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UEFA Champions League
4 May 2011
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: F. De Bleeckere
• Attendance: 95701
Barcelona win Aggregate 3 - 1
Well that's it, folks, but remember the action doesn't stop there on Goal.com - stay with us for a full match report, player ratings, expert analysis and reactions from both teams!
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Now Barca goalscorer Pedro picks up a knock and it's Afellay who takes to the pitch in his place... but that's it! The referee has blown for full-time! Barcelona have progressed to the final of the 2010-2011 Champions League!
90' + 1'
Eric Abidal is being afforded a run out here to a riotous applause from the Camp Nou faithful. As Barca skipper Carles Puyol leaves the pitch, the crowd make an equally loud din for the Catalan captain.
Barcelona have a free kick just a little further out that the edge of Madrid's box and it's MESSI who takes it... but Casillas gathers and throws it out to get his team moving again.
Yellow Card Emmanuel Adebayor
Lass on the other end now as Mascherano makes the most of a challenge from the Frenchman. Some good officiating sees to it that Madrid's best player on the night stays on the pitch.
Yellow Card Pedro
Pedro joins the list of players on a yellow card now after a rather dangerous lunging tackle on Lass.
Arbeloa down the right now as Ronaldo speeds down the middle... Arbeloa with the paaass... but PIQUE is there with a tremendous interception!
The pitch is beginning to look a bit worse for wear in the wet weather, as players start to lose their footing on the sodden ground.
Yellow Card Marcelo
Marcelo in the book now after a late, but honest, challenge for the ball saw Messi crumple and fall to the ground.
Seydou Keita has been brought on for David Villa now, which will no doubt see the Malian take Iniesta's spot in midfield and Iniesta move to a more advanced position.
It has to be said that there are still some Madrid players giving this a go, but the gulf in class tonight is clear when the teams have the ball in the final third. Barcelona look so comfortable in possession.
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Now Alonso finds himself in the book after a late challenge on Messi. He and his fellow anchorman, Lassana Diarra, are looking tired now, and will have to be careful not to get themselves into more trouble with the ref...
What great skill that was from Di Maria to evade a challenge from Mascherano and allow himself space to shoot. With his rocket coming back off the post straight to his feet, it was a simple short pass to the onrushing Brazilian full-back that sealed Madrid's first goal at Camp Nou since 2007.
Assist Ángel Di María
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL MARCELO! Madrid have a lifeline after some great skill - and a shot that came back off the post - from Di Maria saw Marcelo played in to finish from close range!
Iniesta on the ball in plenty of space in the middle of the pitch again, looks to play through Villa this time, but Arbeloa clips the striker and the play breaks down.
Iniestaaaa... strikes at goal but Carvalho had it well blocked. Now Mesut Ozil is making his way onto the pitch in place of the highly ineffectual Kaka.
Yellow Card Lassana Diarra
And Adebayor immediately gains the attention of the referee with a silly challenge.
And with that, Madrid have opted to swap out Higuain with Emmanuel Adebayor.
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
GOOOOOOOOOOOOL BARCELOOOOOOONAAAAAAAAAAAA! PEDRO HAS SCORED FOR THE HOSTS! Andres Iniesta simply SLICED the Madrid defence open with a pass he will never forget, allowing PEDRO to get on the end of it and finish expertly, low and hard past Casillas! That has to be curtains for Madrid!
Madrid have certainly looked much feistier since the break, but lets not forget they started the game the exact same way. Can they keep it up or will they fade just as they did in the first period..?
Xavi with another Barcelona corner now, taken from a sodden edge of the pitch, but it amounts to nothing as only two Blaugrana shirts were in the box. Easily cleared.
GOOOOOOOAL MADRID... wait, no it's not. Play has been called back after Higuain had the ball in the net - looks like Ronaldo has been penalised. We will no doubt hear more about this in the aftermath of the match....
And we're back underway after a little delay: a fan raced onto the pitch and had to be taken down by a whole team of guards! Madrid with the kick-off...
"Ronaldo is a great player, but when the team really needs him in the big knockout games he doesn’t do it. He goes asleep. This is the difference between Ronaldo and Messi. Both these semi finals, if we look back at the last World Cup and last Euros, the final in Rome in 2009, Ronaldo hasn’t performed. He hasn’t come on in this area. In Spain-Portugal his country really needed him." - Italian legend Gianluca Vialli at half-time.
45' + 1'
And they don't. The corner is pulled out of the sky by Valdes and the half-time whistle goes. Things aren't looking good for Madrid as the teams make their way into the dressing rooms...
45' + 1'
Just one minute added at the end of the first half. Madrid will look to use the time well with the corner they have just won...
David Villa is caught offside after a lovely throughball from Messi finds the World Cup winner sneaking through at the back. And with that, the rain begins to fall again.
The game has slowed down a little as Barcelona take their foot off the gas for a moment. Some welcome respite for the visitors who look completely out of the depth at the moment...
Now Ronaldo has taken off down the right and sprays one in across goal... Higuaiiiiiiiiin... he doesn't quite reach it, but that's the best chance Madrid have had so far.
IT'S MESSI YET AGAIN WITH THE SHOT! And once again it's Casillas that keeps Madrid in the game! Wonderful build-up play on the edge of the box culminated in Messi smacking one at goal, but Iker saves the day again... you have to feel though, that it's only a matter of time before the Catalans score!
