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Brave Barcelona beat the boo boys for brilliant European win

Vital victory for the Catalans in an intimidating arena

Europa League round of 16”Galatasaray AS v FC Barcelona” Photo by ANP via Getty Images

After being kept awake at all hours thanks to that old tried and tested trick from local supporters of letting off fireworks and making noise outside the team hotel, it’s a wonder that Barca’s players had the energy to compete in what was expected to be a high-octane European night.

In the first half up to the point when Pedri conjured up what almost certainly has to go down as one of the goals of the season, the Blaugranes were indeed sluggish and lacklustre.

There looked to be a long night ahead, particularly when Ferran Torres lost his marker Marcao who then promptly found the net to set the stadium alight. Not that the 50,000 Galatasaray fans needed any more encouragement.

Back in the 90s their ‘Welcome to Hell’ banners were legendary, and at that point, Xavi’s XI were really in the mire. ‘Hell’ may have been more preferable.

It took that sublime Pedri finish to not only silence the crowd but to knock the stuffing out of the hosts.

Galatasaray v Barcelona - UEFA Europa League Photo by Erhan Sevenler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Fortunately for Barca, the goal came at just the right time, as did Auba’s which, of course, turned out to be the winner.

Inaki Pena was unlucky after pulling off two saves in the build up, but his performances over the 180 minutes cemented his claims to be Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s understudy next season.

Thereafter, we saw a thoroughly professional away performance which bodes well for the match on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

No one is really expecting Barca to go to Madrid and win I would suggest, however, there’s also no reason why they can’t.

It won’t affect the title race but would give Xavi’s young charges more belief.

Europa League round of 16”Galatasaray AS v FC Barcelona” Photo by ANP via Getty Images

Belief is something that the coach has managed to instill in a relatively short space of time in charge, and though there were moments of poor play, distribution and attitude at times, there is no doubt whatsoever that the squad are moving forward under Xavi.

Another important summer is ahead in terms of transfers in and out, and I think everyone can see that with a full season under his belt, Xavi is built to bring success back to the club - as most thought he would do given half the chance.

At this point, it would even be ridiculous to discount Barca from European glory this year, and that in itself would be a remarkable achievement, given the backdrop to the season.

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