Thursday, March 14, 2013

Barcelona Pulls off a Stunner but Surprises No One

No side had ever come back from being down 0-2 on aggregate to advance to the quarter finals of the Champions League so the prospects didn’t look good for Barcelona despite their storied history. To make the odds even more steep they were lining up against AC Milan, a side with some pretty good pedigree as well. Well, someone forgot to mention the odds to the Spaniards and the 95 thousand in attendance as not only did Barcelona make up the deficit in the first half, but they shut down ACM defensively and put up a 4-0 shutout to move on with a what would seem like a comfortable +2 aggregate that those who might have just tuned in to catch the final eight would have expected as going into the tournament Barcelona was one of the favorites as the World’s best player Lionel Messi has been playing at the top of his game when teamed up with David Villa present the most formidable duo in football. The rub is that they haven’t been healthy, or had their best side on the pitch long enough to display that continuity that on paper looks to be unmatched. On Tuesday it all came together and was on full display as the speed and accuracy of the passing and execution on the chances they did create made the football world finally see them exercise their full potential, and those Barce faithful say “we told you so”. They are a side that no one wants to see in the round of 8, but there are plenty of quality sides left as the tournament certainly lives up to its name. Real, PSG, and Juventus you might have expected but Dortmund look usually strong and Malaga could be a side of destiny. Bayern and Galatasaray are a bit of a surprise to round out the quarterfinals, so plenty of obstacles still in the way, but any fan of the game who likes to see good football got an exhibition of what it could be like when it all comes together.