18 December 2011

[CWC 2011; Final] Santos FC 0 - 4 FC Barcelona

Barça proclaimed world champions after an historic four goal victory over Santos in Japan. The Catalans were three up at half time after goals from Messi, Xavi and Cesc, with the Argentinean rounding the game off with a fourth after the break.

Legendary status is ever closer for this Barça team, who brilliantly saw off the threat from a Santos team led by Neymar and themselves aiming to emulate Pele's great team of the 60s. Goals from Messi (2), Xavi and Cesc gave Guradiola his 13th title in charge of a team which was packed with graduates from La Masia and gave yet another masterful performance in its own unique style.

With nine home grown players in the team, Guardiola again started with a back three, packing the midfield and using Alves as an auxiliary winger. The team dominated from the start with Messi, who inspired the attack, seeing an early effort stopped by Cabral(who also saved the follow up from Thiago), before opening the scoring on 17 minutes after a magic piece of control from Xavi set up the world's best player to stroke home with a beautiful touch.

Barça were purring now and their quick passing and movement left Santos helpless as they continued to create chances almost at will. Xavi got the second with another piece of spectacular control after a pass from Alves and the Catalan midfielder, who seemed to be in complete control of the game, then set up Cesc, whose shot came back off the woodwork. Santos were then forced into a change in tactics as they tried to halt the waves of attack from Guardiola's men.

However, no change in their opponents' tactics was going to stop this Barça and Guardiola's side continued to find space easily, rounding off the half with a third from Cesc. Barça had had a total of 74% of possession in the first magnificent 45 minutes and at the start of the second half, they showed there was not likely to be too much of a let up, with Cesc coming close to making it four, only being denied by another fine stop by Cabral. Santos showed some signs of life though, with Borges and Neymar getting through and forcing Valdes into two good one on one saves.

Barça were playing without any recognised out and out strikers, but were enjoying themselves with some emblematic passing and control and that nearly converted into another goal on 79 minutes when Alves rattled the woodwork and the Brazilian, who was very active throughout the game, set up the fourth goal, winning the ball back before slipping it to Man of the Match Messi to round the keeper and slot home. That was a fitting end to a great performance that saw Barça take their second Club World Cup and, amazingly, their 13th title in just three and a half years, stats that merely confirm their legendary status. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[technical Data]
Santos: Rafael; Danilo (Elano, min. 30), Edu Drácena, Bruno Rodrigo, Durval, Leo; Henrique, Arouca, Ganso (Ibson, min.83); Borges (Kardec, min.78) and Neymar.

FC Barcelona: Valdés; Puyol (Fontas, min.85), Piqué (Mascherano, min.56), Abidal; Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago (Pedro, min 78); Iniesta, Cesc; and Messi.

Goals: 0-1. Min.17: Messi; 0-2. Min. 24: Xavi; 0-3. Min. 45: Cesc; 0-4. Min. 82: Messi.

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB). HE showed yellow card to Piqué (min.38), Mascherano (min.70), Ganso (min.72) and Edu Drácena (min.73).

Incidents: International Stadium Yokohama. Full house: 68,166 spectators. Temperature: 9 degrees, 42 percent humidity. Before the game offered a fireworks display with the sacred volcano Fuji Nippon protagonist.