Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Kids Are Alright... (for now)

With one project more or less out of the way... today seemed like as good as any to get this apm blogger back to his football scribbling groove, what with all of the Champions League games being played today and tomorrow and the FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais match in particular. Barca only needed a point to go through to the last 16, but Lyon had a lot more at stake as they were vying for the crucial second place spot.

It was only three minutes in and the Barca kids were definitely alright when the dazzling Bojan Krkic (still only 17!) delivered a fantastic cross from the right off of a blistering counter attack, finding Andreas Iniesta near goal eager to unleash an intelligent finishing move. But four minutes later, Lyon answered back with a spectacular 40 yard free kick (that I'm not so sure was actually intended as a goal) from the always dangerous Brazilian Juninho (who looks more and more like Oleguer's twin), effectively declaring "game on." Thankfully, Barca never lost their cool, although Juninho and our own hulking Toure Yaya (who has been a smart and splendid addition to the squad this season) did have a little moment near the end of the first half--which got Rijkaard booted off the touchline and into the stands. I must've blinked, since I missed what that was all about.

Early in the second half, Barca took the lead again after Lionel Messi was taken down in the penalty area by Lyon's S├ębastien Squillaci. The frantic Lyon side pestered on, although they failed to ever control the game. But their persistence paid off when Juninho evened things up again from a penalty kick in the 80th minute.

Can't say I was disappointed with the result. But we really could've won the game since we had more than a few opportunities to win the game outright--namely via two golden chances by Eidur Gudjohnsen. Poor Eidur. It's good to see him starting for the team again, though he looks a bit desultory. He's always been a second or two behind the rest of the squad, but we really needed him to shine these last two matches and quite frankly he's disappointed.

Regardless, Barca is through to the next stage. Also, I saw that the battered and bruised Sevilla side went through as well after their 3-1 defeat of Arsenal (who had already qualified). Good job, lads!


Linda said...

So pleased for Sevilla - nothing against Arsenal, I just want Sevilla to show Europe that La Liga is about more than Barca and Real.

Yaya has been brilliant, as has all the other new signings, in their own way.

(Frankie walked because he was complaining about repeated uncalled fouls on Messi, or at least that's what the papers are saying.)

Derek said...

Yeah, I'm glad that Arsenal are through also--they've certainly been playing like they want it. Just even more pleased that Sevilla mean it too.

And that makes sense about Rijkaard and Messi. The kid was definitely getting his share of pummeling.