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FC Barcelona vs Malaga CF, 4-2

sp-940-messi-8col


FC Barcelona arrived in Malaga after drawing 2-2 in the first leg at home, and this Copa del Rey quarterfinal was a real nail-biter almost all the way through. It didn't help that there was clearly something wrong with traction on the pitch; players of both teams kept slipping and sliding, sometimes making it hard to tell when the rules of good sportsmanship were being bent.

Pedro Rodriguez managed to score an amazing header in the first ten minutes, assisted by Dani Alves (who was lucky not to be called offside). But shortly afterwards, the tables were turned when Joaquin took advantage of a fast break to slot the ball past Pinto, just inside the post. The rest of the first half continued to be played at high intensity, with three yellow cards awarded to each team and a series of heartbreaking combinations by Barcelona that were smothered by the Malaga keeper or flubbed on the final touch.

Just three minutes into the second half, defender Gerard Pique surged up front, controlled a pass from Andres Iniesta, and struck home. This was his first goal dedicated to son Milan, born on Tuesday to Colombian pop star Shakira. More confident now, Barcelona took control of the match and put on a show... only to have the match tied twenty minutes later when Santa Cruz scored off another successful counterattack.

GoalForMilan

My heart. Fortunately, by this point Malaga were starting to bring substitutes on for their tired players, while Barcelona were still as sharp as ever. One of our breathtaking combinations finally bore fruit when Iniesta ended a lovely series of one-twos with Cesc Fabregas by slotting a hard ball home. And less than five minutes later, Leo Messi finally got the goal he'd been after all evening: his first header had failed, but this one, assisted beautifully by Dani Alves, found the net. This makes the fifteenth consecutive match in which Messi has scored this season. To everyone's surprise, Messi was subbed off shortly afterwards in favor of Thiago, with Alexis coming on for Pedro and Adriano for Jordi Alba in the dying minutes of the match. Alexis didn't score, but he didn't dive either; he looked fast and dangerous and almost had an assist.

012413-Soccer-Triumphant-PI-AA_20130124180817161_660_320

Next week will feature the first leg of the Copa semifinal against Real Madrid, who have had some bad luck recently - Pepe is still out following ankle surgery, and it was reported today that international star keeper and team captain Iker Casillas has a broken metacarpal after being kicked in the hand by Alvaro Arbeloa during yesterday's Copa match against Valencia. Not to mention that club president Florentino Perez felt compelled to publicly deny rumors that Casillas and his vice captain Sergio Ramos gave him an ultimatum: Mou or us. ETA: Sergio Ramos is still serving out his five match ban, and both Angel diMaria and Fabio Coentrao are suspended for the first leg after being ejected from their most recent Copa match against Valencia.

But time enough to think about that. Xavi Hernandez has gotten another Copa semifinal for his birthday, and Masche has been kind enough to give all of us a gift, too:

XaviYMasche


Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
elizaberglund
Jan. 25th, 2013 10:22 am (UTC)
Oh Clasicos! How we missed thee! ... 3 in row!
flywoman
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:03 pm (UTC)
We play Osasuna on Sunday and then RM on Wednesday... three matches in 7 days in January, me no like!
elizaberglund
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:25 pm (UTC)
so we have our nightmerish team from last plus 3 Clasicos in row! Amasing! Didn't they decide to have Liga clasico early to avoid eventual cumulation of those later in the season? ... well, that worked well!
flywoman
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, the return leg is at the end of February followed by the Liga clasico at the beginning of March. We both have plenty of matches before those.
elizaberglund
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
monet ... so we don't have semis next two weeks AND Liga next weekend? ... I must have mixed thing up than!
flywoman
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
That was what I originally thought too - why would the semi legs be so far apart? - but my information is from the official Barcelona website calendar: http://www.fcbarcelona.es/futbol/primer-equipo/calendario
elizaberglund
Jan. 25th, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
I guess tehy know the best ... ayayayayaya difficoult games ahead of us!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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