Champions League

UCL: Awesome Arda Hat-trick Fires Barcelona Into Last-16 Of #UCL

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 06: Arda Turan of Barcelona (C) celebrates with team mates as he scores their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between FC Barcelona and VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach at Camp Nou on December 6, 2016 in Barcelona, . (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
UCL: Awesome Arda Hat-trick Fires Barcelona Into Last-16 Of #UCL

An Arda Turan hat-trick following a Lionel Messi opener saw Barcelona stroll into the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League as group C toppers with a 4-0 win at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Turkish international joined Messi and Paco Alcacer up front in a much changed Barca line-up which featured only three of the starters from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Real Madrid.

The Catalan’s began on the front foot as expected and took the game to their German counterparts. As Messi dropped deep to link up with Andres Iniesta, Borussia struggled to compete.

The Argentine gave Barca the lead after just 16 minutes when he timed his run perfectly to latch onto a precisely weighted Arda Turan pass and fire past the helpless Yann Sommer in goal.

 

Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes were astute in the Blaugrana midfield, yet it was Andres Iniesta, making his first start in over six weeks, that led by example.

Every blue and red attack seemed to be created by the feet and majestic mind of Iniesta and whilst the 32-year-old wizard was waving his magic wand, his teammates reaped the benefits. With ‘El Don Andres’ at the heart of everything making 105 passes; Gladbach, as a team, only made 163 in the first period.

 

Clearances and attempted counter-attack from the Germans was cut out by the always alert Javier Mascherano and Samuel Umtiti and Gladbach were suffocated by the pressing and reading of the game from Luis Enrique‘s men.

Barcelona doubled their lead on 50 minutes as Arda headed home the impressive Denis Suarez’s cross.

Full-backs Aleix Vidal and Lucas Digne both made rare starts and caused havoc down the flanks throughout and just minutes after the second goal, Turan swept in again as Vidal crossed from the right.

 

Iniesta went off on the hour to a standing ovation, but only after teeing up Paco Alcacer, who shot straight at Sommer, and such was Barcelona’s supremacy they coped just fine without their talisman.

The Germans had offered very little and their night was summed up when substitute Christoph Kramer chased an overhit free-kick and ended sliding off the pitch with a two-footed tackle on a cameraman.

Turan completed his hat-trick from an Alcacer cross after he had been put in behind by substitute Rafinha.

 

The hero tonight after being the zero on Saturday; Turan was singled out after his silly late foul that ended up costing his team three points in the Clasico at the weekend. His hat-trick performance reminded people just why Barca spent €34 million on the 29-year-old in the summer of 2015.

A fitting end to the evening was when Luis Enrique was able to put Marc Cardona on for Turan with 15 minutes left. The 21-year-old striker looked lively on his Champions League debut.

 

Job complete for Barcelona who have scored 15 goals in just three Champions League games at the Camp Nou this season, a humongous amount, especially when compared to the 14 they’ve scored in the seven league fixtures at home.

The return of Iniesta seems to have raised the levels of every player at the club and with the skipper that leads by example returning, Enrique’s men look to be back to their usual selves.

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Champions League
@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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