Gerardo Martino opted
for a strong line-up,
restoring many of
Barcelona’s internationals
to the starting XI –
although somewhat

puzzlingly, there was no
room in the Barça attack for
superstar and
former Santos forward
Neymar. Victor Valdés
started in goal;
Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué,
Javier Mascherano and
Jordi Alba teamed up in
defense with
Sergio Busquets, Xavi
Hernández and Andrés
Iniesta paired together in
midfield. However, instead
Pedro started in place of
Neymar, while Lionel Messi
and Alexis Sánchez kept
their place in the front-line.
Would this strong
Barcelona team be able to
regain the Joan Gamper
Trophy, or would Santos
shock the Camp Nou crowd
with a surprise victory?
Wearing a special version
of their new home jersey to
raise awareness – and
cold, hard cash – for the
Itinerarium Foundation,
Barcelona got the game
started at the Camp Nou,
immediately settling into
their usual rhythm. It may
have been the first
appearance of pre-season
for many of these players,
but it was like they’d never
been gone; the ease with
which the Blaugrana worked
ball around was
magnificent, and it wasn’t
long before Barça began to
create a few chances.
First to test Santos
goalkeeper Aranha was
Lionel Messi, who climbed
above the Santos defense
to register the game’s first
shot on target – a header
after a nice cross from Dani
Alves, who has changed to
number 22 to honour his
former colleague,
Eric Abidal – and Messi’s
effort was soon followed up
by a shot from Pedro. While
the build-up was terrific,
Pedro’s finish wasn’t so
great, as he dragged his
shot wide of the target,
albeit from a difficult angle.
Still, it was an encouraging
sign for the hosts who
were looking to make their
early spell of dominance
Rather than “if”, it was
almost a question of “when”
first goal would come
for Barcelona – and who
would get it. Without
Neymar in the starting line-
up, the smart money was
on Lionel Messi to open the
scoring – and sure enough,
eight minutes on the
clock, Messi made it 1-0.
Capitalising on a defensive
mistake, Messi kept his
composure to round the
challenge of Aranha and
calmly pass the ball into the
back of the net,
characterising what had
been a straight-forward
start for the Blaugrana.
And it didn’t take long for
Barcelona to double their
advantage, as yet another
Santos error led to a
Blaugrana goal on 11
minutes. Dani Alves, who
had been performing well
on the right-flank,
provided a cross, and
veteran left-back Leo
attempted to clear the
danger, only to
inadvertently direct the ball
over Aranha and into his
own goal. Santos simply
couldn’t deal with
Barcelona’s quality, and it
was shaping up to be a
long night for the Peixe.
Whether confidence was
low, or whether Santos
were just playing badly,
their luck didn’t change as
a poor free-kick from
Durval led to a third goal
with just 21 minutes played
at the Camp Nou. Launching
the ball forward and into
the Barça half, Durval must
have thought he had
cleared the danger, only
for Barcelona to bring the
ball right back up field
through Lionel Messi who
selflessly passed up an
opportunity to score his
second of the night, instead
it across the
penalty area to his
offensive partner, Alexis
Sánchez. Faced with a
simple chance, Sánchez
kept his cool, took a touch
to steady himself and
slotted the ball into the
back of the net.
It was all too easy for the
Blaugrana, and despite the
scoreline, there was no
sign of a fight-back from
Santos. In fact, quite the
opposite; Santos seemed
content to sit back and go
into damage limitation mode
– or maybe there were
incapable of a comeback
thanks to Barcelona’s
asphyxiating high-line of
pressure? Whatever the
case, Barça were able to
attack and attack without
repercussion – even the
defenders were getting
involved as Alexis Sánchez
smartly played a pass into
space to find the
overlapping run of Jordi
Alba, and the Catalan full-
back teed the ball up
beautifully for Pedro, who
walked it in to give
Barcelona their fourth goal
of the evening.
Thankfully, there was a
little respite for the shell-
shocked Santos defense –
in the remainder of the half
Barça “only” created a
couple of half-chances,
meaning that the Manita (if
we were going to get one),
would have to wait until the
second-half. Maybe Neymar
provide the finishing
Indeed, Neymar was
brought on by Martino at
the half, along with seven
other first-team players –
Jose Manuel Pinto,
Marc Bartra,
Martin Montoya,
Adriano Correia,
Alex Song,
Sergi Roberto and Cesc
Fàbregas were all given 45
minutes to shine, replacing
Pedro, Victor Valdés,
Gerard Piqué, Dani Alves,
Jordi Alba, Sergio
Busquets, Xavi and Andrés
Iniesta respectively.
I’m sure Santos were
hoping that the near full-
scale changes would help
them regain a foothold in
this game, but Barça
started the second-half in
a similar vein. With a fresh
line-up, their pressing
intensified and they soon
completed the Manita. There
a touch of fortune in
the build-up to the goal, as
Alexis Sánchez’ lazy pass
was fortuitously deflected
back to his feet by Cicero,
which allowed the Chilean a
second chance – and this
time he made no mistake.
Finding Cesc Fàbregas with
another good pass,
Sánchez claimed his first
assist of the night thanks
to Fàbregas’ exceptional
Mercifully, Martino took this
as an opportunity to rest
Lionel Messi, as the
Argentine departed with
roughly half-an-hour left to
with talented striker-
Marie Dongou taking his
place in the Barça attack.
With Messi off the field,
surely Santos would be
able to stem the flow of
goals, right?
Well, wrong, as Neymar
was still on the field and as
Santos well know, he’s
more than capable of
scoring a goal or two
himself. And as a result,
Neymar often draws the
attention of multiple
defenders – a situation he
can really use to his
advantage, particularly in a
Blaugrana jersey. Now
when he draws a couple of
defenders away from their
assignments, he’s freeing
up space for Lionel Messi,
or in this case, Cesc
Fàbregas and the Brazilian
is talented enough to pick
out the pass too. Fàbregas
made no mistake with his
finish, and just like that,
Neymar had registered his
first assist in Barça
Six goals to the good, and
still Barcelona showed no
signs of relenting. The
pressure was just as
fierce, and well, the quality
was obviously still there. All
the pitch in fact, as
Adriano got in on the
action, scoring Barcelona’s
seventh in some style – it
really was a golazo!
Adriano received the ball
short from the corner and
had just one thing on his
mind – scoring. And credit
to the Brazilian, as that’s
exactly what he did,
bending a long-range effort
the top corner of the
Santos net. Vladimir had no
chance – which ultimately
summed up this game really.
the first minute,
Santos simply didn’t have a
Dongou added an eighth
with less than ten minutes
to play; Fàbregas turned
provider with a good low
cross from the byline, and
left with the simplest of
chances, Dongou couldn’t
miss. Neymar nearly
completed the rout with a
ninth, only to see his effort
crash off the bar – it would
have been a fairy-tale
ending, although an 8-0
scoreline isn’t something to
be sniffed at!



