FC Barcelona defeated city rivals RCD Espanyol 2-1 yesterday at the Estadi Olimpic on the fifth date of the Spanish first division league.

It was an exciting and eventful derby, marred by the incidents taking place in the stands during the second half, due to which the match had to be stopped for ten minutes. Barça dictated the play from the start and played good attacking football, but both their lack of proper finishing and defensive fragility resulted in the first half ending 1-0 to Espanyol thanks to a goal scored by Coro in his team’s only chance in the period.

Espanyol had been reduced to ten men (midfielder Nené was sent off) right before the break, which meant that Barça’s domination was made even stronger in the second half. Eto’o and Bojan were brought on to put all of the team’s available attacking assets on display. Henry picked up a through ball from Xavi and equalized after 76 minutes, and in the last minute of added time a penalty was given for a challenge on Samuel Eto’o. Leo Messi, who had been Barça’s most threatening player all through the game, converted the penalty kick to bag his fourth league goal and give Pep Guardiola’s side the three points.

Barcelona have now obtained four wins in a row and will next take on Shakhtar Donetsk on the Champions League’s second date on Wednesday.

FC Barcelona beat Real Betis (3-2) tonight at the Camp Nou to claim their second win in the 2008/09 Spanish league campaign.

What looked like a placid game for Pep Guardiola’s men in the first half, which finished 2-0 (both goals scored by Samuel Eto’o), turned into a tough affair in the second period after lapses in Barça’s defensive concentration allowed Betis to come back. Monzón scored from a free kick and José Mari made it 2-2 with 23 minutes to go; Gudjohnsen, Bojan and Busquets then came on as substitutes and helped Barcelona to push forward again; finally in the 80th minute a cross by Daniel Alves was fired into the net by Gudjohnsen, securing the three points for the home side.

Leo Messi was on the pitch for the whole game and played a role in Barça’s two first-half strikes; he provided Samuel Eto’o with the ball that led to the opening goal, and then created the Cameroonian’s second with a fine dribble and pass. After the break, Messi continued to participate in Barça’s best attacking moves, despite being repeatedly fouled by the Betis defenders.

After having grabbed three straight wins, Barça will try to extend their good streak of results in the city derby against Espanyol to be played on the weekend.

Lionel Messi scored two goals in FC Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijón in the third round of the 2008/09 Spanish league.

Date: September 21, 2008
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The third date of the 2008/09 Spanish football league saw FC Barcelona claim their first win in the competition as they crushed (6-1) Sporting Gijon away from home this evening.

The crowd at the Molinón stadium witnessed a one-sided game as Pep Guardiola’s men dictated the play from the start to the end. The first half finished 2-0 for Barça with strikes from Xavi and Eto’o. Right after the break Jorge made it 3-0 with an own goal, but Sporting immediately scored through Maldonado and put Barça in trouble for some minutes. However, the away side soon regained control of the situation and ended up getting three more goals.

Lionel Messi, who played the entire game, was given freedom to change his position across the attacking line. The Argentine star used his speed and ability to find ways through the Sporting defence, linking up especially well with Andrés Iniesta, who had an excellent performance. Messi was particularly brilliant in the second period, when he gave a fantastic assist to Iniesta for Barça’s fourth strike and then scored the team’s last two goals himself, taking a close-range volley in the fifth and a header in the sixth to finish off two great team moves.

The following league round will be played in mid-week, with Barça facing Betis at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

You can watch Leo Messi’s goals in the game against Sporting Gijón here.

FC Barcelona got a deserved win (3-1) over Sporting Lisbon tonight at the Camp Nou on the first date of the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

The game looked under Barça’s control almost the whole time, with the visiting side finding few opportunities to threat Víctor Valdés’s goal. Rafael Márquez scored in the first half and after the break Samuel Eto’o (pen.) made it 2-0 for the hosts on the hour. A goal scored by Sporting centre-back Tonel from a set piece with 18 minutes left generated some tension, but Barça immediately regained control of the situation and secured the win when Xavi scored the third goal after an excellent pass from Iniesta. Leo Messi played the entire game and was as incisive as usual; either starting from the right side of the attack or acting as a centre forward (the position Lionel played in for the last part of the game), Messi’s dribbling abilities created trouble to Sporting’s defence and got him close to scoring in a couple of good chances.

Barça head the Champions League’s group C table and will travel to Ukraine to play against Shakhtar Donetsk on the second date of the group in two weeks’ time. This weekend Pep Guardiola’s men will face Sporting Gijon away in the domestic league.

Lionel Messi’s goal against Racing Santander in the second date of the Spanish league 2008/09.

Date: September 14, 2008
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The fans at the Camp Nou were left disappointed as the first Spanish league game of the season played at the stadium ended in a 1-1 draw between FC Barcelona and Racing Santander last night.

Barça had the possession, attacked tirelessly from both sides of the field and created a good number of chances, especially in the second half. However, their lack of clinical finishing made them pay when Racing got the equalizing goal after 77 minutes in the visiting side’s first scoring opportunity in the game. Lionel Messi, who started the match on the bench and was brought on in the second half, had scored the opening goal in the 70th minute through a penalty. The Argentinian star’s presence on the pitch increased the speed and danger of his side’s attacks.

After this result, Pep Guardiola’s team has only got one point from two games, which is the club’s worst start to a domestic league season since 1973. Next up the Camp Nou will see Barça’s Champions League debut against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

Argentina’s national football team let victory slip away after conceding a last-minute goal against Peru in the World Cup qualifying game played between the two sides yesterday in Lima.

It was a poor performance by the men coached by Alfio Basile; both Riquelme and Messi were heavily marked, and the rest of the team showed a lack of attacking resources against a well-organized Peruvian side.

Still, the Argentinians had gone ahead when Cambiasso scored after an assist by Gago in the 82nd minute, but Fano’s strike for Peru right before the final whistle earned the local side a deserved draw. Argentina now sits in the third spot on the Southamerican World Cup qualifying group table, four points behind leaders Paraguay. The squad will be called up again in a month for the next two games, against Uruguay and Chile, to be played on October 11 and 15 respectively.

Argentina’s national football team could only get a 1-1 draw against Paraguay in the World Cup qualifying game between the two sides played yesterday in Buenos Aires.

In the twelfth minute of the game a mistake by Heinze in a bouncing ball led to the Real Madrid defender clashing with keeper Abbondanzieri (who got injured) an scoring an own goal. Things got even worse for Argentina when Tevez was sent off after 30 minutes.

In the second period the Argentinians showed great spirit to overcome the difficulties and were aided by Alfio Basile’s decision to bring on Kun Agüero, which allowed the three attacking players (Riquelme, Messi and Agüero) who started throughout the recent Olympic tournament to meet again on the pitch. The side’s offensive threat was significantly improved and in the 60th minute a great move by Messi and Riquelme ended in a through ball which Agüero put into the back of the net with a left-foot touch. The ten-man local side went on to create a couple more chances in the remainder of the match, but the score did not change.

After this result, Paraguay stay at the top of the Southamerican qualification group with 14 points from seven matches, while Argentina have obtained 12 points and occupy the second spot on the table. The Argentinians will next take on Peru on Tuesday Wednesday.

Source: FIFA.com
Date: August 22, 2008
Link: Original article

Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi is, without a shadow of a doubt, the man causing the biggest stir at this year’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. At the tender age of 21, the Barcelona attacking whirlwind has earned the respect and admiration of the fans, volunteers and even other competitors here at Beijing 2008. Indeed, the diminutive forward was even asked for a signed shirt by LA Lakers icon Kobe Bryant, to add to his enviable collection of sporting souvenirs.
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