My Soccer World

Football: Iniesta Makes Scoring Return As Barca March On

Posted on: January 4, 2009

MADRID : Spanish international midfielder Andres Iniesta marked his comeback from injury in style with a crucial goal as leaders Barcelona defeated Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday to continue where they left off before Christmas.

A first victory in 2009 takes Barca 13 points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 15 points in front of champions Real Madrid who are in action against Villarreal on Sunday.

Barca had fallen behind to a 15th-minute strike from Aritz Aduriz, but a ninth goal of the season from Thierry Henry and Iniesta’s goal turned the game in their favour.

Iniesta, a star of Spain’s Euro 2008-winning squad, had been injured since the beginning of November, but came on as a 67th-minute substitute and netted eight minutes later after a pass from Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Mallorca, struggling above the relegation zone, also had former Liverpool man Josemi sent off late on after Iniesta humiliated him with a neat drag back.

Yaya Toure completed the scoring at the Nou Camp in stoppage time as he evaded two challenges before ramming the ball home.

Coach Pep Guardiola chose to leave Argentine Lionel Messi out of the squad with Tuesday’s Kings Cup clash against Atletico Madrid in mind.

The absence of the exciting Messi was disappointing for the paying spectators but it was a bonus for Belarus winger Alexander Hleb who was given a rare start on the wing.

Mallorca were second best from the start and Samuel Eto’o, the league’s top-scorer with 15 goals, had a good early chance but his first time left-footed volley went wide.

However, Mallorca stunned the home fans on the quarter-hour mark when Aduriz scored a great solo goal.

Aduriz raced clear of two Barca defenders before defeating Victor Valdes with a great chip.

As expected Barca upped the ante with Gudjohnsen hitting the crossbar and Toure having an effort cleared off the line.

An equaliser looked imminent and Henry provided it on 31 minutes showing good control with his right foot before dispatching a shot into the corner with his left.

Barca pressed for a second but it didn’t come and Guardiola introduced Iniesta, who received a standing ovation, for Hleb on 67 minutes.

It proved an inspired move as Iniesta netted and Toure scored in the dying seconds to seal the comeback victory.

Third meets fourth later on Saturday as Atletico Madrid and Valencia lock horns at the Mestalla stadium in a Champions League duel.

“Atletico score goals but they also concede them,” said Valencia coach Unai Emery.

Atletico and Valencia both have 30 points and are looking to close to within 11 points of Barcelona.

Real must wait another 24 hours to resume their stuttering title defence beginning with a home match against Villarreal that they must win.

Real’s Spanish international Sergio Ramos believes the short Christmas break has helped Real who are refusing to give up a third consecutive league championship.

“This short break has done us good to help us recharge,” said Ramos.

“We now go into a new year keen to cut the gap on the leaders. We are not going to throw in the towel.”

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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Football: Iniesta Makes Scoring Return As Barca March On

Posted on: January 4, 2009

MADRID : Spanish international midfielder Andres Iniesta marked his comeback from injury in style with a crucial goal as leaders Barcelona defeated Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday to continue where they left off before Christmas.

A first victory in 2009 takes Barca 13 points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 15 points in front of champions Real Madrid who are in action against Villarreal on Sunday.

Barca had fallen behind to a 15th-minute strike from Aritz Aduriz, but a ninth goal of the season from Thierry Henry and Iniesta’s goal turned the game in their favour.

Iniesta, a star of Spain’s Euro 2008-winning squad, had been injured since the beginning of November, but came on as a 67th-minute substitute and netted eight minutes later after a pass from Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Mallorca, struggling above the relegation zone, also had former Liverpool man Josemi sent off late on after Iniesta humiliated him with a neat drag back.

Yaya Toure completed the scoring at the Nou Camp in stoppage time as he evaded two challenges before ramming the ball home.

Coach Pep Guardiola chose to leave Argentine Lionel Messi out of the squad with Tuesday’s Kings Cup clash against Atletico Madrid in mind.

The absence of the exciting Messi was disappointing for the paying spectators but it was a bonus for Belarus winger Alexander Hleb who was given a rare start on the wing.

Mallorca were second best from the start and Samuel Eto’o, the league’s top-scorer with 15 goals, had a good early chance but his first time left-footed volley went wide.

