Barcelona win but stare into Euro abyss
November 22, 2006 7:51pm CST
Reigning European champions Barcelona kept their hopes of a title repeat on course with a 2-0 win over Levski Sofia but now must beat Werder Bremen in their final group game to progress. Ludovic Giuly and Andres Iniesta were on target for the Spanish giants. However, Werder Bremen's 1-0 win over Group A leaders Chelsea means Frank Rijkaard's team have to beat the Germans at the Nou Camp on December 5 to make the knockout round. Anything less will mean elimination. The Bulgarians welcomed back goalkeeper Georgi Petkov and striker Valeri Domovchijski after injury for the match while, for the visitors, Silvinho came in for Giovanni van Bronckhorst at left-back. The champions, who crushed the Bulgarians 5-0 in the first meeting between the two sides in Spain, got off to a flying start when Giuly opened the scoring after just five minutes. The French international midfielder fired in a low drive beneath Levski goalkeeper Petkov after Gianluca Zambrotta's right-wing cross wasn't cleared. It was Giuly's second goal in the tournament this season. Levski went into the tie having just scored once in their previous four games in the tournament while conceding 13 and they were always struggling to match Barcelona's stylish build-up. Their frustration was evident when defender Zhivko Milanov was booked for a foul on Giuly in the 25th minute. With Werder Bremen beating Chelsea at half-time, Barca kept pushing knowing that three points were crucial. Deco and Eidur Gudjohnsen tested Petkov early in the second period. Domovchijski then missed a good chance to level for Sofia from Lucio Wagner just before the hour. He was made to pay as Barca quickly opened up a two-goal lead. Petkov failed to hold on to a long-range Deco shot in the 65th minute and Barcelona midfielder Iniesta was quickest to react by tucking away the rebound from close range.