Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Barça head their way to victory (3-0)

FC Barcelona opened the new league season with a convincing display against Sporting de Gijón in Camp Nou winning with goals from Bojan Krkic, Seydou Keita and a debut effort from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Just three days after winning the European Super Cup, Barça produced another powerful display as they began the defence of their Primera crown in front of a full stadium. Without being at their best, Pep Guardiola’s side still dominated possession and netted three times to ensure that their visitors were never likely to claim anything from the match.

Playing in the middle

Without Lionel Messi on one flank and Thierry Henry missing from the other Barça played much of their football through the middle in the opening hale. Ibrahimovic is still adapting to his new side and his new team-mates, but he had a chance after three minutes which he was unable to capitalise on. Castro then produced Sporting’s first chance of note on ten minutes.

Bojan finds teh net

Barcelona dominated the ball and moved it around in familiar fashion, but little by little Sporting began to become involved. Manuel Preciado had set his side out to put men behind the ball and defend in numbers while looking for a breakaway move. But the Blaugrana found a way through after 17 minutes when Keita nodded a high cross towards the far post and Bojan ducked down to nod across the line and followed the ball into the net.

Chances galore

Guardiola’s side then conitnued to press for a second and created chances, but just could not open up the Sporting defence by playing the ball on the floor. Ibrahimovic tried his hardest to help the Catalan team find a gap, but it took another set piece and another header to beat Juan Pablo in the Sporting goal. Dani Alves whipped in a cross from the right in the 42nd minute and Keita showed great technique to nod home from close range.

Remaining focussed

Concentration was key and Barça managed to remain focussed as Ibrahimovic went close and Maxwell broke round the back after a good run down the left flank. After the break Sporting did push up on occasion, but FC Barcelona were able to raise their game and then begin to introduce players from the youth ranks to give them experience of playing in the top flight. Keita could have added his second and the Blaugrana’s third in the 67th minute, but his shot came back off the post.

Ibrahimovic scores

In minute 81 the game saw Ibrahimovic make his mark as he was unmarked at the far post when Alves’ cross was flicked on by Gregory and the powerful Swede dived to head into the net. Bojan left the field on a stretcher after appearing to injure his knee, but even that could not put a dampener on a good start to the league season for Barça.

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