Barcelona – AC Milan: CL Quarterfinals Liveblog 2.0

Pep spent the week reading lineup predictions online and has chosen a lineup that exactly 0 people predicted. It’s a massive match today, and we have to win to continue the quest for consecutive Champions League trophies. The liveblog window will be up in a couple minutes.

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Messi, Cuenca

Bench: Pinto, Adriano, Keita, Thiago, Pedro, Tello, Sanchez

Milan XI: Abbiati, Antonini, Nesta, Mexes, Abate, Nocerino, Ambrosini, Boateng, Seedorf, Robinho, Ibrahimovic


Join me a bit before kickoff, which is at 2:45 PM EST.


  1. no sanchez?? But happy with cesc.
    More imp keita doesnt start.
    Go barca. I thought thiago deserved a place

  2. Is Ini playing at the left again.. hope he partners Xavi to create the great big black hole..

  3. Well, second dubious penalty, but what a hell, we’ll take everything in these sort of games. I can’t believe that we only scored 3 from all those chances, so many misses. How the they can’t even hit the goal??????

    1. It’s not dubious it’s just soft by normal standards. But perfectly within the rules.

    2. Do you need them to take your shirt off before you give a penalty? Tugging -> Foul -> PK. Wth was soft in that?

    3. It’s _relatively_ soft. Don’t even try and argue that — you know it’s true. 9/10 times that won’t be a penalty.

      In saying that, I think too much shit goes on in the box during corner kicks and I’m happy to see it punished.

    4. I will. Relativity has got nothing to do with it. Fact is Nesta couldn’t keep his hands off Busi EVEN BEFORE the corner was taken. He was still pulling his shirt when he went down. I don’t care about the ref’s interpretation. The laws say its a foul and a PK.

    5. I don’t think we’re disagreeing here… just pointing out that 9/10 this doesn’t get called.

    6. Abosolutely nothing SOFT about it. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen that given. Just b/c it wasn’t given in the 1st leg doesn’t make it soft. That’s a penalty 10/10 times. You can’t impede someones progress in the box by holding on to their shirt for dear life. I can’t believe “soft” is a consideration. I’m glad the ref finally stepped up and hopefully it will help put a stop to it. It’s ridiculous and I’m tired of seeing it.

    7. @Messiah10

      Wait, if it’s a penalty 10/10 times and you can’t count all the times you’ve seen it called, why are you glad the ref “finally” stepped up? “Hopefully it will help put a stop to it”?!? It seems pretty clear that you understand that the call is not normally given, and that this was a notable exception.

      @ other Barca fans

      …And that’s ok. I understand Barca fans’ frustration (or, well, ambivalence) with occasionally getting the benefit of some questionable calls along the way to success and trophies, but it shouldn’t belittle your accomplishments at all, or at least not your own perception of them. And denying that those calls exist doesn’t make them go away, it just makes you look more partisan (at best) or out of touch with reality (at worst).

    8. Yes because as Cules, we really have to care about what others think. 🙄

      Pep, Masche, (Rio Ferdinand even!) have no doubt that it was a PK. That’s what really matters. Not what people itching to find faults/have a go at us perceive.

      So, stop being delusional. Yes, it may be the case that eventually, some mistake committed by the refs favors us. But the number of legit ’10/10′ calls that we were denied shouldn’t be swept under the rug as well. This season, the latter have been undeniably greater than the former. Even Marca agrees! Keep that in mind while thinking of our numerous successes as well, and not just the decisions that YOU think were contentious and debatable.

      PS: I sincerely hope Sevilla show some spine against EE. That will give you more of our accomplishments to think about..

    9. @ ClearEyes

      Perhaps I worded it incorrectly. It’s a pnealty. Stone cold. It wasn’t called in the 1st leg, so I’m glad the ref stepped up and called it in this game. I’ve seen it called numerous times. Can I recall every game? Probably not. Do I care since FCB won and it’s an after thought? Not at all. I’m just responding to the debate about whether it was a penalty or not. A soft penalty or a spot on penalty. It’s a penalty in regards to the rule book 10/10 times. Yes, they are called often when they are that flagrant

    10. 100% penalty – just because these shirt pulls are rarely seen by referees, it does not mean they are not fouls. Plus we had the same situation, even more blatant last week when Puyol’s shirt was pulled when he tried to head the ball.

