Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Barca tired? Not on this evidence


Men tuning in for lots of action in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg ties would have rued the decision to stay in front of the TV on Valentines’ Night when Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen and Olympique Lyon against APOEL Nicosia reached the 40-minute mark.

Both were 0-0. APOEL had not registered a shot on goal. Barcelona had dominated their German opposition with 78 per cent of possession, yet no opening score.

There have been reports of a tired Barcelona recently, justifiably. The La Liga and Champions League holders have slipped to 10 points behind arch rivals Real Madrid, who are about the strongest outfit left in Europe’s premier competition on current form.

Perhaps this woke Barcelona up as Alexis Sanchez netted a 41st-minute opener.  Coach Pep Guardiola said afterwards: “I think for the spectators the second half was more fun to watch than the first.”

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

No name calling just yet please, say Leverkusen

So they lost their first match of the season and dropped back three points from the top.

Big deal says Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes after their 3-2 loss to Nuremberg on Sunday. He is quick to reject any of the tags that Leverkusen have had to deal with for much of the past 15 years, like "Neverkusen" and "Vizekusen".