The Camp Nou was buzzing as almost 100,000 fans commemorated Lionel Messi’s 500 goals. It seemed as if the match against Osasuna was a side attraction. The match ended up being enjoyable while putting pressure on Real Madrid to perform. Leo appreciated the gesture, but, as we saw, he wasn’t done yet.
This review comes at a delay because I’ve spent the last two days in a fugue state, waiting to wake up from what surely must have been a culé’s hopeful, feverish imaginings.
FC Barcelona scraped out a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at home on Saturday for a vital, if not convincing, three points.
You can say it was a hangover from their last match and you might be right, but the reason FC Barcelona lost two to one to Deportivo de La Coruña at the Estadio Riazor was lack of fire and individual errors. Misplaced passes and poor defending on corners led to both goals for the home side. Barcelona on the other hand didn’t create enough chances and the few they did were wasted whether it was the final ball in the form of a bad pass or a lacking shot.
It’s difficult to put into words the 90 minutes of football I have just watched. Going into any big match Barcelona almost always seem to find another gear, create a bit of magic and come away with a good result, even when they aren’t at their best. Tonight’s game was dreadful. It’s hard to describe it in more detail than that.
A match between Barcelona and the opposition from the north is always sure to be a good one. With Paco Alcácer starting in place of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar up front, the midfield was made up of André Gomes, Arda Turan, and Rafinha. The defense included Aleix Vidal, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu. With Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, the match was off.
Before the break, Barcelona’s Copa del Rey tie with Atleti was a dominant display capped off with a two-goal advantage.
The second half, conversely, was a reminder that you should never feel calm at half-time and always prepare for the last 45 minutes to test your nerves.
Travelling to the small Basque city of Eibar is always a spectacle for Barcelona. Seeing Barça’s stars taking to the field at the hostile atmosphere of the Ipurua is an interesting sight, and the team of superstars are always expected to roll the little team over, but Eibar’s quick growth into La Liga battlers has made sure that they are anything but pushovers.
Barcelona fans needed one thing from the last group stage match in Champions League play, a victory. Four draws in five matches in all competitions has left a bitter taste in the Blaugrana’s mouths, but there were three other things the faithful desperately wanted to happen to turn the recent tide for the club. With the top spot in Group C already secured, supporters hoped to see a goal from Paco Alcácer, strong displays from fringe players, and for Lionel Messi to break Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for most goals in the group stage. Well, one out of three ain’t bad especially with the dominating performance displayed by FC Barcelona on the night.
FC Barcelona failed to impress at home and to keep pace with Real Madrid. On a night where the club sorely missed Lionel Messi, Barcelona were only able to tie a very defensive Malaga. Ten men behind the ball for Malaga meant Barcelona’s offense was severely limited to wide play and the individual magic of Neymar.