Once again, Barcelona play well without Messi
Once again, we saw a FC Barcelona side in action without Leo Messi and as was the case last week in Kiev, the Catalan side delivered a solid performance. The team worked well as a block with each player doing his bit in attacking and defensive duties as part of the victory. I'm far from trying to imply that Messi is now surplus to requirements, but the reflection is more of a coming to terms with the notion that he may not be here next season. He'll almost certainly leave the club and given the poor organisation and planning at the club, the Barça front line looks pretty good now that Dembélé and Griezmann finally to appear to have bucked up their ideas.
Barça ran out comfortable 0-3 winners against Ferencvaros and once again showed their European credentials as opposed to their indifferent LaLiga form. The win for Ronald Koeman's side was one of the positives in a Champions League match-day that was not so successful for the four Spanish sides involved in the competition. Both Madrid sides failed to secure their objectives and Sevilla were swept aside last night at home by Chelsea with veteran striker Giroud bagging all four goals for the English side. It has to be added that Julen Lopetegui did play with a second string side, resting key players ahead of the league game against Real Madrid on Saturday. Having already progressed to the Round of 16, the Basque coach had the luxury of making this decision.
First female referee in UCL game
This match-day 5 did leave us with a little bit of footballing history as we saw the first woman overseeing a Champions League game as Stéphanie Frappart refereed the Juventus-Dynamo Kiev match in Turin. The French official is highly regarded at UEFA and has already been involved in a UEFA Super Cup final. The 36-year-old managed the game with authority, personality and strong body language. There have been high level female match officials before here and every credit to her and those she inspires. Now it's time to move on from the Champions League and will 2022 be the first time we see a female match official take charge of a World Cup game?
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