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Barça set up Bremen showdown

Published: Thursday 23 November 2006, 0.50CET
PFC Levski Sofia 0-2 FC Barcelona Ludovic Giuly set the holders on their way to a vital victory which guarantees a dramatic finish to Group A.
by Trevor Haylett
from Vasil Levski National Stadium

Match statistics

LevskiBarcelona

Goals scored0
2
Attempts on target3
 
7
Attempts off target5
 
7
Corners2
 
9
Offsides4
 
2
Fouls committed14
 
10
Yellow cards2
 
0
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 23 November 2006, 0.50CET

Barça set up Bremen showdown

PFC Levski Sofia 0-2 FC Barcelona Ludovic Giuly set the holders on their way to a vital victory which guarantees a dramatic finish to Group A.

FC Barcelona ended a three-game UEFA Champions League sequence without a victory by inflicting a fifth successive defeat on PFC Levski Sofia to enhance their chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds.

Bremen meeting
To do that the holders will have to beat Werder Bremen, 1-0 winners against Chelsea FC tonight, at home in their final Group A fixture on Matchday 6. A loss or even a draw here would have made the Spanish club the first defending champions to fail to progress through a group stage in the UEFA Champions League era, but an early strike from Ludovic Giuly and a second-half goal from Andrés Iniesta made sure there would be no shock in Sofia.

Champions graveyard
Levski's home ground enjoyed a period when it regularly sounded the death knell for the aspirations of the European Champion Clubs' Cup holders. Both AFC Ajax (1973/74) and Liverpool FC (1981/82) lost their crowns here while Nottingham Forest FC (1980/81) suffered a 1-0 reverse in their first-round first leg before losing the return in England by a similar scoreline. If history suggested another surprise result, Barcelona were determined to pay no heed. An early breakthrough was their aim and it arrived as swiftly as the fifth minute, though seconds before the holders had to survive a scare in their own goalmouth when Hristo Yovov beat Gianluca Zambrotta only to elect to shoot from a difficult angle, his effort clipping the outside of the near post.

Opportunist Giuly
Undeterred, Zambrotta advanced down the right and while Eidur Gudjohnsen could not connect properly with the cross, the ball fell kindly for Giuly to open the scoring with a controlled drive. At Camp Nou, Levski had held out for two minutes more before falling behind, and it would have been easy for their heads to drop but having seen Ronaldinho loop a free-kick too high, they gathered their spirit and resources and proceeded to push Barça back. The Bulgarian champions engineered a number of promising situations but lacked the composure and good fortune to take advantage. Stanislav Angelov was unlucky to see a fierce drive blocked and the same player was then only just beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Víctor Valdés following Cédric Bardon's clever back-heel.

Gudjohnsen openings
Barcelona had two great opportunities to put the issue beyond doubt at the start of the second half. In each case Gudjohnsen was the man scenting glory, but after first slashing at his shot he was then denied by the legs of Georgi Petkov, the goalkeeper also blocking Giuly's follow-up in the same way. It enabled Levski to believe they could still get a significant result from their night's work. They remained true to their adventurous instincts and it required a last-ditch tackle from Rafael Márquez to prevent Valeri Domovchiyski latching on to a loose ball inside the penalty area.

Iniesta clincher
Then, in the 65th minute, Barça were finally able to relax. Deco finished a smart break with a rasping shot that Petkov failed to hold and Iniesta popped up to give the holders breathing space and set up a decisive final fixture in a fortnight's time. Levski, meanwhile, are guaranteed to end their first group-stage campaign in fourth position ahead of their concluding tie at Chelsea.

Last updated: 23/11/06 10.53CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2006/matches/round=2357/match=1116379/postmatch/report/index.html#barca+bremen+showdown

Lineups

levski

Levski

barcelona

Barcelona

1
G. PetkovGeorgi Petkov (GK)
1
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
3
MilanovZhivko Milanov
Yellow Card25
3
Thiago MottaThiago Motta
4
TomašićIgor Tomašić
4
MárquezRafael Márquez
Substitution63
6
EromoigbeRichard Eromoigbe
5
PuyolCarles Puyol (C)
7
BorimirovDaniel Borimirov
Yellow Card56
7
GudjohnsenEidur Gudjohnsen
10
YovovHristo Yovov
Substitution73
8
GiulyLudovic Giuly
Goal5
Substitution58
11
TopuzakovElin Topuzakov (C)
10
RonaldinhoRonaldinho
17
DomovchiyskiValeri Domovchiyski
Substitution57
11
ZambrottaGianluca Zambrotta
20
AngelovStanislav Angelov
Substitution58
16
SylvinhoSylvinho
25
Lucio WagnerLucio Wagner
20
DecoDeco
27
BardonCédric Bardon
24
IniestaAndrés Iniesta
Goal65
Substitution81

Substitutes

12
MitrevBozhidar Mitrev (GK)
25
JorqueraAlbert Jorquera (GK)
9
G. IvanovGeorgi Ivanov
Substitution57
6
Xavi HernándezXavi Hernández
Substitution58
14
MinevVeselin Minev
12
Van BronckhorstGiovanni van Bronckhorst
16
OgnyanovMarian Ognyanov
Substitution73
15
EdmílsonEdmílson
18
IvanovMiroslav Ivanov
18
EzquerroSantiago Ezquerro
Substitution81
21
TelkiyskiDimitar Telkiyski
Substitution58
21
ThuramLilian Thuram
24
N. DimitrovNikolay Dimitrov
23
OleguerOleguer
Substitution63

Coach

Stanimir Stoilov (BUL) Frank Rijkaard (NED)

Referee

Iouri Baskakov (RUS)

Assistant referees

Alexey Monahov (RUS), Lev Antonov (RUS)

Fourth official

Stanislav Sukhina (RUS)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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