  4. no urgency that we saw in Athletic game. we could have ripped milan to shreds with that game. Somehoe nocerino’s goal came at the right time. We ambled from 20-35th minute.

    Somehow i think the edge has gone off xavi’s passing. he is unwilling to take risks and has become another keita in penetrative passing(i.e. blunt. too much sideways and backways passing).
    Thiago should have started since he is willing to run with the ball as well as play the risker passes.
    Puyi was terrible today. Why does he gravitate towards the centre. Anyway happy that we closed it. Milan can have no complaints. Masche was again superb. I hold puyi and not him accountable for nocerino’s goal.

    1. This season we are seeing a more advanced Xavi. At certain point in this game he was actually the man nearest to the milan goal, not to mention him carrying a knock. Over all our experienced players played quite well and despite that goal the defense was great.

    2. I’m not sure I agree with any of the above statements – apart from being happy we’re through 🙂

      Just for the record, for the Milan goal today Masch chased out of defence (again) when he didn’t need to ( two players within touching distance of Robinho anyway) then dashed back just in time to play them onside and cause the goal. In the second half he committed a needless tackle coming through the back to get himself booked then arguably should have caused a penalty against us with another needless tackle on Ibra when the ball was actually going away from our goal. Now he did have some very good moments as well but let’s try to stay real here.

      I just pray Pique is available for Chelsea or Drogba has a field day.

    3. I agree Monster Mash was guilty for the 1st goal but that tackle was all CLASS. No way that’s a foul. All ball and only his momentum and upper body made Robinho fall over him. Mash is a MONSTER. The goal started by not putting enough pressure on IbraKadabra. Granted, his back was to goal and he pulled off a touch of class to put that ball through so many bodies. I gained a new respect for Ibra for his hold up play. He won almost every header I saw from a goal kick and held it up nicely for Milan to advance. It’s his job, but he doesn’t it well. Take for instance. . . Andy Carroll

    4. He got the ball but it was still a dangerous play – how many times have you seen defenders launch into a tackle of this sort and miss the ball but get get the man? And how many times has this caused injuries?

      I am with the ref on this one – it is the same reason why raising your leg high inches from someone’s head and playing with the ball without ever touching him is called.

    5. Fair enough. I’ll reconsider my position. Still love the tackle though. It was probably a statement b/c of some shenanigans that were going on just b/4 it occured.

    6. My point was that it wasn’t necessary. I’ve said all along that I worried about his positional play and his seeming need to go off his feet and make tackles. It had to be a yellow and could have been worse with some refs. Add that to his needless tackle during their penalty claim on Ibra and he might not have finished the match. He did the same for Robinho’s chance in the first game. He was marking Robinho and left him to do a sliding block which wasn’t necessary and took him clean out of position resulting in Robinho’s clear chance. This tonight was just another example.

      Not saying he doesn’t have some good points – I thought the whole defence had a good game tonight as Milan are better than some give them credit for and he generally played his part- just that there are a lot of blinkers around here where he is concerned.

  5. For once, the ref had balls to call those penalties, especially the 2nd one coz all Italian teams play dirty in the area.

  6. My only guess is that Pep does’t want to waste Alexis talent being planted on the left all the time hope he isn’t inuried also. Good game from the guys, Cuenca was awesome so as Cesc, Iniesta and of course Mash even Busi got forward.

  7. What a typical professional performance from Barca in yet another crunch game.

    Mascha is so immense I find it inexpressible.

    Cuenca played a great game tactically too along with Busi as we’ve come to expect.

    And finally…Leo, so heartwarming to see his performance in defense. It was great to watch. He wasn’t very different from his compatriot in defense and attack. The world best player more than justifies this title.

    Onwards to Chelsea and the final.
    Adriano, you gotta put those chances bro.

