Thursday, December 13, 2018

FC Barcelona U19

FC Barcelona U19 0 Tottenham Hotspur U19 2 - UEFA Youth League, Group Stage

Barcelona is located on the north-east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plain approximately 3 miles wide limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat river to the south-west and the Besòs river to the north. According to the Köppen climate classification, Barcelona has a maritime Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm to hot summers, while the rainiest seasons are autumn and spring. The Port of Barcelona has a 2000-year-old history and a great contemporary commercial importance. It is Europe's ninth largest container port. Barcelona is served by Barcelona-El Prat Airport, located around 11 miles from the centre. It is the second-largest airport in Spain, and the largest on the Mediterranean coast. Barcelona is a major hub for RENFE, the Spanish state railway network. The city's main Inter-city rail station is Barcelona Sants railway station, whilst Estació de França terminus serves a secondary role handling suburban, regional and medium distance services.

On 22 October 1899, Hans Gamper placed an advertisement in Los Deportes declaring his wish to form a football club; a positive response resulted in a meeting at the Gimnasio Solé on 29 November. Eleven players attended – Walter Wild (the first director of the club), Lluís d'Ossó, Bartomeu Terradas, Otto Kunzle, Otto Maier, Enric Ducal, Pere Cabot, Carles Pujol, Josep Llobet, John Parsons, and William Parsons – and Foot-Ball Club Barcelona was born. FC Barcelona is one of three founding members of the Primera División that have never been relegated from the top division since its inception in 1929, along with Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. In 2009, Barcelona became the first Spanish club to win the continental treble consisting of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, and also became the first Spanish football club to win six out of six competitions in a single year, by also winning the Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

The 15,276-seat Mini Estadi is situated across from Camp Nou, the home stadium of FC Barcelona. The stadium is currently home to FC Barcelona B (reserve team), as well as FC Barcelona's women's team. It has also been home to the Barcelona Dragons, a NFL Europe American football team, until they were disbanded in 2003. It occasionally hosts the national team of Andorra. Queen performed at the stadium during their Magic Tour on 1 August 1986. David Bowie performed, on two consecutive nights, at the stadium during his Glass Spider Tour on 7–8 July 1987. Elton John performed at the stadium during his One Tour on 21 July 1992. My visit was timely as it is expected that the Mini Estadi will be demolished following the conclusion of the 2018–19 season, when the Estadi Johan Cruyff is finally opened. This is an impressive two-tiered venue with decent view from all angles. Only one side of the ground is covered.

Having witnessed all five preceding matches for Tottenham Hotspur in the Group Stage of the UEFA Youth League, I was determined to get along to the Mini Estadi for this final encounter. We became aware that Internazionale had defeated PSV, which meant that Spurs had to win this match in order to qualify from the group along with their hosts.

I had been impressed with the quality of performances from the U19 team this season and like the first team, they are an accomplished side, balanced with ability, tactical nous and dogged determination. This particular match epitomised that spirit. From the outset it was clear that they were not going to allow their hosts to intimidate them and with the exception perhaps of a ten-minute spell during the second half, Spurs were in complete control of proceedings.

Gary Mabbutt, the much travelled Adam Carne and Ledley King pose for the Catalan media
Troy Parrott's strike after 17 minutes and substitute Rodel Richards' goal with his first touch having come off the bench in the final minute are the recorded statistics. However, it should be stated that this was an immense performance and every player deserves credit for making a decent home side look rather ordinary.

The watching Ledley King and Gary Mabbutt will have been impressed with the performance as were the decent gathering of Spurs supporters attending this match as an appetiser before an emotionally charged encounter over the road later in the evening.

Attendance: 870
Admission: Free
Programme: None
Team Sheet : Free

Click here for a full set of pictures

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