Barcelona 6-1 Eibar, 2017 La Liga: Match Review

Barcelona extended their perfect run to start the season, blowing past Eibar by 6 goals to 1, on the backs of yet another monster showing from Lionel Messi who finished the game with four goals. Paulinho and Denis Suarez also scored for Barcelona, while each also picking up an assist, and Sergi Enrich found the back of the net for the visiting side.

Ernesto Valverde rotated heavily in this match, leaving several key players on the bench, Luis Suarez for example, while some, like Samuel Umtiti, didn’t even make the match squad. Lucas Digne started at left-back, while Paulinho made his first Barcelona start in midfield. Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu stared on the wings.

While Barcelona started the match, as expected, dominating possession, it were the visitors who threated first. Sergi Enrich was played behind the Barcelona defense for a one-on-one with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the young German won the duel.

Barcelona struggled in the early going as Eibar’s positioning and defense very effectively shut down the Catalans. There was very little room for Messi and company to operate, leading to numerous misplaced passes and turnovers. But even though they forced several turnovers, Eibar couldn’t really threaten on the counter attack. The visitors were often found buzzing around ter Stegen’s area, but apart from the aforementioned chance by Enrich, ter Stegen didn’t have to get involved much.

Regardless of their early struggles, Barcelona still managed to take the lead in the 20th minute. The ball was played to Nelson Semedo inside the Eibar penalty area. The Portuguese defender went down after a body check by Álex Gálvez and referee Alejandro José Hernández Hernández was quick to point to the spot. Lionel Messi took responsibility and, unlike on his last attempt, found the back of the net for the sixth time this season. Goalkeeper Marko Dmitrović guessed right, but Messi’s shot went over his hand and into the back of the net for the lead.

Barcelona looked to quickly double their lead as just over a minute later Deulofeu was played behind the line and was going alone on Dmitrović, but the play was whistled dead for offside. The replays were inconclusive, though the young winger appeared to be level with Eibar’s last defender. In the 26th minute Messi looked to double up, but this time he was denied by the Serbian goalkeeper. Messi was aiming for the top corner, but Dmitrović did well to prevent to goal.

The Catalans continued to attack in search of a bigger lead, however, Eibar continued to hold Barcelona’s attacks to the perimeter, even though the Basque side didn’t come to the Camp Nou to park a bus. Manager José Luis Mendilibar has often come to play to Barcelona instead of defending with eleven, but whether that is a prudent tactic is up for debate, as his teams conceded 32 goals in seven games in Barcelona.

And the 37th minute added another goal to that statistic. Takashi Inui lost the ball in transition, leading to a quick Barcelona counterattack. Deulofeu played the ball to Messi on the edge of the area, but his low shot was excellently saved by Dmitrović. But from the ensuing corner kick Barcelona doubled the lead. Denis swung the ball into the area where Paulinho rose the highest and powered the ball into the net.

The last scoring opportunity of the opening 45 minutes would, however, go to Eibar, who had a good look on goal from a free kick from roughly 25 yards out, but Anaitz Arbilla’s shot was blocked. There was no time for the ensuing corner kick as the referee immediately whistled for halftime.

Both teams started the second half looking to attack, but with Barcelona’s defense looking strong from left to right, Barcelona often found space going forward on the counter. Sadly, both good looking attacks launched in the opening five minutes were thwarted due to poor decision making from Deulofeu. Overall, it wasn’t a very good night for the winger, who left much to be desired in attack, but made numerous contributions on defense.

But even though the Catalans missed some early chances, they would not be denied again in the 53rd minute. Iniesta started the play with a long pass to Messi, with a massive assist to Paulinho who appeared to be the initial recipient, but as two defenders moved in on the Brazilian, he let the ball past him to spring Messi on the counter. Messi fired another low shot from an excellent spot, but again he was denied by Dmitrović. The rebound, however, fell right to the waiting Denis, who powered the ball in to increase the lead.

