read the news // live the culture

Barcelona claim first leg advantage with impressive win at Leverkusen

  Wednesday 15th February 2012

Barcelona, reeling after a shock defeat in La Liga on Saturday night, made a short trip to Germany to meet a side who currently reside 15 points off the top in Bundesliga. Leverkusen’s form has been patchy to say the least, ever since the Christmas break.

Barcelona claim first leg advantage with impressive win at Leverkusen
Alexis Sanchez grabbed a brace as the Catalans returned to winning ways following their surprise loss to Osasuna at the weekend.

Barcelona started with a familiar side although Mascherano was playing slightly out of position at centre half; still, Leverkusen looked set to use a booming home crowd along with the addition of Corluka, the on-loan Spurs full back, to provide a solid basis on which to deal with the succinct style of Barcelona.

The first half was an eventful affair, Barcelona notching up 41 attacks to Leverkusen’s mere 7. The deadlock was broken by the lively Alexis Sanchez on 41 minutes.

The second half began ferociously, both sides opening up, leaving more gaps and having yet more chances. It was Leverkusen’s pressure that told, a slick move on the right wing allowed Corluka to deliver a pinpoint cross to meet Kadlec at the back post who headed past a despairing Valdes. It took 3 minutes for Barcelona to reply, a sharp pass found Sanchez once more, who duly rounded the keeper to slot one home.

Renato Augusto could have replied for Leverkusen immediately, but his powerful strike went straight into the grateful arms of Valdes. Leverkusen continued to look for the equaliser, often hitting the post in the process. However, they began to look leggy and Barcelona effortlessly retained possession.

When they get into this sort of zone their football becomes similar to chess, each little move culminates seamlessly into one grand play. Messi was his usual magician self, with Alves looking as lively in the 73rd minute as he did in the 1st. Barcelona had worn down a decent Leverkusen outfit into a dilapidated, defeated and demotivated set of individuals, as they do to so many of their unfortunate opponents. However Leverkusen were not going up without a fight, a chance for the substitute Keißling forced Valdes into a smart stop.

Having said that, Messi continued to create chances out of nothing and Barcelona looked to be cruising to victory. And indeed they were; with Messi adding a 3rd to the tally, his efforts all but guaranteeing the Catalan side’s place in the next round.

Raphael Salama


More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

London Film Festival 2014: Mommy | Review
London Film Festival 2014: Mommy

Thursday 16th October, 6pm – Odeon West EndSunday 19th October, 8.30pm – BFI Southbank Five years ago, [read more]

London Film Festival 2014: Far from Men | Review
London Film Festival 2014: Far from Men

Saturday 18th October, 5.30pm – Vue 5 Sunday 19th October, 3.30pm – Cine Lumiere Cinema Against the backdrop of the [read more]

The Hold Steady and The So So Glos at Koko | Live review
The Hold Steady and The So So Glos at Koko

Koko in Camden has the sort of tacky grandeur that’s perfect for hosting a night of unadulterated rock. Last night [read more]

The Scottsboro Boys at the Garrick | Theatre review
The Scottsboro Boys at the Garrick

In Scottsboro, Alabama, in 1931, nine black boys were tried for the alleged rape of two white girls. They were [read more]

Palace at St Pancras Old Church| Live review
Palace at St Pancras Old Church

An actual working church, St Pancras Old Church is the stunning venue that played host to Palace on Sunday. The lights [read more]

Archives