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FC Barcelona vs Malaga CF, 2-2

2013-01-16_BARCELONA-MALAGA_26-Optimized.v1358378367


It was like seeing two completely different teams from Sunday's La Liga match...

...which isn't far from the truth, considering that only three starting players from Barcelona and four from Malaga were the same.

The last-minute consolation goalscorers over the weekend, Malaga opened the scoring at the Camp Nou today after starter Alexis Sanchez completely flubbed a lovely would-be assist from Cristian Tello and then received a yellow card for diving blatantly in the box, and Leo Messi also missed a good opportunity in front of goal. Barcelona Copa keeper Pinto had distributed the ball too slowly to Thiago Alcantara, who was standing right in front of the box and failed to see the Malaga player dashing up behind him. Iturra stole the ball as it lingered at Thiago's feet and lobbed it right past Pinto for the first goal. 0-1.

2013-01-16_BARCELONA-MALAGA_15.v1358376258

However, as we all know, nothing gets otherwise mild-mannered Messi's blood up like being down a goal. In a matter of minutes, he had dribbled the ball from his own half into the right side of the opposition's box, sent his marker sprawling, and slammed the ball past Malaga's keeper into the net. 1-1. Not to be outdone, two minutes after that, Thiago launched a corner kick within reach of Carles Puyol, whose flawless curls sent the ball across the goal and into the net. It was an incredible header; the Barcelona captain was facing his own side and didn't even seem to look as he knocked the ball backward. 2-1.

PuyihuggingLeo

Unfortunately, that was the last bit of good news for Barcelona. Messi was (correctly) called offside and earned himself a yellow card by complaining to the ref. Alexis choked again when offered an assist from Adriano with a clear shot on goal. And just before the half ended, Messi broke away, but the keeper beat him to the ball.



In the second half, Malaga stepped up their game, while Barcelona seemed sluggish in front and panicky in the back. Iniesta was caught offside. Alexis missed another clear opportunity, and when Pedro replaced him, his greatest contribution was to get a Malaga defender expelled by going down on his way to the goal. Cesc and Xavi came on for Tello and Thiago but couldn't make the necessary difference. Even with ten men, Malaga seemed more dangerous and kept Puyol and Mascherano very busy at the back. Pinto's luck held out for a while, and he made a couple of excellent saves, but at the very end of regular time, Camacho escaped his marker and got the ball past Pinto to level the score. The match ended 2-2, meaning that Barcelona must win next week's return leg at the Mestalla or be eliminated from the tournament.

And on an almost totally unrelated note, Gerard Pique wants us to know that, despite sitting out this match, he has not been idle:

BAvZ6GPCQAEeXFS


Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
elizaberglund
Jan. 17th, 2013 01:18 pm (UTC)
I felt bad for Thiago, overally he had a greta match and assisted Puyi golazo. he made a mistake but he is young and has to learn.

Alexis was dramaticly bad yesterday and it also wasn't Iniesta best performace ... just like Masche. Both him and Montoya were far from great but Masche unfortunatly stood out. Puyi played at all positions and run like madman and this cabezado scored with the back of his head ... he looked so happy

Leo obviously man of the match!
flywoman
Jan. 17th, 2013 01:30 pm (UTC)
I thought that Thiago had a good match otherwise, he almost got a goal early on with that chip and also assisted Puyol. But hesitating with the ball right in front of your own goal is a rookie mistake. He has been trained to get rid of the ball immediately and Masche was open. I was very surprised that he let that happen.

Alexis... what is there to say. I like the kid a lot, but when he's got the ball in front of goal, he either dives or chokes, and both were even more obvious than usual yesterday :(.

Puyol was man of the match for me! Incredible header and tons of work in both halves.
elizaberglund
Jan. 17th, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yes, Thiago was really good save for this one mistake.

I feel sorry for Alexis really. He is such a sweet boy ... but he is in really poor form this season.

I was not sure about who was MOTM - Puyi or Leo and did not wnat to be too fangirlish ;) ... Carles was really working hard yesterday. I'm sure he won't play this weekend.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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