Both teams were in full attack mode by now as four goals would be scored in less than ten minutes. The first one was the aforementioned one by Denis. The second came on the other end of the pitch after a perfect cross from Junca to Enrich who scored with a lovely redirection after some lax defending from Gerard Pique.

Two minutes later, in the 59th minute, Messi finally bested Dmitrović from the edge of the area with a low shot. Sergio Busquets found Messi in just enough space to make a couple steps and fire on goal to restore the three-goal lead with a shot just mere inches inside the post.

In the 62nd minute, Messi completed the hat-trick. The attack, however, started inside the Barcelona area, where ter Stegen made an excellent save on Inui. From the save, Barcelona immediately went on the counter that after a few passes saw Paulinho play Messi into a great position. Surrounded by three defenders, Messi somehow got a shot off that went through the legs of Dmitrović and into the net.

In quick succession Valverde then made two substitution, both with the intention of resting key figures. First, Sergi Roberto replaced Iniesta, then moments later, Busquets made way for Ivan Rakitić. Even though the game was all but decided, Barcelona continued to play attacking football and continued to press on the rare occasion when Eibar took possession of the ball. An excellent example of that came in the 71st minute when Digne stopped a counter attack and immediately went forward to receive a pass from Pique to create an excellent scoring chance, though the Frenchman was ultimately denied by Dmitrović

Even in the final ten minutes, Barcelona players were still sprinting all over the pitch to put pressure on Eibar players going forward. There was less urgency in attack, but such energy from Barcelona as a team was rarely seen in recent seasons. Eibar looked for one more consolidation goal, but despite good effort, and a terrible turnover from Pique, the closest Eibar came was when Rubén Peña hit the post in the 86th minute. And when Charles hit the crossbar in the dying moments of the game…

But even though Barcelona rarely attacked in the final ten minutes of the game, the Catalans would add one more to their total, again courtesy of Messi. The Argentine himself started the key move in the attack, playing a great pass to the right side to Aleix Vidal, who joined play in the 75th minute in place of Deulofeu. Vidal wasted no time and quickly sent a perfect back-pass to Messi who picked up his fourth of the night with and easy finish.

In all, it was a clinical performance from Barcelona in a game in which both sides had a similar number of shots (11-13 actually in favor of Eibar), but Barcelona scored five goals more. The Catalans’ grueling schedule continues on Saturday when they travel to fellow Catalans – Girona.

Barcelona vs. Eibar, 2017 La Liga: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread

Lineups, television and streaming options, and full coverage of Barcelona vs. Eibar in La Liga. Join the conversation!

MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ON TV/ONLINE

Preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar, La Liga Matchday 5

Date/Time: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 10pm local time, 9pm (UK & Nigeria), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1:30am IST (India, Wednesday)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia

Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Sky Sports Mix (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Sky GO (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


LINEUPS

Barcelona

Starting XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Mascherano, Digne; Busquets, Paulinho, Iniesta; Deulofeu, Messi, Denis

Bench: Cillessen, Alba, Vermalen, Vidal, Roberto, Rakitić, Suarez

Eibar

Starting XI: Dmitrović; Arbilla, Paulo, Galvez, Junca; Escalante, Garcia, Jordan; Capa, Enrich, Inui

Bench: Riesgo, Lomban, Angel, Rivera, Bebe, Pena, Charles


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FC Barcelona News: 19 September 2017; Samuel Umtiti Given Rest, Barca Legends to Play in Bulgaria

Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Eibar | FC Barcelona
Four games into the fledgling 2017/18 La Liga campaign, the view from above is breathtaking. From its lofty perch in the league pecking order, Barça—which welcomes Eibar to Camp Nou on Tuesday night—has nothing above it but open sky, while a flock of teams clutch for a seat on the branches below.

Digne, Aleix Vidal and Vermaelen, in match day squad | FC Barcelona
The available first team players were put through their paces at the Tito Vilanova pitch at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to finish their preparations for Wednesday’s match. The blaugranas receive Eibar in a match corresponding to the fifth La Liga fixture of the season in which they will try and continue their perfect start to stay top of the table.

