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Barcelona held by defiant Danes

3 November 2010 00:09

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - A Claudemir strike saw Copenhagen draw 1-1 with Barcelona and it means that the winners of Champions League Group D will be decided in the final two matches.

Barcelona travelled to Denmark with the intention of securing qualification for the next round but they found it difficult against a battling Copenhagen, a point behind them.

Lionel Messi gave the visitors the lead but it was short lived as Claudemir equalised from the next attack.

The Catalan side came into the game on the back of an emphatic 5-0 win over Sevilla domestically which keeps them a point behind leaders Real Madrid.

Coach Pep Guardiola sent-out a slightly more defensive formation with Seydou Keita coming into the side for striker Pedro Rodriguez and Andres Iniesta moving into attack.

Barcelona, who were beaten in the semi-final by Inter Milan last season, struggled when Copenhagen came to the Nou Camp a fortnight ago although they finally came through the game 2-0 and endured a similarly difficult evening here.

Copenhagen are dominating their domestic league and started the return leg with the same high intensity as in Spain where a double from star man Messi made the difference although Dame N'Doye hit the post and Dani Alves cleared another chance off the line.

The Barca centre-halves Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique have looked uneasy when put under pressure at times and the latter's poor clearance fell to Brazilian Claudemir after a few minutes and he hit a powerful drive from 30 yards which clipped the top of the cross bar.

The visitors were being harried and found it difficult to maintain possession but a delightful pass from Iniesta gave Villa Barca's first real chance of the game after 20 minutes. The Spain international, who scored a brace at the weekend, saw his shot from wide on the right tipped onto the post by the keeper.

William Kvist went close with a strike from distance but Barcelona's midfield cogs were beginning to find their groove as Sergio Busquets was denied by a point blank save from the keeper.

The goal came on the half hour mark when a Busquet's cross was headed on by Keita and although Mathias Jorgensen got to the ball ahead of Villa it fell to the unstoppable Messi who clipped the ball home.

However, they had barely finished their celebrations when the Danes drew level. Full-back Oscar Wendt's cross was parried into the path of Claudemir who fired back across the keeper into the corner.

Messi had been practically innocuous in the early stages but he became more and more involved as the game took its shape with Barcelona bossing the midfield and Copenhagen a constant danger on the break down the wings.

Messi hit the post in first-half stoppage time and Iniesta coming inside Zdenek Pospech had a shot blocked well by the keeper.

It was an exciting game between two different models of football but for Copenhagen too often the crosses from the wings were wayward and they could not commit men forward.

Copenhagen finished strongly but it was substitute Pedro who went closest to getting the winner for Barcelona in stoppage time when his shot came back off the upright.

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