  1. Prosferoume agores – pwlhseis – antallages kosmhmatwn,
    polytimwn lithwn, rologiwn, xryses lyres, enexyra akoma
    kai erga texnhs. Epishs kanoume kai dwrean ektimhseis. Se
    ena aneto kai asfalh xwro boreite na erthete na syzhthsoume
    anthrwpina kai na lysoume tyxon peristasiako sas oikonomiko

    Agorazoume kosmhmata, metaxeirismena rologia kai nomismata, h
    ta vazoume enexyro kai sas dinoume xrhmata amesws. Me tous
    kalyterous orous prosferoume agores – pwlhseis – antallages
    kosmhmatwn, polytimwn lithwn, rologiwn, xryses lyres, enexyra
    akoma kai erga texnhs. Epishs kanoume kai dwrean ektimhseis.

    Sthn agora paliwn kosmhmatwn exoume megalh empeiria kai gnwseis
    giati eimaste palioi texnites. Eimaste ena apo ta
    enexyrodaneisthria poy leitourgoyn me kratikh adeia kai
    boreite na mas exete apolyth empistosynh. H exemytheia einai
    gia mas xrysos kai o skopos mas einai h oso to dynaton
    kalyterh kai symferousa eksyphrethsh sas. Dynatoi gia na sas
    eksyphretoyme, eilikrinhs gia na sas prostateyoume.
    Enexyra Athina


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