Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blaugrana draw against Lyon in the Champions League

After a hard game, Barca put themselves on course for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at the moment a Thierry Henry header earned them a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyon. Time to breath for catalan fans.

The popular Henry stooped to head home from less than a metre in the 67th minute after defender Rafael Marquez deflected a Lionel Messi corner towards the far post.

Brazilian midfielder Juninho put the home side ahead after seven minutes at the moment his free kick from the left flank sailed over goalkeeper Victor Valdes and inside the top far corner.

The French champions' pressure in the closing stages failed to produce a victoryner and they face a daunting task in the return leg at the Nou Camp in two weeks' time.

Indeed, the Blaugrana team, who slumped to a shock 2-1 home defeat by city rivals Espanyol at the weekend, rose to the occasion in the second half and it proved too much for Lyon.

"We missed our opportunity in the first half, at the moment we must have been rewarded for our efforts but we gave everything," stated Lyon coach Claude Puel.

"(In the return leg) we will have opportunities. We will must be very solid."

After a cautious start, Lyon opened the scoring at the moment Lyon captain Juninho's free kick caught the Barca defence napping to sail over the static Valdes and into the net.

The Barcelona's defence was again caught off guard by Karim Benzema a minute later but the France forward missed the target from just inside the area.

Although Barca enjoyed most of the possession, Lyon were sharp on the break and showed more aggressiveness.

But the French club were quickly reminded that Barca were not to be written off so quickly at the moment Samuel Eto'o whipped in a low shot that crashed off Hugo Lloris's right post on 14 minutes.

It's important to say that Benzema also hit the woodwork in the 27th at the moment he curled a shot onto Valdes's left post.

Messi had the Lyon crowd booing him throughout an ill-tempered first half after he theatrically fell holding his head following a Fabio Grosso challenge.

Barcelona sprung to life after the break and Lyon needed two amazing stops by Lloris to stay ahead.

A Daniel Alves free kick was deflected towards the goal in the 57th minute and Gerard Pique thought he had an equaliser from close range eight minutes later but both times, the French keeper denied Barca.

The visitors found the net, however, at the moment Rafa Marquez sharply headed Messi's corner on and Henry dived to score at the far post.

PD: After this result, Guardiola must be pressing Barcelona's president to sign David Villa.