    1. Yeah Adriano should have put it away, but Messi should’ve(can’t believe he missed that, sitter for his standards), Iniesta miss hit some great chances, or didn’t take them, Thiago missed the golden chance to put the game to bed early. What a pass from Messi. Instead, I sat anxiously for another 15-20 minutes

  8. Iniesta was too quiet in that 1st half. Had too many giveaways ( like 3 in the first 8min)

    Fabregas also a passenger.

    MACHERANO once again MOTM for me.

    1. i thought Masche got played out of position at their goal… still, what a fighter!!

    2. Iniesta did have some bad passes at the beginning but SO DID Busi!!! OMG. I thought defenisvely he was a beast but didn’t have that sharpness to his passing and sense of others positions. Dani hasn’t had that great passing game for quite a few in a row. He penetrates wonderfully but then doesn’t possess the touch or ball control to do anything with it. As mentioned above. Xavi has been hesitant the last couple of games to try that killer pass. Maybe the runs aren’t there. Maybe because of injury. I don’t know, but he was also insistent on going through the middle when Cuenca was getting around his marker every time. Overall, we were brillant defensively except the 1 lapse. That was mostly Mash from what I saw, but he came up HUGE more than enough to cancel it out. I was so irritated at seeing Milan grab our players and pull Messi’s arm and kit. WTH? Ref could’ve produced a few double yellows and there would’nt have been an arguement. Oh wait, Milan…yeah they would’ve

  9. For the 5th Time Barça advanced to the UCL Semifinal! El Barça de los Récords 🙂

    Barça has kept Milan way too long alive should have capitalized more of their Opportunitys @firsthalf.

    Team looked imbalanced at Midfield and Flanks sometimes and allowed Milan too much.

    Anyway the battle is won now up to the next!

    1. And that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whatever happens now, and anything can, this has been a great campaign. We still need to sort out what happens when Xavi isn’t there ( for me Iniesta had to go central – he is the best keeper of a ball we have next to Xavi) and we need to find someone apart from Messi who can finish chances.

    2. Agree on the Seasonsummary. Speaks volumes about the Team to ashieve such results besides numerous obstacles.

      Yeah for short term it should be Iniesta and Thiago should takeover his Job in doing the magically stuff.

      Lack of Finishing is a serious Issue Team lacks another reliable second Forward..
      Always thought that Barça would never have a player again like Rivaldo who can carry on the Team largely on his own but Messi surpasses him.

  10. Sooooo….
    I’ve put the cava in the freezer to chill by the time hubby gets home. Getting ready for a Barca DVR watching date. Gonna kick the kids off the real TV and it’s gonna be a good night! Ofcourse I already watched it by streaming cable on my desktop and he’s already followed it at work via gamecast, but still…

    Any news about Pique’s injury?

    Papa Ghostface dedicating his goal to Valeria who turns 1 today. How cute!

    With 37.5%, Milan had the 3rd most possession of any away team at the Camp Nou in the CL since Guardiola is coach #fcblive #ucl [via opta]
    We’re pretty good at this football thing!

    1. Thanks for that stat Mom! Sounds like a nice evening, but if your kids are like my son(13), they’ll put up a fight! lol. What a stat. 37.5% is 3rd best! Unreal. I am concerned about Pique. Especially, since he’s been PIQUE!!! He played brilliantly. As did Masch, Puyol, hell, the whole team! One of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen. Other than the game before against Bilbao. 2 GREAT games in a row. I like how it’s coming together in the past 10 games. Most of our guys are healthy and in form. As mentioned before, I am concerned about our lack of a quality #2 poacher. We counted on Pedro, Villa, Henry, and even Ibra for extra goals in games Messi couldn’t get off. We DON”T have that now 🙁

  11. Fabregas was not a passenger, but had a great game.
    Personally i hated when Busi was making some awkward passes together with Iniesta.
    I just hate those fancy passes that lead to counterattack from the opponent or a dangerous play in our box. I prefer safe passes, especially when you are playing MILAN!!!

