Barcelona vs. Spartak Moscow: Score, Highlights and Grades
Seventy minutes into this Group G Champions League opener, Barcelona sat on the verge of disaster as they trailed 2-1, on their home pitch, to Spartak Moscow.
Lionel Messi was not going to have any upsets on this day. He netted two goals in the next 10 minutes to help Barca secure three points.
Here is the fantastic teamwork that earned the equalizer.
Early in this match, it did not seem like it would come down to late heroics. Cristian Tello scored in the 14th minute, and the Barca side was more aggressive and effective.
They were dominating possession and getting more shots on goal than Moscow all match, and that was true in the early going. In fact, Spartak only had two shots on goal all contest. At least from their own players.
Barcelona maintained that lead and was looking strong for the 15 minutes following Tello's score. Then, Barca's Dani Alves found the back of the net—unfortunately for he and his teammates, it was his own net. Check it out.
That 1-1 score held until the 58th minute, when Romulo shocked Barca by giving Moscow the lead. That lead got people buzzing about a potential upset, and many tweets, like the below one from BBC Sport, could be found on Twitter.
Barcelona have not lost any of their last 16 home matches in the CL. The last team to defeat them was Russians Rubin Kazan 2-1 in Oct 2009.— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 19, 2012
Alas, the upset was not meant to be. This Barca side is far too talented.
While they leave with zero points, Spartak can take solace in the fact they played a strong match.
Lionel Messi: A
Messi looked like his typical fabulous self out there. He was active and creating chances for himself and his teammates.
He didn't have much to show for his efforts but a couple of missed chances until late in this one, but that is when Barca really needed him, and that is when he delivered.
Cristian Tello: B
Barca was forced to play without their captain, Carles Puyol, after he was injured in Saturday's match. This put Tello into the starting lineup.
The young left footer wasted no time proving he was worthy of the start, as he netted the match's first score.
Romulo celebrated his 22nd birthday by taking a well-placed Aiden McGeady pass and depositing it in the back of the net.
The ball was well handled by Romulo and would have been an iconic finish had Messi not erased the lead a little later.
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