The official website for European football

Ibrahimović pegs back spirited Stuttgart

Published: Tuesday 23 February 2010, 22.40CET
VfB Stuttgart 1-1 FC Barcelona
Cacau gave Stuttgart a deserved half-time lead but Zlatan Ibrahimović replied in the 52nd minute for the holders.
by Andy James
from VfB Arena

This content is streamed in such a way that it is protected and available only in a Flash format. Your device seems not to be compatible with our Flash video player.

Match statistics

StuttgartBarcelona

Goals scored1
 
1
Attempts on target5
 
4
Attempts off target4
 
1
Corners2
 
5
Offsides3
 
3
Fouls committed13
 
7
Yellow cards3
 
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Tuesday 23 February 2010, 22.40CET

Ibrahimović pegs back spirited Stuttgart

VfB Stuttgart 1-1 FC Barcelona
Cacau gave Stuttgart a deserved half-time lead but Zlatan Ibrahimović replied in the 52nd minute for the holders.

VfB Stuttgart gave holders FC Barcelona a real test but were denied a lead to take to the Camp Nou for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie.

Stuttgart were rewarded for a sound tactical start midway through the first half when the in-form Cacau headed them in front against the team coach Christian Gross warned were "the best club side in the world". However, Zlatan Ibrahimović made the most of one of his few chances soon after the restart, getting the away goal which makes Stuttgart's trip to Spain on 17 March all the more daunting.

With Barcelona imposing their well-rehearsed possession game early on, Stuttgart responded in an understandably cautious manner, sitting deep in their own half and looking to hit the reigning champions on the counterattack. It almost paid dividends when Lionel Messi slipped in the Stuttgart box just five minutes in, allowing the home side to break quickly, only for Timo Gebhart to direct the game's first shot on target within easy reach of Victor Valdés.

Growing in confidence as the Blaugrana struggled to create in attack and with the bumper home crowd behind them, Stuttgart began to venture forward with left-back Cristian Molinaro enjoying plenty of crossing opportunities. However, it was from the opposing flank that the game's opening goal came on 25 minutes, Gebhart swinging a perfect cross to the far post, where Cacau arrived on cue to send a measured header into the far corner.

Oozing confidence after his four-goal display against 1. FC Köln on Saturday, the Germany striker continued to threaten as Stuttgart entered their best phase of the match. Twice the energetic forward broke into the box in the immediate aftermath of the goal only to be denied in the first instance by his own unselfishness and by the feet of Valdés shortly afterwards.

While Messi had Lehmann thanking the left-hand upright when his effort from distance squirmed under the 40-year-old custodian's grasp, it was Stuttgart who looked the more dangerous as the half-time whistle approached, Christian Träsch and Pavel Pogrebnyak both spurning decent opportunities to extend their lead.

Those missed chances were punished early in the second half when Ibrahimović equalised. The Swedish international's initial attempt after Gerard Piqué headed back a Sergio Busquets cross was blocked superbly by Lehmann, but the experienced goalkeeper was powerless to stop the towering striker from stroking in the rebound. While Messi sent another dangerous ball across the face of goal soon after, Stuttgart continued positively, almost restoring their lead when Sami Khedira fired wide after being teed up by Cacau.

The lively Molinaro persisted well into the closing stages on the left flank and was almost rewarded after showing good pace to get to the byline, though the Italian defender's cross was just too much of a stretch for Cacau in the centre. Therefore, while Stuttgart have a daunting task in three weeks' time, Gross's charges have every reason to be proud of their performance as they continue their excellent form under the Swiss coach.

Last updated: 27/11/12 19.40CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000029/match=2000460/postmatch/report/index.html#barca+back+stuttgart

At a glance

What happened
Stuttgart took a deserved 25th-minute lead through Cacau but could not further exploit their initial dominance and Zlatan Ibrahimović levelled early in the second half.

Key moment
Gerard Piqué, who had worked hard in defence, set up the equaliser by heading on a cross for Ibrahimović to beat Jens Lehmann at the second attempt.

Numbers game
Cacau came into the game off the back of a four-goal haul against 1. FC Köln on Saturday and was a constant menace in the first half both before and after his goal.

One on one
Every time the ball was near Lionel Messi he was accompanied by several markers, though was still often able to break off his shackles and cause problems.

Crowd pleaser

Messi's runs were Barcelona's main first-half threat, a weaving dribble ending with a shot that Lehmann could only parry, the left-hand post sparing the goalkeeper.

What it means
Stuttgart go to the Camp Nou on 17 March knowing they have to score and will hope to emulate the away win in Barcelona secured by FC Rubin Kazan on Matchday 3.

Lineups

stuttgart

Stuttgart

barcelona

Barcelona

1
LehmannJens Lehmann (GK)
1
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
2
MolinaroCristian Molinaro
Yellow Card84
3
PiquéGerard Piqué
Yellow Card90+1
5
TasciSerdar Tasci
4
MárquezRafael Márquez
Yellow Card22
Substitution59
13
GebhartTimo Gebhart
Yellow Card51
Substitution84
5
PuyolCarles Puyol (C)
17
DelpierreMatthieu Delpierre (C)
6
Xavi HernándezXavi Hernández
18
CacauCacau
Goal25
8
IniestaAndrés Iniesta
23
HlebAleksandr Hleb
9
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Goal52
27
CelozziStefano Celozzi
10
MessiLionel Messi
28
KhediraSami Khedira
Yellow Card90+2
16
BusquetsSergio Busquets
29
PogrebnyakPavel Pogrebnyak
Substitution64
19
MaxwellMaxwell
35
TräschChristian Träsch
Substitution58
24
Y. TouréYaya Touré
Substitution53

Substitutes

24
UlreichSven Ulreich (GK)
13
PintoJosé Manuel Pinto (GK)
3
OsorioRicardo Osorio
11
Bojan KrkićBojan Krkić
6
NiedermeierGeorg Niedermeier
14
HenryThierry Henry
Substitution53
9
MaricaCiprian Marica
Substitution64
17
Pedro RodríguezPedro Rodríguez
16
RudySebastian Rudy
Substitution84
18
MilitoGabriel Milito
Substitution59
19
HilbertRoberto Hilbert
26
BartraMarc Bartra
32
KuzmanovićZdravko Kuzmanović
Substitution58
28
Dos SantosJonathan Dos Santos

Coach

Christian Gross (SUI) Josep Guardiola (ESP)

Referee

Björn Kuipers (NED)

Assistant referees

Sander van Roekel (NED), Berry Simons (NED)

Fourth official

Bas Nijhuis (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE words, the UEFA Champions League logo and trophy and the UEFA Champions League Final logos are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.