  12. Alves, Piqué, Masch and Puyol were all rocks today.

    Can slide tackles cleanly two times in 5 seconds. Can you love this guy more? Unreal.

  13. poor Busi i don’t even want to imagine what’s coming…
    he was kicked all night and he got no sympathy. the shares in Busi Fairness Committee must be going to the roof now.

    loved Cesc tonight, and that other guy…one running down the right side, from attack to defense and back all night. what a player!!!

    it may have not been a vintage performance but we were so good. for a game with this Milan we were really good. allowing them so little chances!

  14. Deeply impressed by Cuenca playing in such a big Game and staying calm all the Time.

    Well i hope that Piqués injury isn’t a serious need for bad news.

  15. Guardiola: “Pique has a bit of overburdening, we’ll see in the coming days how it goes.” (Barcastuff)

    Not sure what that means but doesn’t sound too serious.

    1. For what it’s worth, here is another nuetral defender’s take on the 2nd:
      barcastuff ‏ @barcastuff
      Rio Ferdinand (Man United): “The ref has followed the rules there…shirt pull = foul. Messi = nerveless” #fcblive #ucl [@rioferdy5]

    2. However,

      I must say this. Shirt pull yes. How often is that called for a penalty? Maybe 5% to 10% of the time.

      Remember also, that pick plays are legal in basketball and not in football. Puyol set a fine pick on Nesta. It wasn’t called. I like Dutch referees …

      The English and especially Chelsea fans are going to have a field day on the warding of that second penalty. Rightly or wrongly … I’m just sayin’.

      I’ll also say this: “I want to rip Chelsea the biggest new one in the history of new ones!”

    3. eh, it wasn’t that clear penalty. and rules are never easy to apply to cases at the limit. i think the italians were arguing that the ball was not in play at the moment… never the less, quite surprising for nesta and his experience to position himself hanging from busi’s shirt. made sense the force the foul …

      haha, Ibra complaining, agreeing with JM that at Nou Camp refs are helping us. he should go play at SB see how many penalties he will get there 🙂

    4. Well he may be neutral but it still was a soft one. Ferdinands been in the game for like 12+ years and hed be going crazy if that kinda decision went against ManU in the epl.

      Intepretation of rules in football preferably should be mixed in with common sense Imo.

      But even if you go ahead to inteprete the rules of the game to the letter then you gotta be consistent and also give Milan a pen for the SMach tackle on Ibra.

      Poor tackle, missed the ball, defenite contact = Pen (by the rules)

      Not saying the ref won us the game. All im saying is that soft Pen hardly gets awarded and now the referee is dominating discussions which is unfortunate

    5. Nonetheless Alegri and Italien media will complain.

      They somehow must have forgotten about the clear penalty (on Alexis, as far as I remmember) not given for us in the first leg.

      The haters will always find something…

    6. Remember, it’s only a controversy if the referee decision helps Barca! It’s the same nonsense that happened in the first leg of our tie with Chelsea a few years ago, just swap Alexis for Henry.

    7. Allegri didn’t complain..yet.But Mr. Longnose did xD

      It’s seems it’s trendy nowadays to badmouth Barças achievements..

  16. More relieved than ecstatic to be honest.

    However, I’m very proud of this club. Five straight UCL SFs … that is mind boggling. It truly is. Well done FCB!

    Fifteen minutes of Keita is far more palatable than ninety minutes of Keita. It just is. This doesn’t mean I hate Keita. People put words in your mouth before they think. This is the best Barça ever people. Keita is a very good player. But unless we have the injuries to warrant it, Keita does not belong on the pitch for ninety minutes in a knockout UCL match. Not for this Barça. Period. Full stop.

    Two names — Cesc and Thiago. Both did not see one minute in the first leg but were on the team sheet. Those that think Keita, as good as he is, admittedly, is a better midfielder than either Cesc or Thiago need medication. As for Pep, he slipped in the shower in Milan the morning of the first leg and bumped his head. That’s my explanation.

    Anyway, I’m not trying to upset anyone here. I hope we get Chelsea and really rip them a new one!!

