Barcelona Still 10 Points Behind After Win Against Atletico

While FC Barcelona has taken some time in recent matches to fully get into the game, on Sunday night they started out fully in their stride. Barcelona were guests of Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon stadium and with none of the apparent grogginess of late they started out on the attack.

This seemed to pay off after just seven minutes when Lionel Messi scored, however the referee ruled it out for handball. Next up came Xavi, whose 30 yard free kick forced Atletico keeper Courtois to show what he could do and save the ball.

The hosts quickly stepped up to the mark and responded to the Barcelona attack with a couple of dangerous looking breaks of their own. However, solid work by the defence and by Victor Valdes ensured nothing came of these.

The match started to get a little tough, but Barcelona settled down and then showed why they are considered the best team in the world at the moment when Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Dani Alves worked in perfect harmony to score the first goal of the match. However, Atletico’s Falcao responded with an attack on the Barcelona goal, which was denied by the quickness of Valdes.

After the break Atletico came on with a renewed sense of purpose and quickly started to push. This paid off a few minutes into the second half when Falcao, on the back post, volleyed the ball into the Catalan’s net from a corner.

As is so often the case Barcelona dominated possession, but even so the hosts were quick to attack when they had the opportunity. Dani Alves was instrumental in setting up an attack on the Atletico goal, but the ball was just beyond Messi’s reach and Alexis headed it over the post. Close to the end Barcelona’s defence messed up and allowed Falcao into the area. However, Valdes kept his head and reached the ball to prevent a second goal.

The match was won from a free kick by Messi. The ball soared over the Atletico defence and looked like it would go over the goal; however at the last second it dipped and went into the back of the net, much to the surprise of the Atletico goalie.

The final score was 2-1 to Barcelona, but with a 10 point disadvantage to Real Madrid their dream of another Spanish league title in 2012 was already over; coach Pep Guardiola admitted the fact, saying only that they would continue to play until the end.

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Torre Agbar and Barrio Poblenou

During the industrial revolution of the 19th century the neighbourhood was of great importance to both Catalan and Iberian industry. The area, which at the time was mainly factories, earned its nickname as the Catalan ‘Manchester’.

Many of the original buildings and industrial chimneys still exist; however, most have been converted into company and civic buildings. In Poblenou the industrial revolution age sits next to futuristic with the @22 Barcelona technology district just around the corner and the ultra modern building that houses the ME Barcelona Hotel.

However, the most notable and futuristic of them all is the Torre Agbar (Agbar Tower), designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, together with Spanish firm B720 Arquitectos. This 38-story tower is located in the Barrio Poblenou, between Diagonal and Carrer Badajoz; on its inauguration in 2005, it marked the start of the new technological era and district that was developing in Barcelona.

The design of the tower was inspired by Montserrat, which is a mountain close to Barcelona and also by a geyser shooting up into the air. It could also be mistaken for the Norman Foster designed 30 St Mary Axe skyscraper.

According to Torre Agbar designer Jean Nouvel, the greatest and most influential Catalan architect, Antoni Guadí influenced the construction, with references in the design to the bell towers of the Sagrada Familia and to the Hotel Attraction, a Gaudí project for a skyscraper in New York, which he never realised.

Close to the Torre Agbar is the Glories shopping centre on Avenida Diagonal; the tree-lined boulevard is where you will find locals out walking, jogging and cycling.

Poblenou also has its own version of Las Ramblas, the Rambla de Poblenou is lovely pedestrianised street, where residents step out to stroll, shop and chat with the neighbours. Rambla de Poblenou stretches from Avenida Diagonal down to the Mar Bella Beach.

The Carrer de Maria Aguilo, which runs parallel with the Rambla de Poblenou is a great street to wander down. It still retains much of the charm of the old neighbourhood.

With its close proximity to the sea, you can find some great local seafood restaurants in Poblenou, in Placa Prim (Prim Square) you find Els Pescador, one of the best fish restaurants in Barcelona. It has to be experienced.

Poblenou is by far one of the more dynamic neighbourhoods of Barcelona; from its old industrial roots to its pioneering technological community. The area certainly knows how to combine old charm and local hospitality with the truly cutting edge.

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