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Guardiola Praises Messi for Late Goals that Saved Barca
    2008-10-02 16:43:37     Xinhua

FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was full of praise for his striker Leo Messi after watching the little Argentinian snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for his side.

Barca was losing 1-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk with just four minutes left on the clock when Messi scored the equalizer. He then scored a fine goal in injury time to ensure Barca won their second Champions League game out of the two they have played to date.

"He is a special player," said Guardiola on the Barca website late on Tuesday night.

"I really value this win. We knew it was going to be a really difficult match and we are talking about the Champions League, not some less important competition."

"I am not just praising Messi. But you also have to look at the work carried out by players such as Iniesta and Xavi," he said.

Guardiola also discussed the controversy surrounding Messi's first goal when Barca played on despite a Shakhtar player apparently injured on the floor.

"I can understand that they are upset about it, because they thought we were going to kick it out. However, we thought the ball was just a rebound and Bojan was sharper than everyone on the pitch. "

"I will not accept that they say we have not acted like gentlemen," added Guardiola.

 
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