Champions League - Alexis Sanchez Catapults Barcelona to Victory

Alexi Sanchez gave the lead to Barcelona

Alexi Sanchez thrilled the 30000 crowd
Alexi Sanchez thrilled the 30000 crowd | Source

Champions League - Alexis Sanchez Catapults Barcelona to Victory

Good start by Barcelona


First Half Was Total One-Sided

Barcelona has commenced its long march in the Champions League tournament in Round of 16 with Bayer Leverkusen by 3-1 win in Germany. For most part of the first half, Barcelona dominated with ball possession. Bayer Leverkusen’s half-hearted attempts did not yield fruits. It looked like a total one sided match. But Barcelona also failed to score inspite of ball possession as Leverkusen put up a spirited defence in its area. Alexis Sanchez netted Barcelona’s first goal in the 45th minute. But soon, Michal Kadlec headed an equaliser. Alexis Sanchez scored again in the 55th minute to give a lead to his side. Barcelona maintained this lead till the end. In fact it increased its lead when the super star player Lionel Messi scored two minutes before the normal close of play. Messi’s goal was simply outstanding. The way he ran like a tiger and scored without losing his balance was a treat to the eyes both to the fans in the stadium and to millions of viewers on TV.

Messi Scores A Goal and Helps In another Goal

In fact, Messi should have scored at least two more goals, but missed them narrowly. For Alexi Sanchez, it was a dream start in the Championship League. This was the Chilean player’s first match for Barcelona in the Championship League and he capitalised the advantage shrewdly. But he owed his first goal to Lionel Messi who made a clever forcible pass to Sanchez. Bernd Leno, the Leverkusen goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the ball sizzling through the nets.

Leverkusen Played a Powerful Attack in the Second Half

During the half time, Leverkusen should have been discussing among themselves about their inept display in the first half. They should have come to a unanimous decision to counterattack Barcelona. After all, one does not enter the soccer field for kidding. The fans got irritated with Leverkusen in the first half. Leverkusen compensated their first half toddy show with remarkable agility in the start of the second half. This paid rich dividends for them in the form of an equaliser. Vedran Corluka crossed the ball for Kadlec to jump above his opponents to head home. This was the maiden goal for Kadlec in the Championship League.

Lionel Messi mesierised the crowd with his dazzling display

Will Messi lead Barcelona to victory in the Champions League?
Will Messi lead Barcelona to victory in the Champions League? | Source

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Champions League - Alexis Sanchez Catapults Barcelona to Victory


Cesc Fabrigas Helps Sanchez Score His Second Goal

But the satisfaction for Leverkusen did not last long. A lovely pass from Cesc Fabregas was converted into a goal by Sanchez again. Barcelona had got back their lead again. With just two minutes to go, Barcelona scored their third goal when Messi played a great ball to Dani Alves. Alves made a cross to the Master. Messi made no mistake and side-footed the ball into the nets effortlessly and maintaining the same speed.

Sanchez Was Close To Scoring a Hat-Trick

Valdes made a miraculous one-handed save when Renato Augusto fired on target in the 57th minute. Leverkusen painstakingly came close to a second goal when Gonzalo Castro missed scoring narrowly. In the last twenty minutes of play, Messi came very near to scoring but missed it. But Leverkusen did not give up and came very near in the 78th minute to scoring when substitute Stefan Kiessling received Castro’s curling cross only to find Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes saving it. Sanchez got a chance to perform a hat-trick late in the match. But Leno saved a powerful header.

No Yellow Cards for Barcelona

Pep Guardiola should be a happy man after the match with the performance of his team. On the other hand, Robin Dutt will have to invent some new measures to motivate his team to a steady and good performance in the rest of the tournament. The two teams meet again in the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 7.

Yellow cards: LEV - Daniel Schwaab 8’, Vedran Corluka 53’, Gonzalo Castro 80’
BAR - nil

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