It had been a relatively balanced match, until both teams started playing rough with a lot of fouls, which lead to a nasty tackle by Pepe who was shown the red card, leaving Real Madrid a player short at minute 61. It was a right call by German referee Wolfgang Stark.
Afterwards, it took only 15 minutes for the magic to appear. The Argentinean star Lionel Messi, assisted by Ibrahim Afellay, guided the ball between Iker Casilas’s legs to score the first and break the deadlock.
With 3 minutes remaining on the clock, Messi did it again. Some might say he evoked Diego Maradona with an individual effort, dribbling the whole enemy defence and shooting with his right leg to the left post. It was an outstanding goal from the best player in the world.
Barça is now on top of things and looking forward to book a ticket to the UEFA Champions League final match in Wembley.
Real Madrid will visit the Camp Nou for the second leg of this semi-final round, without the Portuguese midfielder Pepe and Spaniard Sergio Ramos. José Mourinho who was also sent off will be watching the game from the crowd next week.
Messi has scored 11 goals in 11 games of the UEFA Champions League 2011. His superb performance is only matched by the splendid teamwork shown by F.C. Barcelona, led by coach Josep Guardiola.
April 28th, 2011.