Manchester City Goalkeeper Joe Hart lost the match against Barcelona yesterday. This ushered ManCitys exit from the UEFA Champions League for this year.
The score? One to Nhil. One goal. American eyes are looking at this score and saying, “So what? There was only one goal scored. In our version of football we score. And we score a lot!”
How about this for a new way of scoring.There were 12 shots on target made by Barca. Many of which by Messi himself. Barca held possession for nearly 60 percent of the time match. In short, Joe Hart was in a shooting gallery almost the entire match. For you stat heads, here is the link to UEFAs statistics for the match.
Again, that is missing the mark. I had the chance to watch the matchup. It was invigorating. Not the score, the competition. Take a step back with me and let us see what Joe a Hart was facing off against.
Messi. Neymar. Suarez.
Fast becoming known as the Three Amigos of Barcelona, these three are terrifying to defenders and ultimately goalkeepers.
Joe hart faced them. Even with his defenders getting tripped up and spun like butter from the footwork of Messi; the blinding speed of Neymar; and the savy snake-like jukes and slippage of Suarez. That little bitter has an incredible gift for finding a way through the defenders. Note, plural…DEFENDERS!
It wasn’t that ManCity didn’t have a good set of defenders to compete, it’s just that the Barca Three Amigos ARE THAT GOOD. Simply put, Messi has the ability and touch to make the ball dance. I know I watched the match. If you didn’t, you missed a wonderful show. Also, he’s one of the all-time goal scorers in LaLiga history. Cristiano Ronaldo being a close second.
Neymar has incredible touch as well, but his speed is perfectly matched to Messi AND Suarez. This is a rare occurrence in the soccer world. Dare, I say this trifecta would not have occurred had Suarez not bitten that guy in the World Cup. Yeah, he’s a bitter and a striker. But for Suarez getting fined and penalized, Liverpool would have never sought the transfer. Barca would not have had the chance to sweep him up into their system. Poof, give them a few months to practice and get used to each other and sync together in a seamless fashion.
Frankly, Barca should have scored two or three times in this match. But Joe Hart played incredible defense and found a way to hold off the assault. Do note, the only goal scored was by Midfielder Ivan Rakitic on an assist from Messi.
But this column is about Joe Hart. He too was incredible. He held off all three of these incredible goal scorers the full 90 minutes. Although on the losing side of the scoresheet, he displayed some incredible goalkeeping. Think about that. Hart even with his defense faultering had the fortitude to withstand three of the most potent strikers in the beautiful game. And because he gave up only one goal, he should be praised.
Messi said it himself, Joe Hart was “phenomenal” in yesterday’s match. Read and watch for yourself.
Per 90min.com’s report: “Ivan Rakitic’s first-half goal, courtesy of a Messi assist, was enough to seal Barca’s progression to the Champions League quarter finals, but the Argentine believes the margin would have been greater were it not for Hart’s heroics between the sticks.”
Even Messi thought Hart was awesome…and you probably missed it, but his post match interview is available at UEFAs website.
Till next time, I suggest you make the time to watch Barca; keep an eye open for Joe Hart; and follow me @Deepdfspicks.