Ernesto Valverde: Six down, three to go | FC Barcelona
Barça manager Ernesto Valverde fielded a grand total of 18 questions from the media in under 20 minutes on Monday, appearing relaxed and confident in his first-place team just 24 hours ahead of Tuesday night’s midweek La Liga clash with Eibar.

Ousmane Dembele injury partly down to inexperience – Barcelona’s Valverde | ESPN
Dembele, 20, flew to Helsinki, Finland, on Monday to be operated on by specialist doctor Sakari Orava after rupturing a tendon in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Getafe. Footage has since indicated that the France international appeared to have a slight problem in the warm-up.

Ousmane Dembele’s injury provides latest opportunity for Gerard Deulofeu | ESPN
If it’s not one thing it’s another for Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. Appointed as Luis Enrique’s successor at the very end of May, in the time which has followed he’s seen Neymar leave for Paris Saint-Germain, a vote of no confidence launched against the club’s board and the transfer window close with a failure to either buy or sell particularly sufficiently.

Ernesto Valverde hasn’t disappointed as Barcelona manager – Bartomeu | ESPN
The Catalan giants had an embarrassing transfer window. Star forward Neymar shockingly left the club for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record deal. And the Blaugrana very publicly failed in their attempt to bring Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho — for whom they bid three times — to the Camp Nou.

Barcelona reiterate €200m demand for Coutinho while ruling out January arrivals | Goal
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu maintains that Liverpool demanded €200 million for Philippe Coutinho over the summer, pricing them out of the market. The La Liga giants spent much of the transfer window pursuing the Brazilian forward, with the departure of Neymar in a record-breaking €222m deal leading them to seek out reinforcements.

Barça Legends in action in Bulgaria | FC Barcelona
The game will be coach ‘Chapi’ Ferrer’s second game in charge on the former Barça players team and his squad for the trip to Easter Europe is as follows: Angoy, Guzmán, Juan Carlos, Dehú, Goikoetxea, Quique Estebaranz, Julio Salinas, Popescu, Sánchez Jara, Sergi Barjuan, Santi Ezquerro, Miquel Àngel Nadal and Juan Carlos Moreno plus debutants Dani García, Óscar Arpón and Jari Litmanen.

FC Barcelona News: 18 September 2017; Ousmane Dembélé Flies to Finland, Barcelona B Salvage Draw

Ousmane Dembélé medical announcement | FC Barcelona
The tests have come back following first team player Ousmane Dembélé’s injury in the 29th minute of the Getafe match. Unfortunately, he has ruptured the tendon in his femoral bicep in his left thigh. The player will be operated on by Dr. Sakari Orava in Finland this week. He is expected to be out for between three and a half months and four months.

Dembélé flies to Helsinki for surgery | FC Barcelona
Frst team player Ousmane Dembélé traveled on Monday morning to Helsinki, Finland, where he will undergo surgery to repair a rupture of the biceps femoris tendon in his left thigh. Dembélé was accompanied by team physician, Dr. Ricard Pruna. Dembélé will be operated on Tuesday by Dr. Sakari Orava. Following the surgery, the Club will provide a medical statement.

RIVAL WATCH: Outright leaders | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona are two points clear at the top of the Liga table after the only other team with a 100 per cent record, Real Sociedad, lost 3-1 at home to Real Madrid on Sunday evening. Borja Mayoral and Gareth Bale scored first and third for the visitors, with an own goal in between, but despite victory, the defending champions are still four points behind leaders Barça after four games.

Barça-Eibar, synonymous with goals | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona and Eibar have faced each other on a total of six occasions in La Liga during the three seasons that the Basques have been in the Spanish top flight. The games between the teams always promise goals, both at the Camp Nou and in Ipurua. In total, Barcelona have scored 20 and only conceded three, winning all six matches.

