always wins for fouls drawn haha
Sep. 2nd, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
u know whats weird
tell me if u agree with me
is zlatan like
losing *it*?
and by *it* i mean his usual arrogance or w/e
a lot of people found that annoying, but that's what made him such a great striker
like i know he was on the ground after his header but the team congratulated him like he was a 5 year old taking off his training wheels for the first time
he's just shy right?
because i prefer the other zlatan
i know barca isn't like that but idk i think it'll effect his playing if he doesn't get his attitude back


oh god im ranting

Edited at 2009-09-02 02:47 am (UTC)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
Yea, Zlatan's changed since the day he stepped in Camp Nou, no cocky comments, no psycho smiles, no violent acts, no wrath. But i think he acts like this is simply because he's still adapting to the new environment. (Not wanting to scare his new teammates huh?)

Btw, Zlatan is a shy lad. According to Mia, Zlatan's first girlfriend, the big Swede could sat for a day to look at her in cafe instead of asking for her number when he was young.

And In Leo's online diary, he also mentioned that Zlatan is shy when he's off the pitch, but when Zlatan's on, he was like "another guy".(this entry was written after they hugged, in the match with Bilbao)

Anyway, i think the old cocky Zlatan would be back once he was fully adapted to his new team. (Let's wish Pep won't kick him out when he saw the "real" Zlatan. lol)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
mmhmm, i still sense the same level of timid-ness from his presentation day. he could just be adapting, but this move was different for him. he's usually the star of the team, but this time he's playing with dudes like henry and messi, and it seems like he plays for barca as if it's a privilege for him (i'm sure all new signings and current players feel the same) but he seems more worried about being accepted than maxwell or whonot.

i hope the cocky zlatan will come back too... he needs to get a good goal in a clasico or something to get him started. he better not disappear for those games or i'll kill him lol. but holy shit, when henry scores in a clasico you know he FEELS the barca colours, he gives off the energy of a player who has been with the club for years and years

this is just so ironic because critics say shit about zlatan causing locker room problems, but i don't see that happening anytime soon

where is messi's diary? i know there's a japanese version of his blog somewhere but i've never seen an english or spanish one.
Sep. 2nd, 2009 07:17 am (UTC)
Agreed. He knows he's no longer the king like he was in inter, with all the stars surrounding him, he was so satisfied and therefore, behave to be accepted by all...I think he dunno Spanish is a reason why he's well-behaved too (coz he's unable to blablabla / tell jokes / make funs with his teammates when they are not very close)

and yes, the culture. The barca boys are all sweet natured + hardworking + well behaved, look at messi,iniesta, bojan and pedro... so the bad ass Swede dun want to be excluded by the crowd. lol

As i know, so far his relationship with teammates is okay (in ajax, there're incidents like mido threw him scissors [to his head] and his fight with Van Der Vaart, but he becomes more mature now, at least there're no fighting records with his mates...)

btw, he might play tricks on his mates. There's a funny interview which Adrian Mutu talked about him (they are roommates when they are in Juventus.)

For messi's diary, yes, the Japanese one, but with translating tools, we can still understand what he write (He keeps writing Zlatan in his recent entries as if Zlatan is the little green bean he plants... lmao) i heard news that he soon have a Chinese one, YAY!


Mutu's interview on Zlatan (sry for the bad english, i translate this from my friend's post in rush - -|||)

R = Reporter
AM = Adrian Mutu

R: A Juventus player want to ask you a question. He said, ‘He’s one of the world’s top ten.” Do you know who he is? Oh, maybe he’s in top three…

AM: I dunno.

R: Ibrahimovic.

AM: (laugh) oh, ibra! he’s my roommates for 2 years when i was in Juventus. Can you imagine 2 strikers sharing a room? (laugh) but we are very good friends.

R: How’s he? A funny lad?

AM: Yes, he’s very funny, you would died of laughing when you’re with him, he’s crazy. One night (smile), he was very hungry. There are still 3 hours to be at dawn, he can’t sleep, so he messed with me. The big lad hanged his leg on my chest. I was sleeping, so I asked him “oh, what are you doing? It’s 3am! There’s no space for you to place your leg? Why hang it on my chest?”

And he answered, ‘C’mon, no one see it”

I was bruised coz of his act. The other day in the changing room, he suddenly asked me, “What happened to you? Are you okay?”

I looked at him with shock, of course I knew what happened to me last night, but he’s much well-built then I am, that’s why I decide to keep it to myself at that moment.

The others were puzzled, they looked at each other, I pretended to be knowing nothing about this. Of course I hadn’t told this to the others after, Zlatan is one of my best friends.

He always do these hilarious thing. Some nights after, he did it again, and said, “Like you’ve said before, I haven’t done it!”

If i were Mutu, i would have broke Zlatan's beak. XD
Sep. 2nd, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
right, i totally forgot about the language barrier! but at least zlatan seems to have a good sense for languages, unlike.....*cough*hleb*cough*. he knows italian which can be easily transfered to spanish, and he speaks perfect english which is good enough for him to get by so far. lol hleb's english was never even that good, he's just slow in that area. omg i watched gudjohnsen's presentation video for monaco, and that guy is such a class act. on the pitch, he's not as sharp anymore but, yummmmm he's such a professional, so classy and knows eight languages. do me.

hahahah that interview with mutu is so adorable, thanks for the translation. and i knew how he and vdv didn't get along. i hate him anyway
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Yeah IDK, we'll see.

TBH I think Barça need that arrogance (only from 1 player plz). Especially with Eto'o being gone so I hope he's just playing the shy card for now.

OR maybe he's a changed man. =/
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
ya nice guys never win :P aha we're far too likable right now. gross!!!

i kinda feel like he'll never go back aha, unless he's with his national team or something where the spotlight's on him

idk he's a barca fangirl tho he's so like *_* when he talks about messi it's funny
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
actually alves is pretty arrogant just look at how he celebrates and he's an annoying diver

but no one cares
Sep. 2nd, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
i have more gifs



yes bojan of course you'd be the first to jump on him
Sep. 2nd, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)

iniesta reading the paper lolololol
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
lmao it was before kickoff though

but don't tell anyone, it's funniest thinking it was during the match ahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Sep. 2nd, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
puyi on top of zlatan legit terrifies me and i think they're both hot
Sep. 2nd, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Maxwell's injury turned out to be nothing serious. He returned to training today after being given the green light by Barça's doctors.

( 19 comments — Speak )

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