    Visca Barça!!

    Five consecutive UCL SFs!!! This is some club people!!

    1. Don’t like taking two tweets from Barcastuff but couldn’t resist this one

      Guardiola: “Zlatan whining? I can’t talk about his performance, that’s up to his coach. I could talk about his games against Inter in 2010.” (Barcastuff)

      LOL and triple LOL 🙂

    2. “Those that think Keita, as good as he is, admittedly, is a better midfielder than either Cesc or Thiago need medication. As for Pep, he slipped in the shower in Milan the morning of the first leg and bumped his head. That’s my explanation.

      Anyway, I’m not trying to upset anyone here. I hope we get Chelsea and really rip them a new one!!”

      I wrote a series of paragraphs explaining why I wish you would word your objections differently out of a sense of politeness and respect but I deleted it all. I’m very suspicious that you’re not going to listen to a stranger over the internet.

      I am going to say that when a person consistently phrases things in rude ways one (or at least I) eventually stops valuing their said person’s input.

      I maintain that there’s nothing offensive with disagreeing with Pep and there’s nothing offensive with rating one player less than another. But I do believe that in this space, there is something offensive about doing so in a manner that demeans the intelligence and opinions of others.

  17. Pep trolling again. LOVE IT:

    “Zlatan whining? I can’t talk about his peformances, that’s up to his coach. I can talk about his performances against Inter in 2010.”

    via Barcastuff

    1. Magnificent!

      Pep is normally so subtle. But that made me spit my tea out. 😀

    2. Everyone knows that whomever won this tie would gloat just a little.

      Can you imagine how much the large ponytailed Bosnian/Swedish donkey would be gloating had Milan progressed? We would need half a decade to live it down.

      Q) What’s beneath ever fella that has a pony tail?

      A) An asshole. Full stop. Period.

  18. And I’ve gotta say this, “Has anyone ever seen a man run as much on a pitch as Alves?”

    I think the man runs in his sleep. An absolute BEAST!!!

  19. For I am Zlatan and all the whiners:
    Nesta (Milan): “Thought ref wouldn’t give a second penalty. In Europe the referees act different than in Italy. Messi made the difference.”

    So he did the foul, and he thought the ref wouldn’t mind.

    1. That’s what i dislike so much about Barcastuff. It’s unfair not to include everything that Nesta said, just to fit a purpose. He also goes on to say that he felt he was fouled by Puyol first, before he did the foul on Busi.

      Before anyone jumps on my back. I am just pointing out what the full quote is. Not giving an opinion on the penalty.

    2. which btw is BS..he clearly fouls Busi first..Nesta’s just clinging on thin air here…

  20. hurr durr italian defense..hurr durr…pull the shirt, tackles from behind, play on a potato field..i am glad that ultra cynical play has been defeated…Visca Barça!

    For the record, I think that foul on Ibra by Mascherano was probably a penalty but then again, Barcelona were denied 3 (at best) or 2 (if you are so cynical) pretty clear cut penalties in things balance out..

    1. I-taly is the home of anti-football. It was invented there. However, I must say, Milan is the most anti-I-talian football team of all the I-talian football teams out there.

      They should still be ashamed of themselves for the way they conducted themselves in the first leg. And I don’t need to go into that. I’ll just say this, “I’m a lover of football first and foremost”. If Barça doctored their pitch in the first leg, and conducted themselves in the same manner, I would search for another club.

      The word reprehensible comes to mind. If you don’t believe me, just ask Arsenal what they think of the I-talians conduct during their own first leg tie.

      I-talians! Bah! Hum bug! And now, good riddance to bad rubbish!

      I hope Spain castrates them at the Euros!

      Now to go and gloat at an I-talian watering hole and order an espresso. I’m a bad boy — I know, I know.

    2. I have to disagree.

      Milan, just like Juve and Inter, have always been typical Italian football teams.

      Most anti-Italian is nowadays Neaples, maybe also Roma. Also Udine and (at least during some of the last seasons) Fiorentina are less typical Italian.