When and where to watch FC Barcelona v Eibar | FC Barcelona
La Liga is back on Tuesday with Barça at home to Eibar in what is a10.00pm CET kick-off local time. This page should help you find out when the game is starting in your part of the world – and also includes information on global broadcasters.

Ter Stegen blasts ‘awful’ Getafe pitch | Football Espana
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has hit out at the ‘awful’ state of Getafe’s pitch during the side’s league encounter on Saturday. The Blaugrana came from a goal down to fight back for a narrow 2-1 victory at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez but the German goalkeeper, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, criticised the pitch condition.

Philippe Coutinho looks to future at Liverpool after failed Barcelona move | ESPN
Philippe Coutinho has told ESPN Brasil that he has “no problems” with anybody at Liverpool despite the club blocking a move to Barcelona. Coutinho was the subject of three bids from Barcelona and he handed in a transfer request in an attempt to leave Anfield.

AD Alcorcon 1-1 FC Barcelona B: Aleña snatches late draw | FC Barcelona
Barça B have drawn 1-1 in a tight game away to Alcorcón in which Aleñá became the first player to score a goal this season against the home side. It was end-to-end from the start, with Fali and Arnáiz getting the first two real chances for the Catalans.

FC Barcelona News: 17 September 2017; Barcelona Earn Comeback Win, Ousmane Dembele Injures Hamstring

Getafe 1-2 Barça: Super subs do the job | FC Barcelona
In the Madrid afternoon sunshine, Barça were made to work hard at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, but their class told in the end, substitutes Denis Suárez and Paulinho ensuring their perfect start to the season continued. The last time that the Blaugrana had lost at this stadium was back in 2011 and the visitors began in a confident manner, using the full width of the pitch to stretch the play at every opportunity.

A victory conjured up from the bench | FC Barcelona
Another Barça win and the blaugranes continue their 100% record in the league with 12 poitns out of a possible 12 following the 2-1 win over Getafe in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. Gaku Shibasaki put the home side ahead but second half strikes from substitutes Denis Suárez and Paulinho allowed the visitors to take all three points.

Ernesto Valverde: It was a tough game and it cost us a lot | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde highlighted the reaction of his team to going a goal behind against Getafe, in his post-match press conference: “It was a tough game and it cost us a lot, against a rival that pressed high against us. The pitch didn’t help, because it was dry and the ball didn’t go too far, but we came back and this proves our power of reaction in a difficult game.”

Ousmane Dembele to miss ‘some time’ after injury on league debut for Barca | ESPN
Barcelona face an anxious wait to discover the severity of the injury that forced Ousmane Dembele to hobble out of Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Getafe. Dembele, making his first start in La Liga, fell to the ground clutching his hamstring after sprinting for the ball just after the 20-minute mark.

Marc-André ter Stegen reaches Barça century | FC Barcelona
The FC Barcelona goalkeeper made his 100th appearance for the Club in the match against Getafe on Saturday. The German has won nine trophies and played 100 times since his arrival in the summer of 2014. He is now an established player at the Club who is loved by the fans and who has some excellent statistics.

HIGHLIGHTS: Getafe vs FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona retain their 100% record in the league thanks to a 2-1 come from behind win against Getafe in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. Ernesto Valverde’s side fell behind in the first half with Gaku Shibasaki scoring a spectacular volley for the home side. In the second half, however, substitutes Denis Suárez and Paulinho swung the game in Barça’s favour.

FC Barcelona News: 15 September 2017; First Stone Laid at the Johan Cruyff Stadium

Symbolic laying of the first stone of the Johan Cruyff Stadium | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona officially broke ground on Thursday at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, which will be the jewel of the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and an emblematic piece of the Espai Barça project and where a clear plastic time capsule filled with different objects was deposited into the ground.

