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Bullish Barça make winning start

Published: Wednesday 17 September 2008, 0.30CET
FC Barcelona 3-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal
Xavi Hernández's late third sealed a deserved victory for Josep Guardiola's side after a goal from Tonel had prompted a nervous finale at Camp Nou.
by Graham Hunter
from Camp Nou
Bullish Barça make winning start
Rafael Márquez (left) headed Barcelona in front ©Getty Images

Match statistics

BarcelonaSporting

Goals scored3
 
1
Attempts on target6
 
4
Attempts off target14
 
3
Corners6
 
2
Offsides1
 
10
Fouls committed19
 
17
Yellow cards1
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:22 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 17 September 2008, 0.30CET

Bullish Barça make winning start

FC Barcelona 3-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal
Xavi Hernández's late third sealed a deserved victory for Josep Guardiola's side after a goal from Tonel had prompted a nervous finale at Camp Nou.

When the UEFA Champions League comes to town then whether FC Barcelona are on good form or not a home victory usually accompanies it. So it proved on Matchday 1 as Xavi Hernández's late third sealed a deserved Group C victory for Josep Guardiola's side after a Tonel goal for Sporting Clube de Portugal had made the Camp Nou faithful sweat.

Deserved third
Barça had not scored twice since the 13 August defeat of Wisla Kraków in qualifying for this competition, yet recovered from some early hesitancy in front of goal to take a 2-0 lead thanks to a header from Rafael Márquez (21) and Samuel Eto'o's penalty on the hour. Sporting responded through Tonel in the 72nd minute, yet the visitors rarely looked like threatening before Xavi scored a deserved third to ensure a perfect start in Group C for the pool favourites.

Tactical change
The fluency and invention of Barça's first-half play not only stemmed from the quality of their players but the tactical instructions from coach Guardiola. A student of Johan Cruyff's 3-4-3 system which produced the 'Dream Team' and yielded a first European Champions Clubs' Cup in 1992, Guardiola applied his knowledge to his team's recent scoring problems – giving Daniel Alves licence to surge forward from right-back and replicate that formation.

Messi magic
The Brazilian linked inventively with Lionel Messi, leaving Sporting looking overwhelmed and with only a rasping free-kick from ex-Barça midfielder Fàbio Rochemback to show for their first-half diligence. Meanwhile, Messi dictated the show. Dancing past defenders became a habit and his mazy run after robbing Marat Izmailov in the 18th minute left him beating two more men and curling a lovely shot just past the post. Further near misses from Thierry Henry and Andrés Iniesta were signals that Barcelona were about to strike and so it proved.

Orthodox goal
Márquez arrived unmarked at the far edge of the area to meet Xavi's 21st-minute outswinging corner, and although Seydou Keita tried to help the ball in, the Mexican's header beat Rui Patrício unaided. By the time the interval arrived Barça's only crime was overelaboration in the penalty box, without which their lead would have been greater. The crime of missing chances often leads to punishment and five minutes after the break Sporting almost enforced the rule. Rochemback's corner dropped between two defenders and at the feet of Tonel but the Portuguese centre-back miscontrolled and lost a golden chance. It did not take the home side long to make him further rue that miss, Eto'o picking himself up after being felled by Tonel to dispatch the spot-kick with minimum fuss.

Important goal
With little to lose Sporting brought on Miguel Veloso and allowed João Moutinho to play further forward. The dividend came when Veloso's left-footed free-kick from the right split the home defence and Tonel's raised foot stabbed the ball past Víctor Valdés. Nevertheless, Barça's lead should have been more firmly established before Iniesta crossed into the box where his fellow UEFA EURO 2008™ hero Xavi arrived with perfect timing to seal a good night's work

Last updated: 17/09/08 3.18CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15276/match=302702/postmatch/report/index.html#bullish+barca+make+winning+start

Lineups

barcelona

Barcelona

sporting

Sporting

1
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
1
Rui PatrícioRui Patrício (GK)
3
PiquéGerard Piqué
Yellow Card70
4
PolgaAnderson Polga
4
MárquezRafael Márquez
Goal21
7
IzmailovMarat Izmailov
5
PuyolCarles Puyol (C)
Substitution89
11
DerleiDerlei
6
Xavi HernándezXavi Hernández
Goal87
12
Marco CaneiraMarco Caneira
Substitution79
8
IniestaAndrés Iniesta
13
TonelTonel
Goal72
9
Eto'oSamuel Eto'o
Goal60
Substitution66
20
Yannick DjalóYannick Djaló
Substitution62
10
MessiLionel Messi
26
RochembackFábio Rochemback
Yellow Card85
14
HenryThierry Henry
Substitution75
28
João MoutinhoJoão Moutinho (C)
15
KeitaSeydou Keita
30
RomagnoliLeandro Romagnoli
Substitution66
20
Daniel AlvesDaniel Alves
78
AbelAbel

Substitutes

13
PintoJosé Manuel Pinto (GK)
16
TiagoTiago (GK)
2
CáceresMartín Cáceres
5
Pedro SilvaPedro Silva
7
GudjohnsenEidur Gudjohnsen
6
Adrien SilvaAdrien Silva
11
Bojan KrkićBojan Krkić
22
Rodrigo TiuíRodrigo Tiuí
16
SylvinhoSylvinho
Substitution89
23
Hélder PostigaHélder Postiga
Substitution62
24
Y. TouréYaya Touré
Substitution66
24
Miguel VelosoMiguel Veloso
Substitution66
27
Pedro RodríguezPedro Rodríguez
Substitution75
25
PereirinhaBruno Pereirinha
Substitution79

Coach

Josep Guardiola (ESP) Paulo Bento (POR)

Referee

Laurent Duhamel (FRA)

Assistant referees

Stéphane Duhamel (FRA), Christophe Capelli (FRA)

Fourth official

Olivier Thual (FRA)

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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