However, Mallorca stunned the home fans on the quarter-hour mark when Aduriz scored a great solo goal.

Aduriz raced clear of two Barca defenders before defeating Victor Valdes with a great chip.

As expected Barca upped the ante with Gudjohnsen hitting the crossbar and Toure having an effort cleared off the line.

An equaliser looked imminent and Henry provided it on 31 minutes showing good control with his right foot before dispatching a shot into the corner with his left.

Barca pressed for a second but it didn’t come and Guardiola introduced Iniesta, who received a standing ovation, for Hleb on 67 minutes.

It proved an inspired move as Iniesta netted and Toure scored in the dying seconds to seal the comeback victory.

Third meets fourth later on Saturday as Atletico Madrid and Valencia lock horns at the Mestalla stadium in a Champions League duel.

“Atletico score goals but they also concede them,” said Valencia coach Unai Emery.

Atletico and Valencia both have 30 points and are looking to close to within 11 points of Barcelona.

Real must wait another 24 hours to resume their stuttering title defence beginning with a home match against Villarreal that they must win.

Real’s Spanish international Sergio Ramos believes the short Christmas break has helped Real who are refusing to give up a third consecutive league championship.

“This short break has done us good to help us recharge,” said Ramos.

“We now go into a new year keen to cut the gap on the leaders. We are not going to throw in the towel.”

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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Football: Iniesta Makes Scoring Return As Barca March On

Posted on: January 4, 2009

MADRID : Spanish international midfielder Andres Iniesta marked his comeback from injury in style with a crucial goal as leaders Barcelona defeated Real Mallorca 3-1 on Saturday to continue where they left off before Christmas.

A first victory in 2009 takes Barca 13 points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 15 points in front of champions Real Madrid who are in action against Villarreal on Sunday.

Barca had fallen behind to a 15th-minute strike from Aritz Aduriz, but a ninth goal of the season from Thierry Henry and Iniesta’s goal turned the game in their favour.

Iniesta, a star of Spain’s Euro 2008-winning squad, had been injured since the beginning of November, but came on as a 67th-minute substitute and netted eight minutes later after a pass from Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Mallorca, struggling above the relegation zone, also had former Liverpool man Josemi sent off late on after Iniesta humiliated him with a neat drag back.

Yaya Toure completed the scoring at the Nou Camp in stoppage time as he evaded two challenges before ramming the ball home.

Coach Pep Guardiola chose to leave Argentine Lionel Messi out of the squad with Tuesday’s Kings Cup clash against Atletico Madrid in mind.

The absence of the exciting Messi was disappointing for the paying spectators but it was a bonus for Belarus winger Alexander Hleb who was given a rare start on the wing.

Mallorca were second best from the start and Samuel Eto’o, the league’s top-scorer with 15 goals, had a good early chance but his first time left-footed volley went wide.

However, Mallorca stunned the home fans on the quarter-hour mark when Aduriz scored a great solo goal.

Aduriz raced clear of two Barca defenders before defeating Victor Valdes with a great chip.

As expected Barca upped the ante with Gudjohnsen hitting the crossbar and Toure having an effort cleared off the line.

An equaliser looked imminent and Henry provided it on 31 minutes showing good control with his right foot before dispatching a shot into the corner with his left.

Barca pressed for a second but it didn’t come and Guardiola introduced Iniesta, who received a standing ovation, for Hleb on 67 minutes.

It proved an inspired move as Iniesta netted and Toure scored in the dying seconds to seal the comeback victory.

Third meets fourth later on Saturday as Atletico Madrid and Valencia lock horns at the Mestalla stadium in a Champions League duel.

“Atletico score goals but they also concede them,” said Valencia coach Unai Emery.

Atletico and Valencia both have 30 points and are looking to close to within 11 points of Barcelona.

Real must wait another 24 hours to resume their stuttering title defence beginning with a home match against Villarreal that they must win.

Real’s Spanish international Sergio Ramos believes the short Christmas break has helped Real who are refusing to give up a third consecutive league championship.

“This short break has done us good to help us recharge,” said Ramos.

“We now go into a new year keen to cut the gap on the leaders. We are not going to throw in the towel.”

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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