When and where to watch Getafe CF vs FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona head on the road to Getafe Saturday, when they’ll look to stay perfect on the season. That’s right, Barça have won all three La Liga matches so far and have conceded zero goals in the process! And to top it off, superstar striker Lionel Messi leads the league in scoring with five goals on the young season. Add it all up and you have what should be a very entertaining encounter on your hands this weekend. Don’t miss it!

Josep Maria Bartomeu: ‘Leo Messi’s commitment to FC Barcelona is total’ | FC Barcelona
The president of FC Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was interviewed on the ‘Fórum de Joc’ programme for 8tv, and he highlighted Lionel Messi’s commitment to the club and the good moment that the team find themselves in. “Leo’s commitment to Barça is total. His father has signed the renewal and, therefore, the only thing left to do is to take the photograph.”

Lionel Messi’s father has signed contract renewal – Barcelona president | ESPN
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has again said that Lionel Messi’s father has signed a contract renewal on behalf of the Argentina forward that will keep him at the club until 2021. Barca announced in July that Messi had agreed a four-year extension to his deal and it would be “signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for preseason training.”

Rakitic: ‘It was important to start well’ | FC Barcelona
On Thursday afternoon at a promotional event, both Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitić talked to the media about Barcelona’s excellent start to the season. A 3-0 Champions League win over Juventus on Tuesday followed three successive victories in La Liga and the Croatian emphasised that “it has been very important to start so well.”

Liverpool’s Mo Salah wins Champions League Player of the Week – and Barcelona fans aren’t pleased | Squawka
There have been some eyebrows raised however by fans and pundits alike following the announcement, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi or even Tottenham’s Harry Kane perhaps more deserving of the award voted for by fans in an online poll.Messi in particular was at his incomparable best in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Juventus at the Camp Nou earlier this week.

Barcelona’s Iniesta? Verratti-style Maxime Lopez on Valverde radar |ESPN
Barcelona have been strongly linked with an interest in Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez as they look to strengthen their options in midfield. Moves for Marco Verratti and Philippe Coutinho failed in the summer, meaning Barca are likely to return to the market, if not in January, then at the end of the season.

FC Barcelona News: 14 September 2017; Players Return to Training after Day Off, Jean Michael Seri on Radar Again

Barça, Valverde style | FC Barcelona
There is no doubt that the Barça have started the season well after three consecutive league wins and an impressive victory over Juventus in their first fixture of the Champions League. Defensively they have been solid to the point of not conceding a single goal since the start of the league campaign.

Barça racks up 4th straight shutout | FC Barcelona
Who would’ve guessed that after four matches in the Spanish First Division and one in the UEFA Champions League FC Barcelona would have four matching clean sheets to pin up on the wall as a testament to its early season success? While a quartet of victories in the season’s first four encounters is hardly surprising, the fact that Barça has outscored opponents 12–0 in those games more accurately describes just how dominating the team his been, especially in its own end.

Back to training with La Liga in mind | FC Barcelona
Barça got back to work on Thursday following the rest day Valverde gave his squad after their 3-0 victory against Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. The first team are top of the league table level on points with Real Sociedad and they impressed in their Champions League debut. Lionel Messi’s form is an important part of this flying start with a fantastic haul of seven goals in four games.

Leo Messi, four away from 100 goals in the Champions League | FC Barcelona
Wtih his brace against Juventus, the Argentine now has 96 goals in 116 games in a Barça shirt in Europe’s premier club competition. Let’s take a more detailed look.

Benedito: Bartomeu on the brink | FC Barcelona
Former Barcelona presidential candidate Augusti Benedito has given current incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu (pictured) ‘a month and a half’ before he resigns. A vote of no confidence in the under-fire Bartomeu looms with Benedito’s campaign gathering 7,278 of the required 16,570 signatures to force the ballot.

Barcelona favour Nice’s Jean Michael Seri over Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho | ESPN
[Mirror] details how the Blaugrana are ready to drop their interest in the Reds star and pursue Seri instead. The Brazilian was ready to leave the Reds this summer, but owners FSG refused to budge on their stance that the player wouldn’t be sold.

