Another point for the leaders (1-1)
FC Barcelona have taken a point from their visit to the animated Parken Stadium in Copenhagen in which they hit the woodwork three times. Messi opened the scoring in a game that sees Barça stay top of their group table.
Barcelona (FCB).- It was clear from the 2-0 win at the Camp Nou that Barça were going to face a difficult task in Copenhagen. Those fears proved justified. With practically the same starting eleven that tore Sevilla apart, the only change was Keita for Pedro, Barça could only draw against the Danish champions. In front of a vociferous full house, that was not enough to secure mathematical qualification for the next round, but nevertheless, leaves them in a more than comfortable top-of-the-table position.
Messi\u2019s first half goal helped Barça ensure they get the better of the all-important head-to-head with Copenhagen, and with two games yet to play, in Athens against Panathinaikos in three weeks time and then at home to Rubin Kazan, Barça can feel reasonably confident of securing a place among the last sixteen.
The game got off to an untidy beginning. Two incidents involving Puyol and N\u2019Doye ended up wasting much of the early time, in which the home side came out hungry and had already hit the post after three minutes. For a while, Barça were in the unusual situation of playing on the counter attack, and it took a full twenty minutes for them to settle into their preferred possession game. The results soon showed, with Villa also hitting the post.
Exchange of goals
Barça were generating almost all the danger down the left, with Iniesta in the thick of it as he produced some dazzling moves. It was following his one-two with Messi that the first goal emerged, when the home defence failed to clear the finish properly and gifted the Argentinian the kind of opportunity he is not prone to squandering. It was his 100th goal of the Guardiola era. But there was precious little time to celebrate it. Claudemir equalised a minute later when Valdes failed to keep hold of a cross from the left. The Parken Stadium went wild.
Messi does his best
Barça didn\u2019t appear troubled by the equaliser. Messi was highly active in the remainder of the half, and it\u2019s a wonder he didn\u2019t score again. But goalkeeper Wiland and the post yet again got in the way of FCB\u2019s second. Iniesta and Keita also had clear-cut opportunities on the Danish goal, but luck was not on their side. Meanwhile, the highly physical Copenhagen side not only defended strongly, but also created chances of their own.
Pedro hits post number three
On one of those, the referee correctly disallowed a N\u2019Doye goal for a push on Abidal\u2019s back, but Copenhagen\u2019s confidence was growing and they not only controlled the ball for surprisingly long periods, but created very worrying pressure as the game drew to a close. But the man who came closest to scoring was Barça substitute Pedro, who struck a terrific shot onto the post in the second minute of injury time. Had it gone in, Barça would now be celebrating passage to the second round. But it wasn\u2019t to be, and their Danish hosts are to be sincerely commended on an excellent performance this evening.
0-1, Messi (min 31)
1-1, Claudemir (min 32)