Draw gives Ibrahimovic satisfaction
Thursday 25 February 2010
The Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic described his side's 1-1 draw with Stuttgart as a "good result" after seeing the Champions League holders fight back well from a first-half onslaught by the German team on Tuesday night.
Stuttgart took the match to Barcelona early on and deservedly led 1-0 at half-time thanks to Cacau's 25th-minute header. The home side might well have boasted a bigger advantage at the break after creating a number of other chances.
Barcelona hit the post through Lionel Messi just before the interval but otherwise the Catalan giants found it difficult to create much going forward. However, the visitors looked a lot more assured after the break and were back on terms almost immediately thanks to Ibrahimovic, whose 52nd-minute equaliser means Barcelona hold the upper hand for the second leg at the Nou Camp.
Ibrahimovic said: "The team played badly in the first half. In the second half we were better. We controlled it, we created chances and, most importantly, we've scored a goal – 1-1 is a good result."
Barça's disappointing first-half display followed some below-par league performances against Atletico Madrid and Racing Santander, and coach Pep Guardiola warned his side prior to Tuesday's game that they could not afford a repeat showing.
Messi said: "Right now I don't know what the coach told us at half-time, but we knew that we had to change a lot to get the draw. I don't know what happened. It's true that we've not been playing the same football as before, we don't have the rhythm that we need to have. But now is the most important time and we must get this back."
"We knew that it would be a game like that, we've managed to get a draw and score a goal, and at this stage that's most important. In the return at home we have to do much better."
The Stuttgart coach, Christian Gross, said: "We played very well in the first half and should have scored the second goal. If we had played like that for the whole 90 minutes, it would have been very good. We allowed them very few chances and we only defended badly when they equalised. We had the best chances and [the Barcelona keeper] Victor Valdes had a very good game. Overall, it is a very good result."
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