      Inter is THE stereotype, but I would never call AC Milan the most anti-Italian football team!

    3. Most of the world would. Even the Spanish, who despise the I-talian way of playing footy. Amongst them all (I-talians), Milan has always been the most respected for their quality of footy. Just sayin’.

  21. I just have to say: PEP is the freakin BOSS! His presser is one big WORD. I love him. Please Pep never leave!

    The only complaints I have about this match (and we really shouldnt, we’re through to our FIFTH consecutive CL Semi!!) is that Puyi is a liability at LB, IMO. He kept pinching in and gifting space to any attacker who decided to attack our left. We should also learn to bury our chances. 32 shots and only 3 goals?

    But a smart game played overall. Didnt like the lineup but we still pulled through. These players are immense. Milanistas (and their Barca-hater lackies) should cry me a river. Those pens were legit and deserved. Camp Nou crowd, from what I could hear, was also immense.

    1. well I think Puyol was under instruction to stay as narrow as possible and we overburdened their left by having Cuenca stay wide and having Alves bulldoze his way through whenever possible

      Its pretty safe to say that Pep tactically bitchslapped Allegri here

      And how Ambrosini stayed on the pitch I will never know!

    2. That’s his job, Kim. The bigger worry is leaving a gap between himself and Pique. He and Pique also played a storm in terms of holding the offside line. Their positional sense for that kind of thing is usually excellent.

  22. Pep just gave an instant classic! What happened to class and saying, “yeah, the better team won. I don’t agree with the decision, but we were outplayed and we should’ve overcome it.”???? These guys are so spoiled and used to getting what they wnat, when they want it, that they act like children. Accountability anyone?

  23. How can people complain about the penalty when it’s clear that shirt-pulling is a foul? Hell, that’s the reason Cuenca got carded!

    The fact that most refs don’t call that foul doesn’t mean that shirt pulling is acceptable. It just means that those refs are incompetent.

    Bottom line: if an action is listed in the laws of the game as a foul, then it’s a foul and should be called every single time it happens.

  24. Yes, we’re through!!!

    To football fans, if you think that pulling a shirt inside a penalty box is not a penalty, I suggest you go petition UEFA/FIFA to eliminate that rule. What’s a point of having that rule in the first place?

  25. The problem with any rule is application. It’s like training a puppy. The first time you deviate from a given application of praise/discipline, that’s what your little one remembers.

    Shirt-pulling in the box is illegal. Period. Now, referees start to use their interpretations of the rule, and that’s when it gets murky. So they see an incident and judge, did it impede or not, was it pertinent to play, etc, etc, then they rule.

    By context of the rule, the Busquets shirt tug was a penalty. Dead on. The spirit of the game is where I think many have an issue with it. It’s like the notion that referees aren’t going to call a foul late in an American basketball playoff game, preferring to let the players decide it. That’s fine, but again, where is the line drawn? Valid question.

    –As for the hate that some have for Keita, I don’t get it. I used to not think much of him. Ramzi (@footballmood on Twitter) fixed that for me. I spent a match and just watched Keita. Dude is boss. But he’s like if the invisible man was a restaurant waiter. How did that water glass get full? Stuff just happens, and he makes it happen, or gets in the way of stuff happening for the opponent, makes runs into the box, etc.

    Someone said that anyone who thinks Keita is a better midfielder than so or so needs to have their head examined, which isn’t entirely accurate, as you can’t compare Keita to other types of players that we have. He is unique. Ask me (and Guardiola) which player he is going to want against a big, physical midfield and chances are it’s going to be Keita. Because that’s what he does. His play in that San Siro leg was immense, and a very good counter to what Milan was planning/attempting.

    But I’m also not inclined to think that the man who won 13 or 16 trophies with this club is stupid. If he says he’d go to war with Keita, and he has on many an occasion, you won’t catch me arguing. There are players who are less worthy, with their play this season, who deserve to take stick. Keita isn’t one of them, for my money …. and Pep Guardiola’s.