Barca offered Di Maria €10m salary | Football Espana
Barcelona were reportedly willing to offer Angel Di Maria an annual salary of €10m which would have made him their third highest earner. According to Marca, the Blaugrana were extremely keen to land the Argentine winger with both Ernesto Valverde and the club’s board seeing him as an ideal replacement to compensate for Neymar’s exit.

Barcelona predict annual revenue near €900m for this season | ESPN
The Catalan club announced a record revenue of €708m for the 2016-17 season earlier this year — €13 million higher than they’d estimated at this time last year — which represented an increase of almost €88m on the previous season.

Kobe Bryant, Barça all the way | FC Barcelona
Making the most of the partnership the Club has with Mission Hills, famous Barça fan Kobe Bryant was given and signed some of this season’s FC Barcelona shirts. One of the shirts was dedicated to the Club’s offices in the Chinese city. Kobe Bryant had his photograph taken with the organisers of the event with a blaugrana shirt with his name on it.

The Top-5 academy goals from the second week of September | FC Barcelona
The Masia doesn’t stop. FC Barcelona’s academy players have the blaugrana DNA in their veins and they demonstrate this week in week out with the goals they score. Last weekend was no different and he saw a plethora of great strikes from which we have chosen our Top-5.

FC Barcelona News: 13 September 2017; Barcelona Hammer Juventus as Champions League Begins

Barça 3-0 Juventus: Mamma mia! | FC Barcelona
The players made it very clear in the build-up to Tuesday night’s Champions League opener that it was not about revenge. There was no score to settle against the side that put them out of this competition last season. But beating La Vecchia Signora, and doing so in such convincing fashion, will have left an especially sweet taste in their mouths. And yet another stellar performance from Leo Messi makes that taste all the more delicious.

Valverde and his players ecstatic after impressive Champions League debut against Juventus | FC Barcelona
Positive vibes as Barça manager, plus Jordi Alba, Andrés Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Nelson Semedo, analyse a wonderful win at Camp Nou.

HIGHLIGHTS: Barça 3, Juventus 0 | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have notched up their first victory in this season’s Champions League with Leo Messi once again the star man. The Argentine scored twice against Juventus, last season’s runners-up in the competition and the reigning Italian league champions, to help Barça to a 3-0 win.

Juve pessimistic on Iniesta exit | Football Espana
Andres Iniesta will not be leaving Barcelona next summer despite being out of contract according to the Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta. The 33-year-old’s Camp Nou deal expires in June 2018 and he has been linked with a move to the Italian champions next summer, although cold water appears to have been poured on those rumours.

Barca’s Ernesto Valverde thankful he doesn’t have to go against Lionel Messi | ESPN
Ernesto Valverde is thankful to finally be able to enjoy having Lionel Messi on his side after spending years suffering at the hands of Barcelona’s Argentine star. Messi scored twice on Tuesday as Barca began their Champions League campaign with an emphatic 3-0 win against last season’s runners-up, Juventus, who eliminated the Catalan side in the last eight on their way to the final.

Higuain in hot water for fans gesture? | Football Espana
Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain could be slapped with a Champions League ban after making an offensive gesture toward Barcelona fans.The Argentine, formerly of Barca’s arch rivals Real Madrid, was replaced in the 87th minute of the Old Lady’s 3-0 loss in the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

Nike presents dark maroon FC Barcelona third strip for 2017/18 season | FC Barcelona
Nike has presented the new FC Barcelona third strip for the 2017/18 season, and the maroon coloured design is on sale from Tuesday from NIKE.COM/FCB and official club distributors. The FC Barcelona first team will be wearing it for the first time next September 27 in their Champions League match against Sporting Lisbon.

U19: FC Barcelona 1-0 Juventus: Three points on European debut | FC Barcelona
The U19 team has got off to the perfect start in the 2017/18 Youth League by beating Juventus 1-0 at the Miniestadi. It was a tough game against a rock-solid Italian side, and the visiting defence wasn’t beaten until Carles Pérez converted a free kick ten minutes from the end.