MESSI... VILLA... SAVE AGAIN BY CASILLAS! It was man for man there as Barca went on the break, but Saint Iker managed to somehow keep the ball out of the net as Messi, Pedro and Villa all took turns at harassing his goal! What a performance from the skipper!
MESSI AGAAAAIN... opted to stay on his feet after a tough tackle from Alonso, but his shot is dragged wide. More great play from the attacker.
MESSIIIIIIIIIIII... cuts in from the right but his shot is plucked out of the air by a diving Casillas. What a save!
Ronaldo is penalised in the Barca box for what looks like a handball.. although the attacker used his shoulder to try and keep the ball in play. Strange decision that one.
Carvalho really has to be careful here as the ref speaks to him again for diving in carelessly. Madrid simply cannot afford to lose a man tonight.
He may not have had any clear goalscoring chances yet, but Messi continues to cause the visitors problems with his pace and trickery. Lass concedes the foul this time after some roughhousing on the little Argentine.
Now Ronaldo is back on the prowl down the left again... goes past one, two.. but his final touch sees the ball slide over the goalline. Good work from the Portuguese.
Barcelona with the corner now after some great close control from Messi forces Marcelo to boot it out. Ball comes iiiin.. and it's BUSQUETS! Totally unmarked and on target with the header, but Casillas is there to make the save. Madrid can't lose a goal that easily if they are to have any chance of making the final.
Di Maria on the right here crosses in for HIGUAIIIN... it wouldn't have counted even if it had gone in as the assistant has his flag raised. A very tight call at the back there.
Lass barges Messi off the ball now with what looks to be a dangerous high-speed challenge, but the ref says it's an old fashioned shoulder-to-shoulder and play goes on.
It has to be said that it is truly fantastic to see Eric Abidal back on the Barcelona bench tonight, having recovered from the removal of a liver tumour. The Frenchman has the best wishes of all of us here at Goal.com, as I am sure he does of our readers as well.
Yellow Card Ricardo Carvalho
Ricardo Carvalho has found himself in the referee's book as the first yellow card of the night after a poor challenge scythes Lionel Messi to the ground. A little too far from goal to be truly dangerous though.
Pedro has won Barcelona another free kick, but this time it's Xabi Alonso who is spoken to by the referee.
Di Maria caught in possession and it's INIESTA... the fresh-faced Spaniard has dragged his shot wide. Forgiveable as he's just returned, I suppose.
More action down the left for Madrid again now as Ronaldo looks to release Higuain, but Pique is there to snuff out the danger.
Our contact from Real Madrid has just told us that the only thing they can confirm at the moment is that Mourinho was not in the bus with the team. As mentioned, the speculation is that he is in his hotel room, but no official confirmation on that yet...
Now Madrid are on the attack as Marcelo races into the Barcelona box, but quickly runs in to trouble. The speedy Brazilian looks for options, but is eventually crowded out and Busquets clears the danger.
And we're off, folks! Immediately Barcelona look to get forward with a long ball down to Pedro, but Marcelo clambers over him and concedes a foul. Free kick Barca.
Not long to go, folks. Just mere moments until we kick off here, so make your final preparations and get yourself comfortable!
Interesting little fact for you all: the last Real Madrid player to score at Camp Nou was Julio Baptista - now of Roma fame - back in 2007. A truly daunting statistic for any Blanco hoping for a comeback tonight.
There have been some concerns at the amount of rain at Camp Nou tonight, but we're being assured that the pitch is not sodden, but merely slick - something that will suit Barcelona's quick passing game. And it's quite a coincidence too, as Madrid left their grass to grow in order to slow Barca's passing game down. How poetic!
The other main talking point tonight is that Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who was sent to the stands last week, has refused to even go to the match, opting to watch the game from his hotel suite instead! Another strange twist in the tail, especially given that it is forbidden for any outsider to communicate with the bench once the game has started. What does the special one have up his sleeve I wonder?
And of course the starting line-up itself is interesting for the visitors. Kaka makes a surprise start in attacking midfield - although Ozil did have problems getting into the game against Barca - while Higuain leads the line instead of the previously preferred Emmanuel Adebayor. Very interesting stuff.
Now then. Real Madrid's shape and personnel has drastically changed since last week, with the absent Jose Mourinho (more on that later) opting to go back to his old 4-2-3-1 instead of the Barca-stifling 4-3-3 he was using with three defensive midfielders in the middle of the pitch.
Real Madrid subs: Dudek, Nacho, Garay, Granero, Ozil, Adebayor, Benzema
Real Madrid starting XI: Casillas; Arbeloa, Albiol, Carvalho, Marcelo; Lass, Alonso; Ronaldo, Kaka, Di Maria; Higuain
So there we have it. Barcelona's shape looks much like it always does in their typical 4-3-3 formation, but the big news is that Javier Mascherano is being deployed as a centre-back once again, while Carles Puyol will patrol the left hand side of the backline. And, of course, Andres Iniesta returns to the starting XI having recovered from injury.
Barcelona subs: Oier Olazabal, Fontas, Abidal, Keita, Thiago, Jeffren, Afellay
Barcelona starting XI: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Villa
Hello and welcome to Goal.com LIVE commentary coverage of tonight's Champions League clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Catalans have a respectable two-goal cushion from the first leg at the Bernabeu, but with the firepower los Blancos have in their ranks, a miraculous comeback isn't completely out of the question for Mourinho's men.
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