Competition news

REVIEW: BARCELONA 3 - 2 DEPORTIVO (LA LIGA)

04 Mar 2006
Deportivo were unable to come out as winners after a roller coaster of a match, that saw both teams take the lead in turns. The Galicians proved again to be a big threat when playing away, but it wasn't enough to defeat a resilient and dangerous Barcelona.

BEFORE THE MATCH
Frank Rijkaard made it clear before the match that he will rest Messi for the upcoming Champions League game, while the participation of Ronaldinho and Eto'o was also in doubt. Finally, the dutch coach decided to take no risks with Deportivo, and sent in a very offensive formation, with both stars in the lineup. Larsson also started on a rare occasion to replace Messi, while Iniesta played instead of the newly recovered Giuly.

Caparros also sent in a predictable formation, with Victor and Romero on the wings, and Munitis playing behind the sole striker, Arizmendi. Tristan, Ruben, De Guzman and Gallardo had to wait for their chance on the sidelines.

THE FIRST HALF
Barcelona started the match with little doubt about their intentions and it was soon clear that Depor's defense would have another difficult night. Only three minutes after the start, Iniesta won a freekick in front of the Galician area and Ronaldinho converted with little hope for Molina, making it 1-0. Depor then started to look for an equaliser, but Munitis and Arizmendi were isolated up front, having to fight for every ball. Set pieces and long shots seemed to be the only offensive instruments of the Galicians and both Arizmendi and Duscher went close on a couple of occasions.

Then, after a quarter of an hour, Juanma scored the equalizer from a corner executed by Munitis. It was the second corner in a row for Depor who were pressuring for a goal, while Barca were speculating on the counter attack. At the other goal, Eto'o and Larsson were also close to scoring, but Molina frustrated their actions with some good saves. Just as Depor seemed to crack under pressure, Andrade scored a second goal for the Galicians. Munitis took a freekick from 40 meters out only for Andrade to break the offside trap and score with a header.

Depor's lead didn't last long though, as Larsson scored the equalizer only five minutes later, from a Ronaldinho corner, as Manuel Pablo couldn't stop the ball on the line. The former had another chance to score from a similar position as for the first goal, but his shot went wide and the match went into half-time.

THE SECOND HALF
Both coaches made a change during the break, with Van Bommerl replacing an ineffective Iniesta, while De Guzman came in for Duscher, who was risking expulsion after being booked in the first half.

Barca started the second half very much like the first, creating danger on almost every attack. Meanwhile, Depor was unable to start any decent attack, Romero and Victor were too busy helping in the defense, leaving Munitis and Arizmendi alone. As the posession was shifting decisively in favor of the Catalan team, Andrade had to be replaced after an injury, and Cesar came in. Then, only one minute later, Eto'o broke the deadlock scoring a goal from a corner.

With nothing to lose, Caparros reacted and sent in Tristan for Romero, moving Munitis to the left. But there was little change in the outcome of the match, Barcelona were dominating and pressing for even more goals, while Depor was unable to mount any convincing offensive.

AFTER THE MATCH
Deportivo failed to make any progress in reaching the European spots, and although they are only six points away from the fourth spot, Celta, Villareal, Osasuna and Sevilla are in the way. Barcelona on the other hand can look forward to their Champions League match, as the Liga title is almost a formality.

MATCH STATS:
Barcelona:  V?­ctor Vald?©s; Belletti (Oleguer, min.77), Puyol, M??rquez, Sylvinho, Edmilson, Iniesta (Van Bommel, min.46), Deco, Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Larsson (Giuly, min.67).
Deportivo:   Molina; Manuel Pablo, Andrade (C?©sar, min.61), Juanma, Capdevila, Sergio, Duscher (De Guzm??n, min.46), Romero (Trist??n, min.67), V?­ctor, Munitis y Arizmendi.
Goals: 1-0, m.2: Ronaldinho. 1-1, m.15: Juanma. 2-1. m.28: Andrade. 2-2. m.33: Larsson. 3-2. m.62: Eto'o.
Referee: Velasco Carballo. Showed yellow cards to Andrade (min.2), Duscher (min.27), Capdevila (min.28), Arizmendi (min.39), Edmilson (min.49), Munitis (min.49), Van Bommel (min.69).
Venue: Camp Nou (attendance: 77.113).


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