RAMPANT BARCELONA TAKE CELTICS TO THE CLEANERS 7-0
The UEFA champions league can be a humiliating playground. A place where weakness is picked apart,exploited and ruthlessly punished. Barcelona had their victims Celtics dangling on a string here. pushing and pulling the Parkhead outfit around the vast expanse of the dreaded Camp Nou stadium at will. Like a lion in the wild, Barcelona bared their Fangs and sharpened their claws the moment the whistle sounded. That they decided to stop at 7 was probably a surprise, as it could have been 10 with the Scottish side torn to shreds. Celtics might ponder on what might have been had Moussa Dembele converted his penalty at 1-0. But on the turn of events, it would have passed at best as a mere consolation with the benefit of hindsight. It was a humbling reality check for the Visitors who had only at the weekend handed a hiding of their own to city rivals Rangers.
It was Messi’s night, of course. It always is. To those who subscribe to the view he is the greatest player this was a night of vindication. The little maestro was irresistible; his movement, vision, passing and finishing exemplary as he claimed a hat-trick.
Brendan Rodgers described Luis Suarez as a ‘beautiful’ man in the pre-match press conference. Yet in Barcelona’s footballing beauty parade the brilliant Uruguayan scored two goals and still took third place to Messi and Neymar, the Brazilian teeing up four and scoring one.
A late Suarez double made this the worst European defeat in Celtic’s history. Worse than the 6-1 loss here of three years ago, but made less painful than it might have been by Barcelona’s brilliance.
‘They are very special players,’ Rodgers acknowledged. ‘I had the great fortune to work with one of them and Luis (Suarez) was at his top level. It’s a front three that can occupy as many players as you want.
‘We had five in the back line but their movement, speed and touch can make it very difficult for you. They are world class players and showed it tonight.’
Technique was a huge part of the battle. Yet when push came to shove Luis Enrique’s team were calm and composed. Gordon Strachan has a phrase for what happened here; scared football. Three or four passes were all Celtic could manage. Getting the ball was hard enough.
Ageless iniesta scored a superb volley to put the score at 4-0 at the end he said “we made sure they never settled into any rythm, we feel we can be very strong when we focus on our strengths and make it hard for the opponents to settle”