Messi plots revenge for Ibrox 'anti-football'

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The Independent Online

Lionel Messi has accused Rangers of playing "anti-football" in the goalless Champions League meeting at Ibrox and warned they will suffer at the Nou Camp. Barcelona dominated for large spells in the Group E match, but failed to break down a stubborn Rangers defence.

Walter Smith's men held on for the point which keeps them joint top of the group ahead of the return leg in a fortnight. While Rangers were thrilled with the draw, Messi was less than impressed by the tactics employed by their hosts.

"It's incredible," the 20-year-old Argentina international said. "Rangers didn't want to play football. They practised anti-football from the first minute and it's a shame we couldn't take victory because we created a good number of chances. We just didn't put them away. I think that when they come to the Nou Camp everything is going to be very different."

The Barcelona winger added: "We need to find a solution for breaking down a team who close down so much, but I don't believe we will come across many teams who play this way."

Meanwhile, Thierry Henry believes the stalemate was far from a disastrous result, especially so soon after Barcelona suffered their first defeat of the season at Villarreal at the weekend.

And the striker – who missed a couple of chances at Ibrox – is also confident of taking maximum points when the Catalans come up against Rangers at home.

"We had possession and weren't in any danger but we caused a lot of danger for Rangers," he said. "At the end of the day we got the point. We had a tough game in the league at Villarreal so to then come here and play away was tough but now we have two games at home and hopefully we can do the job and qualify."

Asked whether it was a point gained, he added: "Well, it depends how you see it. Look at the performance of the game and sometimes it looked like we had four or five off the line. But in the Champions League, whoever you play, it is a good point. Especially as it was our first game back after the defeat at Villarreal. It is better to have one point and keep the distance from Lyons to be honest."

Lyons defeated Stuttgart to pick up their first points of the section and Henry warned against ruling out his fellow countrymen just yet, even though Barcelona and Rangers are now favourites to progress.

"We now have two games at home and hopefully we can finish the job," he said. "Rangers got a vital point because now they have a good distance on Lyons.

"Lyons are back in contention but them losing at our ground 3-0 and then back home to Rangers 3-0 makes it difficult, so it will be a massive task to come back but you never know."

Andres Iniesta was satisfied with the draw but felt Barcelona could have had greater reward for their dominance. "If we win at home it will be a good point," the midfielder said. "In European competition it is important to draw away. It is important that we are still leaders, but especially considering the first half, we get the feeling we have dropped two points."

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