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Barcelona beat arch rivals Real Madrid 2-0 in Champions League semi-final first leg

posted 27 Apr 2011, 17:36 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 27 Apr 2011, 17:39 ]

Two goals from Lionel Messi give Barcelona huge advantage for second leg against Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi's brilliance lifted Barcelona to a 2-0 win at Real Madrid on Wednesday (April 27) in a tempestuous Champions League semi-final first leg which saw Real finish with 10 men and coach Jose Mourinho sent from the bench.

The Argentine World Player of the Year's sublime strikes in the 76th and 87th minutes at a rowdy Bernabeu lit up an attritional game

which was otherwise short on entertaining football but rich in controversy.

Bad blood had flowed between the arch rivals in the lead-up to the match, their third meeting in just over a week, and it spilled on to the pitch as the players trooped off at the break.

Barca reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto was shown a red card following a fracas next to the tunnel, while Real defender Pepe was dismissed for a lunging tackle on Daniel Alves with just over half an hour left. Mourinho voiced his disapproval of the decision and was banished to the stands for the rest of the match.

Afterwards, at the news conference, Pep Guardiola warned his players that they still had a good deal of work to do in the second leg and said you could never write off the nine-times winners.

"A team that has nine European cups never gives up a game and a qualifier. I have played many times against Real Madrid. As a player I've seen them play since I was a child and now as a coach...I cannot control the atmosphere of Barcelona's newspaper, but people in Barcelona know the respect this institution has for this team and what they are capable to do. We have a good result but we still have 90 minutes left to play. If we had to play against another team, I would tell you that we have it easy. Against this one, we'd better be prudent," he said.

Mourinho unleashed a sustained rant at his press conference in which he accused UEFA of favouring Barca, was sent to the stands for protesting the decision.

"If I tell him and UEFA what I think and what I feel, my career ends today. As I cannot say what I feel, I just leave a question to which some day I expect to get an answer for: Why? Why?," Mourinho said.

"I don't know whether it is the UNICEF publicity. I don't know whether is Mr. Villar's power with UEFA. I don't know whether they are very nice. I don't know, I don't understand. I don't understand. Congratulations for such a fantastic football team as I always say, but also congratulations for all the things they have too, which should be very difficult to achieve. They have gained this power. Others don't have any chance," he added.

Mourinho said his team had no chance of reaching the final and suggested that even if they managed to score a goal at the Nou Camp the referee would somehow prevent them going through.

"We will go there with all the pride and respect for our world of football," the Portuguese added.

"If by any chance we score a goal before Barcelona and leave the semi-final a little open, they will kill us again."

Mourinho then made a pointed dig at Guardiola, referring to Chelsea's exit from the 2009 Champions League at the hands of Barcelona at the London club's home ground of Stamford Bridge.

"Joseph Guardiola is a fantastic football coach, I repeat, but he has won a Champions that to me will be shameful to win. Because he won it with the Stamford Bridge scandal. And if this year he wins the second one, he will win it with the Bernabeu scandal, " Mourinho said.

In Tuesday's first semi-final, English Premier League leaders Manchester United won 2-0 at Bundesliga side Schalke 04.

The final is at London's Wembley stadium on May 28.