Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Champions League QF: Barcelona vs Shakhtar (1st Leg)

Barcelona vs Shakhtar – 1st Leg
April 7 @ 4:30AM

Shakhtar, first-timers in the quarterfinals stage, will be facing Barca which people are saying is the “best team in the world right now” and that they are a shoo in to reach the semis and maybe even the finals.  I love what Shakhtar Donetsk general manager, Serhy Palkin, said.  He said team will show up and he urged them not to stay locked inside the dressing room with fear.  Furthermore:

"If we can't beat them then who can? The Catalans have more chances of winning the tournament compared to other teams, fortune has smiled on us.  But, anything can happen, and so we cannot abandon the pitch without even playing them first. We have to look at the two games with optimism."  – Sherhy Palkin

He is right, though.  As much as I love, love, love Barca and their chances in advancing to the semis are high, I will still be crossing my fingers because as I’ve said before, with football, anything can happen.  Especially with a team like Shakhtar who are also known for their attacking style of football.  Barca really needs to make sure their defense is tight and organized.  They will be missing skipper, Puyol, who is still out on injury (and of course Abidal is still recovering from his surgery) but at least Pique is coming back from suspension.

I hope to get to see another match like their 2nd leg game against Arsenal.  That was some amazing football!

Click here to check out how Shakhtar’s main defense players reacted to the news that they were facing Barca in the quarterfinals.  If Shakhtar is intimidated by Barca, I wonder if Barca feels pressured with what people are saying about them.  I mean, do they feel pressured to live up to all these expectations of being called the best team in the world?

Because I’m such a Messi fan, here’s a random trivia which really has nothing to do in this post that I just want to share: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has scored 25 goals in his last 30 matches in the Champions League and 14 in his last 11 starts. The Argentine also has taken 20 shots on target, more than any player in the competition this campaign (source:

Stadium: Camp Nou (Barca’s Home Turf)

More here:

Messi makes light of pressure on Barcelona

The worst moment was when Barcelona's name came out and we were still in the draw - stars speak ahead of Champions League quarter-finals

Johan Cruyff unsure whether Barcelona will eliminate Shakhtar Donetsk to reach Champions League semi-finals

Chygrynskiy seeks Camp Nou consolation

Barcelona vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk are Pep Guardiola's nightmare draw

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