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Liverpool stun holders Barça

Published: Thursday 22 February 2007, 0.55CET
FC Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool FC
Goals from Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise have weakened Barcelona's grip on the famous trophy.
by Lucas Brown
from Camp Nou

Match statistics


Goals scored1
Attempts on target4
Attempts off target8
Fouls committed17
Yellow cards2
Red cards0


Published: Thursday 22 February 2007, 0.55CET

Liverpool stun holders Barça

FC Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool FC
Goals from Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise have weakened Barcelona's grip on the famous trophy.

Liverpool FC pulled off a famous victory as they defeated UEFA Champions League holders FC Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou to end the Catalan side's 13-match unbeaten run on home soil.

Riise the hero
John Arne Riise was the visitors' hero as he fired home the winning goal in the 74th minute after being picked out by Craig Bellamy, whose first-half header had cancelled out Deco's early opener. Both Liverpool scorers were involved in a widely-reported incident at their training camp last week but the negative headlines were forgotten as the 2005 European champions took a major stride towards the last eight - leaving Barcelona with an uphill struggle in the second leg at Anfield.

Deco header
Liverpool had never lost here before and they threatened first as Riise flashed a dangerous cross across Víctor Valdés's goal in the sixth minute, just beyond Bellamy. Before long the hosts were imposing their attacking game, however, and only Jamie Carragher's fine interception stopped Deco capitalising on Lionel Messi's lay-off. The breakthrough arrived in the 14th minute as Deco claimed Barcelona's first goal against Liverpool at Camp Nou in four attempts. A sublime piece of trickery from Ronaldinho set Gianluca Zambrotta free down the left, and the Italian lifted a cross to the far post where Deco came in unmarked to guide a header into the bottom corner.

Reds respond
Having opened their account, Frank Rijkaard's team really began to find their rhythm and Javier Saviola and Deco both went close. As half-time approached, however, Liverpool responded and on 39 minutes Steven Gerrard carved out a fine chance for Bellamy, swinging a free-kick to the far post where the unmarked striker headed into the side-netting. Barça did not heed the warning and two minutes before the break, Liverpool levelled. Steve Finnan's cross from the right reached Bellamy, he headed goalwards and Valdés, though getting both hands on to the ball, carried it over the line. Although Dirk Kuyt put the loose ball into the net, the goal was Bellamy's.

No spark
Boosted by the equaliser, Liverpool improved after the interval. Indeed, inside the first minute of the second period, Gerrard was presented with an opportunity from a set-piece but this time Valdés made a clean catch. With Barcelona struggling to find their spark, Rijkaard introduced Andrés Iniesta but it was Bellamy and Kuyt who looked increasingly dangerous at the other end.

Roof of the net
In the 68th minute the visitors were gifted an opening as the referee adjudged Barcelona substitute Ludovic Giuly to have passed back to his goalkeeper and Gerrard's free-kick required Valdés to save with his feet. Xabi Alonso turned the ball back in where Kuyt nodded over the crossbar from close range. Six minutes later the winner came as Valdés saved from Kuyt and Bellamy passed the loose ball across goal to Riise whose first-time strike flew into the roof of the net. Barcelona looked stunned yet still managed to threaten a late equaliser as Deco drove against the angle of post and bar.

Last updated: 22/02/07 12.18CET