    But it’s player favoritism or dislike that is part of being a fan. Some say Mascherano was boss. Others say he had a pretty good game, but he did x, y, z and q wrong. It all depends. It also depends on how someone weights a bad action, I guess. I remember that Valencia match, in which Abidal was at the center of both those goals against. And you can say why did he tap that first one into our own net, and make a valid issue. Or you can say that if Valdes had called him off the ball and scooped it up, nothing would have happened.

    Again, it depends on your view of Abidal. Fans will like and dislike certain players. It’s just part of the deal.

    1. It’s up to ones own subjectivity and interpretations. I believe Keita was needed in a physical game as the one today. Obviously Pep does. I’m trust Pep to death.
      As for personal statements and the things one see in the press I like more Abi, Iniesta or Pedro than Keita or Pique, but that’s just an opinion. They are incredible players, and thanks to them all we can celebrate today qualifying to semis.
      I would have prefered though to have won with 5 goals, none of them a penalty. We are gonna take a lot of flac from the central lechera. I won’t be the masochist cule who watches punto pelota today.

    2. K,

      You’re an intelligent man and you can write a Russian novel about how you think Keita is a superior midfielder to either Cesc or Thiago. You won’t convince me no matter how many words you write and no matter how eloquently. My eyes I trust more than your words. And I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. I’ve probably been watching the sport longer than you’ve been a fan of it.

      One of the reasons for our result in the first leg was Pep’s decision to play Keita 90 minutes while two superior footballers (midfielders) played zero.

      And while Pep is a brilliant coach, he does make mistakes. Don’t kid yourself. Everyone does. Even Jesus.

      I will agree to disagree with you. Believe what you wish. If I disagree with anyone, including Pep, I will say so. Not to do so becomes a cult mentality.

    3. Abidal however is BOSS. He was a worthy starter in the big matches. No disagreement there.

      Keita, however, is a good role/squad player for the best Barça ever. This is just a fact. He may not even be with the team next year.

      One word Kx — perspective. Please. I implore you. Keita is not Abidal. Never was. Never will be. Don’t mean to disrespect Keita. That’s not my intention. Keita was never as important to FCB as Abidal. Let’s not mince words people.

      Succinctness quite often is more cogent than a Russian novel. Sometimes because one is on an i-Phone but generally speaking an economy of words which hit at the heart of the matter is just more … incisive, intelligent, and less superfluous. Not saying that you are, but sometimes when people go on and on and on and don’t get to the point I just tune out. Look at it this way. If I had cancer I just want my doctor to get to the point and not go on some sort of Russian soliloquy.

      Just sayin’. I’m really not trying to rip you. But Keita is no Cesc nor Thiago. Sorry mate — I’m just not havin’ it. Pep made a mistake, slipped in the shower in Milan, and bumped his head. That’s the rational explanation.

      Let’s rip Chelsea the biggest new one in the history of new ones!!

      Visca Barça!!

      Onwards and upwards!

    4. And one last word on this matter, for the idealism of succinctness, had Pep selected Keita to start this match (2nd leg, at home, 0-0 aggregate before kick-off), I was ready to ring my therapist. Full stop. Period. End of sentence.

      And for those sanctimonious folks out there, and there are a few, I’ve suffered from depression. So, I think I have a right to joke about it off the cuff without some people getting offended by a light hearted joke. Some people need how to laugh and not take themselves too seriously. I won’t name names but this one is definitely not directed at Kx.

      Have a laugh sometimes people. Life is too short to be a gal or a fella with something stuck up their posteriors.

      And if you take offence to this, well, I take offence to your taking offence.

    5. And another thing:

      There’s only one thing I loathe more than sanctimonious sons of bitches — and it’s llamas wearing sweaters. Damn pretentious sweater wearing llamas, I say.

    6. And,

      What’s next now? Are you going to write an essay and try to convince me how Keita is superior to Xavi and Iniesta?

      You see where I’m going with this?

      One word and it’s succinct: preposterous.

