Catalonia football team to feature in FIFA window for first time against Venezuela
The Catalan men's XI are preparing for their most important fixture in a decade
The Catalan men's XI are preparing for their most important fixture in a decade
FC Barcelona has joined Catalonia’s National Alliance for Self-Determination, which groups together more than 3,000 organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, etc. The world famous sports club therefore backs Catalonia’s self-determination process and will participate in this group that works to push it forward. Furthermore, in the last few weeks leading Catalan sportsmen such as Xavi Hernández, Gerard Piqué, Pep Guardiola, Cesc Fàbregas, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Aleix Espargaró and Pol Espargaró have given their explicit support to Catalonia’s right to hold a self-determination vote to decide on its own political future, regardless of whether they would vote for independence or not. In fact, only Guardiola has openly backed independence, although none of the others have specified being against it.
FC Barcelona, full of pride, fought back from a two-goal deficit to claim the three points in Sunday evening's game against Villarreal. Barça are still in content for the Spanish League title. The situation was critical in the Madrigal stadium. Emotionally shattered by the death of Tito Vilanova and the two goals for Villarreal pinned Barça back, but two own goals and a third from Messi proved enough to win the three points.
Barça see off Celta with 2 goals from Neymar and another from Messi, but Valdés' injury casts a pall over the win. Barça continue to pressure at the top of the Spanish League table after the weekend's win over Real Madrid. Luis Enrique made his return to the Camp Nou with a five-man defence that included Fontàs as a deep lying midfielder and with an untypical tactic of ceding possession, which allowed Barça to lay siege to the Celta area and reap the benefits within the first five minutes, as a clever move between Iniesta, Messi and Alexis ended with a simple tap in for Neymar. With Iniesta finding plenty of space through the middle to release Messi, Barça were playing elegant and incisive football which created chances for both Neymar and Messi.
Goals from Messi and Alves see off City and book Barça's place on the quarter finals.FC Barcelona laid down a marker for the rest of Europe on Wednesday evening, cruising through to the last eight of the Champions League with a 2-1 win over Manchester City (4-1 on aggregate) with a performance that put to bed the doubts around the team after their weekend league defeat in Valladolid. Javier Mascherano insisted before the game that Barça weren’t down and out and tonight the team proved him right with an important win over one of the strongest teams left in the competition.
Saturday afternoon saw FC Barcelona lose their fourth league game of the season. Relegation-troubled Valladolid beat the defending champions 1-0 thanks to a solitary goal from Fausto Rossi in the 16th minute, and it was an especially painful defeat because it denied Barça the chance to go provisionally back to the top of the table to add to the pressure on Real Madrid, who won against Levante on Sunday. Saturday’s substandard display also means that Barça’s destiny in the championship is no longer in their own hands. The defeat, their third in just six league games, has put a serious dent in Barça’s title bid. All in all, it was a disappointing day for the club and a disappointing performance from the team.
Barça got the better of a plucky Almeria side with goals from Alexis, Messi, Puyol and Xavi. It took until the 83rd minute for Barça to secure the three points against Almeria. The eventual 4-1 win could easily have been achieved in the first half, but some great football was only reflected by two goals, and Almeria managed to grab one of their own to add to the drama. The intensity dipped in the second half, and the win was not decided until Puyol bravely stuck home FCB’s third, with Xavi making it four in the final minutes. A win was more essential than ever after the setback at Anoeta, and the 2-2 draw in the Madrid derby – between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid – was surely the best result Barça could have wished for, and they now find themselves just one point short of the Spanish League’s lead.
FC Barcelona are no longer the Spanish League leaders. Barça suffered their third league defeat of the season against Real Sociedad (3-1) on Saturday evening. It was a grim night for Barça, who were chasing the game for most of the 90 minutes and never looked comfortable against a Real Sociedad who were lethal on the break. The defeat leaves Barça three points behind Real Madrid, who top the table. Gerardo Martino made six changes to the team who won in Manchester on Tuesday, with Song playing as the holding midfielder and Busquets in an inside right role, whilst Xavi and Cesc started on the bench and Montoya, Bartra, Adriano and Neymar were back in the starting line up .
Three days ahead of their trip to Manchester, Barça put on a sparkling performance to reaffirm their top spot in the Spanish League with a 6-0 win over Rayo on Saturday evening. Adriano, Messi (2), Alexis, Pedro and Neymar scored the goals in the win. Two first half goals opened the door and after the break the chances and goals just kept coming. Rayo refused to park the bus though and despite the obvious gap in class between them and their hosts, the Madrid team stuck firm to their own attacking style and the game opened up with both teams playing the ball out from the back and pressing high up the pitch. Martino gave the crowd something else to cheer, bringing on Neymar after his month long injury lay off on 61 minutes.
A goal from Messi secures passage to the final of the Copa del Rey. Barça will face off against Real Madrid on April 19. The team managed by Gerardo Martino preserved their 2-0 advantage and they qualified without too much difficulty. When push comes to shove, this team responds: they are in the final after having won seven of their eight Cup matches this season and with Leo Messi, who scored the go-ahead goal in San Sebastián, as the highest goal scorer of the competition. In the final minutes of the match Griezmann netted the equaliser, but it was too little to late to trouble a Barça side that had completed one of the best first halves so far this season.
Barça overcome the elements to re-take the Spanish League’s top spot in Seville - a spot they’d held all season until last weekend. Although Martino’s side weren’t as dominant as normal this Sunday evening, they showed a lethal finishing touch up front to come back from the hosts’ early strike with Alexis, Messi –two lovely goals – and Cesc give Barça an important win in the rain. On the quarter hour Seville took the lead thanks to an unlucky rebound off Bartra as Alberto Moreno shot from the edge of the box.In the first half, Seville had four clear chances and only put one away, whilst Barça finished off the two opportunities they had to go in with a 1-2 lead.
FC Barcelona are one step closer to the final of the Copa del Rey thanks to goals from Busquets and Zubikarai (og) in the first tie of the semi-finals. This Wednesday the Camp Nou experienced a match that had it all, from the stands to red cards to plays that bordered on the nonsensical, like Barça’s second goal of the night. Gerardo Martino sent in a nearly identical team to the one he fielded on the weekend, only Valdés – who was replaced by Pinto – wasn’t named to the starting line-up. Now FC Barcelona will have make good on their 2-0 advantage when they travel to Anoeta next Wednesday.
FC Barcelona have suffered painful defeat at home to Valencia, which brings an end to a wonderful run of 25 consecutive wins in league matches at the Camp Nou. The visitors, coached by former Barça man Pizzi, took a practical approach to the game and took their chances when they came. They go home with all three points from a match that looked to be safely under Barça’s control at half-time, but from that moment on, luck was simply not on Barça’s side. Not even Messi’s penalty to put Barcelona back in contention, or the immense pressure in the final minutes despite being a man down following Alba’s sending off, were enough to prevent Valencia from winning at the Camp Nou for the first time in a decade.