This weekend saw the first game of the murderer's row for Barcelona as they faced Sevilla in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuain and came away with a dominant 3-0 victory away from home with a goal from samuel eto'o and a brace from lionel messi.
Let the score not fool you though, its not easy to win against sevilla in their own territory and that was effectively proven in the first half with great defending from the andulacian side. They made it difficult for Barcelona to get into their footballing mojo, especially Messi and Henry who were having an off day. Defenders were pretty dirty towards Messi though, holding him and fouling him at times.
Adriano did well to defend Dani Alves on many occasions and was also the best sevilla player on the pitch........well if not the best then the most hard working.
Unfortunately, sevilla were missing their star right winger Jesus Navas through suspension and his absense was quite noticeable as most of sevilla's chances circulated through the left wing with Adriano in charge. Credit to Adriano though, he did very well to set up the forwards.
Despite Barcelona dominating posession, sevilla made sure to break forward and create some havoc. The first threatening attempt at goal made by the home side when adriano sent in an in-swing cross finding Luis Fabiano between marquez and pique in the box but fabiano's flying kick shot went over the bar.
Fabiano got another shot at goal after a steal from fazio but the shot deflected off Marquez and went into Valdes' hands. If Marquez was not positioned properly, that ball would have gone in the top corner. Marquez was also present to intercept a ground cross from Adriano in the box which would have definitely been buried by Fabiano
Kanoute worked very hard as well, running back to help out the defence and doing the dirty work for fellow forward Fabiano. He set up Fabiano with a nice throughball that was shot wide left.
The best chances fell to kanoute though with a volley from an adriano cross that went wide left. Kanoute was sure to score, when Barcelona feeling the sting of their own medicine, were caught sleeping at a set-piece situation when Maresca took a quick free kick from his own half and found Kanoute open near the 6 yard box. The striker did well to control the ball but his finish could have been better as it hit the cross bar and the rebound header by fabiano was easily handled by Valdes.
Barcelona didnt have such clear cut chances in the first half like their opponents. Henry and Messi had to resort to shooting from distance as they both were off target.
The first goal came in the 20th minute, Pique picked out Messi near the halfway line, who passed the ball to Xavi at the edge of the box. Before Xavi could lay the ball out to the wing for Dani Alves, Navarro intervened and deflected the ball right into the path of Samuel Eto'o who made no mistake in blasting the bouncing ball into the top corner with the outside of his foot.
Apart from that goal, only eto'o had another shot on goal when dani alves nutmegged navarro, ran down the wing, crossed the ball for keita who headed it back to eto'o. Eto'o received the ball with his back to the goal, turned around and unleashed a powerful shot that forced a diving save from the goalie, Palop.
Eto'o was shown a yellow for pressuring the goalie and making him nervously kick the ball out of bounds. I was pretty happy with that move because now Eto'o is suspended from the valencia game because of the 5 card rule but he is sure to play in el classico. Knowing that fool, he would have gotten a yellow in the next game if not this one..........and it would have been deja vu from last season getting a 5th yellow against valencia and missing the game against madrid.
Second half was a different story as Barcelona were extremely stingy when it came to posession and Sevilla barely had a threatening attempt at goal. The disadvantage of facing a team that loves the posession game is that you get very tired constantly chasing after the ball. Approaching the final third of the game, Sevilla started to look very dull.
All of a sudden, Henry burst into life. It was as if he realized "damn mosquera is sh*t compared to me......I am TH14 mofucka!". He took mosquera head on dribbling past him many times and took a couple of shots on goal. His finishing could have been better though but the first step is trying and man was he a different fellow in the second half.
Messi moved to the centre and began to threaten the defenders with his trademark runs at one point taking on the back four all by himself and setting up Henry with an oppurtunity to shoot but the Frenchman curled the ball straight into the goalie. Messi also made a nice run from the right, dribbling past mosquera, sneaking in between the two centrebacks and launching a shot on goal that was saved by Palop.
Barcelona soon got the insurance goal near the 78th minute. Henry missed a throughball down the wing and started grabbing his back. Me being cynical cursed his ass for pretending but the curses turned into praises soon. In the ensuing goal kick from Palop, Xavi headed a throughball to Messi who touched the ball with his head and shot a half volley from outside the box into the bottom corner with Palop left dead on his feet. My jaw dropped for a good minute after witnessing that goal. Credit to Xavi for that nice assist too.
Hleb was brought on in the 90th minute and I started thinking " Hein?! why the hell would you sub him in for stoppage time? Yeah two minutes is enough time eh Pep?" but Hleb soon answered my question. Busquets pounced on the clearance from Palop and sent the ball wide left for Hleb, who slipped in a genius through ball for Messi. Messi ran round the goal keeper and shot the ball from outside the box for his second goal.
Despite messi scoring two goals, Id say the man of the match would go to Toure Yaya. He was the key player for Barcelona's posession game. Running far distances to stop attacks, intercepting passes, heading out air balls and the best of all, he didnt make any bad passes that lead to posession being lost like usual.