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Friday, May 6, 2011

Barcelona’s Road to Wembley

Barcelona and Manchester United, arguably two of the biggest names in Spanish and English football respectively, both qualified for this season’s UEFA champions League final after sweeping aside their opponents with relative ease. Let’s take a look at how Pep Guardiola’s impressive men got to the Wembley final:


Group Stages – Pep Guardiola’s men were drawn in an easy group D that comprised of FC Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan and Greek side Panathinaikos. 

Barcelona 5-1Panathinaikos, 14 September 2010
The Catalans started their campaign routing Greek giants Panathinaikos 5-1 in front of over 69,000 supporters at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barca half way into the match but Sidney Govou equalized just two minutes after to even the match. However, David Villa doubled Barca’s lead just past the hour mark to put the 2008-09 champions in the driving seat. Messi scored his second at the stroke of half time before Pedro and Danny Alves’ late goals gave Barca a resounding 5-1 win.

Rubin Kazan 1-1 Barcelona, 29 September 2010
The two teams met for the second consecutive season in the premier competition. Turkish side Rubin Kazan opened the scoring in the half hour mark through a spot-kick which was converted by Christian Noboa. Barcelona scored the equalizer in the hour mark through David Villa’s penalty as the two teams shared the spoils.

Barcelona 2-0 Copenhagen, 20 October 2010
Lionel Messi scored his third and fourth goals in three matches as he helped Barcelona overcome Austrian champions Copenhagen 2-0 at Nou Camp.

Copenhagen 1-1 Barcelona, 2 November 2010
The visitors opened the scoring in the 31st minute through Messi but Claudemir de Souza equalized a minute later for the home team as the return leg match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Panathinaikos 0-3 Barcelona, 24 November 2010
Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma scored in either side of the half and Messi netted in between the Spaniard’s goals to ensure that the Catalans finished on top of their group heading into the final game in the group stages.

Barcelona 2-0 Rubin Kazan, 7 December 2010
Barcelona finally managed to end their winless run against the Turks thanks to goals from second string pair of Andreu Fontas (51’) and Victor Vazquez (82’).


Round of 16

Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona, 16 February 2011
The two teams known for their indefatigable passing game faced off at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium for their first leg encounter. Barcelona subdued their opponents, taking the lead after 26 minutes. However, a combination of complacency and lack of concentration saw Arsenal level through Van Persie in the 78th minute and substitute Andrey Arshavin completed the comeback seven minutes before the final whistle to earn Arsenal a valuable 2-1 advantage heading into the second leg.

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal, 8 March 2011
Arsene Wenger’s men were taught a memorable football lesson by the Catalans who restricted their opponents to zero shot on goal. The talented Lionel Messi scored a brace and passing matador Xavi scored the third goal as Guardiola’s team set up a quarter final clash with Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk. Arsenal’s only ‘shot’ on goal came from Sergio Busquet’s own goal after 53 minutes.



Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk, 6 April 2011
The Spanish champions made light work of their opponents from Ukraine when Andres Iniesta, Daniel Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi all registered their names on the score sheet to secure Barca a semifinal slot even before the return leg was contested. Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored the consolation for Shakhtar. 

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 Barcelona, 12 April 2011
Messi scored the only goal at Donbass Arena but this was more of a formality than anything less. Thus, Barca prevailed with an astounding 6-1 aggregate win.



Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona, 27 April 2011
This first leg champions league semifinal clash was among the four El-Clasico matches in 18 days between the two bitter rivals. Madrid defender Pepe was red-carded in the hour mark completely changing the course of the game. Lionel Messi capitalized on Los Blancos’ numerical disadvantage with two well taken goals in the 76 and 87 minutes.

Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid, 3 May 2011
This second leg match was played at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium with 95,701 fans turning out to see the rivals square out for the last time this season. Pedro Rodriguez nicked in with the first goal for the Catalans in the 54th minute. Brazilian leftback Marcelo Vieira forced in an Angel Di Maria cross ten minutes later but Madridistas lacked neither the firepower nor the grit to get something out of the match as Barca triumphed 3-1 aggregate consequently reaching the May 28 final at the iconic Wembley stadium, London.

Total Goals Scored:   27
Goals Conceded:        8


Barcelona v Manchester United, 28 May 2011, Wembley Stadium, London, England
This will be the 11th meeting between United and Barça in European Competition, but the 8th game between them in the Champions League.

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