Numancia Topple Barca And Celebrate Historic Victory

Numancia 1 - 0 Barcelona A single Mario strike after 12 minutes was enough to overcome an off-colour Barcelona, as Sergio Kresic's superbly drilled side frustrated Pep Guardiola's men with a fantastic team effort, and secured their first ever win over the Catalan giants. In the second half, the Blaugrana created more than enough opportunities to snatch a result as their opponents tired, but the woodwork, as well as a string of missed chances by Eto'o and Krkic, all made it the worst possible Liga start for Guardiola. The match began in entertaining fashion, with Numancia looking to hit their more illustrious opponents on the break at every opportunity. A poor touch by Abidal set up Moreno with a chance which the midfielder hit high, but it was a mark of things to come as the Frenchman must shoulder much of the blame for the opener. Shortly after Eto'o blasted an effort over, the marvellous Bellvis hit a superb cross from the left. It cleared lone forward Brit and the jumping Puyol, but also Abidal who had come across to the centre of the box. It left Mario totally unmarked to bury the ball into the top corner. Henry could have set up the equaliser minutes later, only to shoot from the narrowest of angles when Messi represented a better option in the centre, while Eto'o clipped the top of the bar with a long range effort. Barcelona were increasingly camped around the opposition penalty as the half wore on, but seemed unable to fashion any clear openings, and were chronically short of width. Of the quality balls that were delivered, they frequently sailed out harmlessly with no on-running players to capitalise. Second half substitutions turned Barcelona into a different animal, though Numancia were still able to frustrate them in the early stages, before visibly tiring. Keita, Krkic and Hleb all took to the field, increasing the supply chain in midfield and the cutting edge up front. Messi was soon dancing through the defence and only a last minute touch from Boris denied a final shot. Eto'o snatched at a shot of his own in the centre of the penalty area, while Bojan forced a close range save in a penalty box melee. Hleb proved to have a real impact down the right, and he would set up both Krkic with great chance, but the 18 year old wonderkid missed the target at the near post. Then Keita found Eto'o in a similar position in what was the best chance of the match, but it went begging as the Cameroonian glanced a header, that seemed destined for the net, past the far post. After the numerous missed chances it all seemed dead and buried for Barca, but a tired challenge by Domingo on Messi at the edge of the area gave a final chance. The Argentine blasted the free kick which curled around the wall, and nearly broke the post in two, before bouncing away to safety. If was the final reprieve for Numancia, and the final sign needed that this wasn't to be Barca's night. Numancia deserved something at least, if only for their application in the first hour, but Guardiola will know his team have thrown points away in a match where they took far too long to get going.


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