Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Barca Dismisses Panathinaikos 5-1

Coming right after the shocking loss to Hercules in Premier League play last week, Barca's opening match of this years Champion's League campaign was a critical test that the Blaugrana were determined not to lose.  After surviving an initial barrage of shots on goal by the Catalan side, playing on their home turf at Camp Nou, Panathinaikos struck first with a brilliant goal by Govou in the 20th minute, and that was the highlight for the Greeks.  Just two minutes later, Messi wan Kenobi struck on a lovely through ball from Xavi Hernandez for the equalizer, followed by a goal from David Villa.  Messi wan Kenobi found the back of the net a second time before the half, giving Barca a 3-1 advantage, which was sealed with finishing goals by teamates B. Krkic and D. Alves.  Overall, Barca unleashed no less than 28 shots on goal and dominated possession an astonishing 86 %.

Barca is thus off to a smashing start to the UEFA Champions Leage campaign.  Their next Champion's League match is on October 20 against Russian side Rubin Kazan, which will be a greater threat than Panathinaikos was.  Last year Barca was surprisingly defeated in Champion's League play by the Russian team, so this year they will be looking for revenge.  The fact that Rubin Kazan lost their opening match to Danish champions FC Kobenhavn should be encouraging for Barca fans, perhaps indicating that the Russian team has slipped a bit since last year.

Meanwhile, on Saturday its back to League play for Barca, as they go on the road against Atletico Madrid, sure to be one of their more difficult matches of the season.  After last week's loss to Hercules, Barca can't afford to drop any points,but if they play like they did against Panathinaikos, all should be well.

"Everyone knows Barcelona, and everyone is amazed by their team, by the football they play, so there's not much more to say there. They are very strong and after losing a game they are even stronger."  Panathinaikos Coach Nikos Nioplias