Cool and composed Barcelona avenge semi-final agonyArticle
«Go back

BLOG: Tom looks back at the high-scoring Match of the Week which did not turn out to be the revenge match that many expected and wanted

Cool and composed Barcelona avenge semi-final agony

"The butterfly counts not in months but in moments, and has time enough". The phrase could have been written for Barcelona.

Six short months ago, they suffered the worst possible agony against the same opposition, just short of 180 days later, in 60 minutes they overcame SG on their own home turf. 

The atmosphere was sensational. The Barca team having been introduced to the crowd were left standing, almost like fans waiting for an encore from their favourite band, for Flensburg to take the field.

The last ounce of anticipation was wrung from the adoring public before the champions came charging from the tunnel.

After that, you imagined that there would be fire in the belly and that both teams would go at it hammer and tongs. But no, the first half, although it had some moments of sublime skill and shooting acumen from Glandorf and Lazarov, had more of a feeling of a training session.

There weren't the hard hits, or stirring fast breaks that have characterised these teams. As it was succinctly put to me, no one was laying their cards on the table. 

The two right backs stole the show and looked like they could score from any shot that was taken. There seemed to be a marked indifference to the concept that this might be a revenge match. That is what the fans wanted, the blood and guts and glory. Instead we got pretty handball, easy pace and not much more.

Barcelona signalled their intent early in the second half and stepped up a gear. Flensburg likewise and once again Glandorf shone.

In the normal scheme of things you put the heavy hitter on Glandorf to stop him. Not so Barca, they played their trump and AriƱo came on to great effect to narrow that side of the court and limit Holger to a solitary goal for the rest of the game.

Whereas this was the defensive genius that closed out the game, there was a small minute where Victor Tomas showed his class. Having scored, he raced back to intercept a fast break, then proceeded to chase a lost cause long pass from Saric to score again.

Barcelona's spirits soared mercurially. Shorn of Glandorf's goals, Flensburg were pushed laterally and Sorhaindo started to figure more prominently in the defence. This allowed Barcelona to really ratchet up the attack and their movement and team play were reminiscent of the team we loved so well of a few years ago.

Their interplay to find open spaces was sublime and they constantly kept their foot on the gas. In fairness to Flensburg, Mogensen and Kaufmann in particular tried to keep the deficit low and they often pulled within two. 

But a Barca team that has cracked on two previous occasions in a heated atmosphere remained cool as cucumbers. 

Saric had his best game in many a long year and looked to be growing in confidence as the number one at the Catalan club. 

A win away from home isn't the be all and end all of any CL campaign and they cannot be considered favourites just yet. But they retained a certain composure that has been lacking and that bodes well.

For Flensurg's possibilities it's difficult to decide. To concede 37 goals at home is a catastrophe. They didn't figure out what to do without Glandorf and it seems don't have a serious contender for his position. They failed signally to deal with any variation from the 6-0 defensive theme. 

Vranjes will work at it and the return leg isn't a foregone conclusion.

At the start of the game a sea shanty called "Santiago" reverberated around the arena. The crowd sang along. 

Barcelona didn't. 

If revenge is a dish best served cold, Barca ate theirs 'Chilly'.

TEXT: Tom O'Brannagain, commentator