  26. What’s this myth about pens for shirt pulling in the box being soft?
    I seem to remember shirt pulling in the box being punished on the biggest stage in world football..THE WORLD CUP.
    Because its sometimes unseen and unpunished doesnt mean its not in the rule book.
    Nesta was pulling Busi’s shirt in full view of the ref. That was the dumbest thing he could have done for a socalled experienced and bestest defender ever.

    His response after the match was even dumber. He basically said that he didnt think the ref would call two pens in a CL match so he did it. So, in other words, he knew the rules but did it anyways because he didnt think ref would call it. Well, I hope this is a msg to all shirt pullers (even ours- Cuenca got carded for it). I hated it on the weekend when Javi Martinez kept on doing it unpunished. Its unfair. Maybe Spanish refs should start carding more for that rather than carding for every stinkin handball whether the ball was kicked on to your hand or not!


    I don’t know if it was Puyi’s job to basically vacate his LB position..
    He knows he lacks pace yet many times he would be pinched in and near the half way line and caught out when an attack came that way. It was unnerving to see him struggling to get back to defend potential threats. Well, I just thank God Milan were’nt THAT threatening.

    I miss Abi :/

  27. Pep: “Penalty? Two clear penalties weren’t give to us at San Siro and we didn’t say anything. Player was held back, that’s a penalty.”

    Pep: “If Mr. Ibrahimovic says that it’s thanks to the refs, that’s fine, but it’s 5 times to the semis. We speak on the field.”

    “Zlatan whining? I can’t talk about his performance, that’s up to his coach. I could talk about his games against Inter in 2010.”

    Pep laying a verbal smackdown on the BANGS…The Troll DNA is strong in this one 😀

    1. Yes! That is key. Five straight times to the UCL SFs! In today’s footy that is unfathomable. Truly unbelievable.

      Ibra — sit down please — and stop talking, stop talking now.

  28. Also, can someone explain how the hell Ambrosini stayed on the pitch?
    Pulling down Cesc, holding back Thiago, there’s two yellows right there!

    1. Oh man, I remember that episode. Cruelest, funniest thing I’ve ever seen Cartman do, which is saying something.

    2. Ahsan,

      That was brilliant! I saved it in my “favs”. I don’t just save any random Barca blog or BFB link. I’m going back to check out the other musings. Let the haters hate. That’s what they do. I’m glad I don’t have to live life so depressingly angry and myopic. I think I’ve been through all 5 stages and come out a better person and supporter for them. It’s nice to see someone else has to. Peace

  29. When the Iniesta scores watch out!!!

    Hide the women (and the sheep for all of you Scottish out there)!!

  30. Been watching FSC coverage. No complaints or controversy there. Nice unbiased reporting. Funny. Milan would’ve won if we hadn’t been “gifted” the 2nd penalty. Especially, from all the “chances” they created. LOL

  31. Just finished watching the match. For me, the two penalties were justifiable. Overall, the referee did fine. Our defense looked solid. I actually enjoyed watching us defend more than attack. And Pep was right, the pitch was perfect which made watching this game more enjoyable than the first leg.

    No man of the match for me. Everyone played on the same level. Our finishing is a concern though. A few clear chances should have been put away. This team needs a consistent goal scorer aside from Messi. The past few matches made me miss Villa. He’s a type of player who can score from tight situations (FK vs Milan, World Cup goals against park-bus teams, Super Copa goal etc…).

    I think we should use liga matches to sharpen our scoring abilities. It’s crunch time and I hope Pep would stop experimenting with his forward players. Allow Alexis and Pedro(or Tello) to gain match fitness and start scoring by playing them consistently in the league. Right now, the team has a better chance of retaining the CL, so they should plan accordingly.

  32. Really impressed with Cuenca’s game. Played an intelligent 90 minutes, hardly gave away the ball and stayed wide. People seem to have chosen Tello as their new favorite youngster, but I really enjoy watching Cuenca play because of his football intelligence. Pep praised him after the match and rightly so.

    Also thought Dani and Busi were excellent on the night.

    BTW, Adriano’s attempt on goal had me laughing out loud for real. Unbelievable.

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