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16.01.2008 13:43

Defensive strength was key

Jaume Marcet

The defensive strength shown against Sevilla in the 2nd leg of the Copa tie on Tuesday night proved that Barça have the solidity to keep out the best forwards and was reminiscent of some of the displays during the 2005/06 Champions League campaign.

Barça took on a team in the Last 16 of this season's cup competition that had won their last 15 consecutive cup games without losing (including the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Cup and the Champions league) and had lifted both the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup last season. There are few teams that are better on the counter-attack than Sevilla. The game in Camp Nou showed what Frank Rijkaard's team can do even in the absence of such attacking talent as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi.

Looking back

fcb-sevilla_x15x.jpgIn what was a very tactical encounter Barça showed incredible team spirit. In knocking out Sevilla, the performance was a reminder of the way that the club won many of the two-legged ties in the Champions League two years ago. In that season, Barça picked up impressive away wins at Chelsea (1-2) and AC Milan (0-1) and then produced solid performances at home to progress.

Adapting to circumstance

Just like two years ago, the tie against Sevilla also proved that Rijkaard's players are capable of adapting to circumstance and applied the necessary system to complete their aim, which was to win the tie over 180 minutes.

The defensive focus, especially when Sevilla broke on the counter, the intensity shown and the tactical flexibility were decisive factors against a team that were limited to very few chances on Víctor Valdés' goal, despite their need to score in order to go through. In fact, the Andalucian outfit only registered four efforts at goal to Barça's eight.
Defensive strength was key
Further admiration
The defensive strength of Barça's defence against Sevilla was even more admirable given the absence of two of the team's recognised defensive midfielders in Touré Yaya and Edmílson.

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