Part 25 – never give up

April 1, 2010

Sometimes when you’re up against technically superior opposition you have to ride your luck and fight for everything you get. So it was for Barcelona last night in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final. The Catalonians were given a first half lesson in possession by their opponents and must have been pinching themselves to go in at half time with a blank scoreboard.Certainly the half time team talk for the fortunate coach must have written itself. 

Barca were reduced to kicking their opponents and launching long balls forward in an attempt to relieve the relentless pressure on their defence. It is telling not only that they failed to win a corner all night and had a mere 2 shots on target to their opponent’s 14, but that they gave away twice as many free kicks as and were awarded 5 yellow cards, three for very late tackles indeed, committed in turn by the usual suspects.

It was no surprise when Barcelona’s luck ran out at the beginning of the second half, as they conceded two quick goals. But then their opponents started to cruise and Barca’s direct style and aggressive approach began to reap dividends. A piece of weak goalkeeping threw the Catalans a lifeline, perhaps understandable given that the poor keeper hadn’t touched the ball all night. The equaliser arrived after the ref awarded a harsh penalty and an even harsher red card following a desperate long punt into the box.

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