Barcelona 3-0 Juventus, 2017 Champions League: Match Review

Barcelona had a score to settle with Juventus, after the Italians knocked the Catalans out of the Champions League last season, and settle the score they surely did. Led by Lionel Messi who scored two goals and was crucial in the buildup to the other one, Barcelona outscored Juventus by three goals. While the difference on the pitch might not have been as stark as the score suggested, Barcelona showed deadliness in front of goal that was missing when the two sides last met.

Barcelona started the 2017-18 Champions League campaign kicking-off from midfield, and just three minutes in launched a dangerous counter attack led by Ousmane Dembele, who was making his first Barcelona start. Dembele quickly showcased his speed, but could only win a corner kick which Juventus managed to clear.

Two minutes later, the visitors threatened from distance, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen managed to tip the ball behind goal. Somehow, though, referee Damir Skomina missed the young German’s crucial touch and no corner kick was awarded.

In the early going, Barcelona’s play in attack left much to be desired as Juventus did well to disrupt Barcelona’s play. Neither side wanted to risk too much, with Juventus looking especially organized defensively. With Barcelona misplacing many passes, Juventus were able to launch quick counter attacks. The Catalan defenders managed to keep Juventus’ attempts to the side, but ter Stegen still had to make a pair of good saves.

While ter Stegen had to be on his game from the opening minutes, Barcelona didn’t test Gianluigi Buffon until the 20th minute. Andres Iniesta won a free kick in a very dangerous area, from which Lionel Messi attempted a cheeky shot below the wall. The shot was blocked, but the rebound fell to Luis Suarez who powered a shot on goal, but Buffon made an excellent save.

The middle part of the first half featured plenty of broken play from both sides and neither team managed to get anywhere near the opposing goalkeeper. Even though Barcelona looked like the more dangerous team on the pitch, Juventus’ defense, especially on the very edge of the penalty area, allowed almost no room to make any plays. Juventus still relied on quick counters in attack, but Barcelona defended well, even at the cost of a yellow card, like Nelson Semedo displayed around the half hour mark.

But even a brilliant defense, like the one Juventus have, can make mistakes, and Mattia De Sciglio made a big one in the 38th minute, sending a poor pass across the area where Dembele made the interception. But right as he was setting up for the shot, he had the ball cleared away.

In the 41st minute, Massimiliano Allegri was forced to make his first substitution. De Sciglio was visibly struggling, oftentimes clenching his right leg, and was replaced by Stefano Sturaro. In the final moments of the half, Juventus pinned Barcelona back for the first time since the opening 10 minutes, and created a couple of half-chances, but ter Stegen wasn’t tested, mostly due to some heroics from Nelson.

It appeared that the teams would go into the break deadlocked at one, but Messi had other plans. Barcelona broke through the Juventus midfield in numbers, with Messi leading the charge. On the run, Messi played a quick one-two with Suarez, leaving the Argentine in space. Buffon had the near post covered to perfection, but Messi went to the far side, placing the ball just inside the post for his first goal against Buffon, silencing critics who held that “feat” against him.

Quickly after, Skomina whistled for halftime. While it wasn’t a brilliant half by Barcelona, the Catalans played like a team on offense and on defense. The right side with Dembele and Semedo showed tons of potential, on both ends of the pitch. Juventus did a very good job isolating Messi, but as soon as the Argentine was allowed a little bit of space Barcelona made Juventus pay.

After the break, which brought no substitutions, Juventus tried to catch Barcelona flat-footed. Paulo Dybala was left with a shot from an excellent position after a breakdown in defense, but his accuracy wasn’t on the same level as it was in the last meeting between the two teams.

Barcelona looked to reply quickly to add some insurance. In the 52nd minute Messi fired from over 20 yards out, cannoning the shot off the post. The ball ricochet into Buffon before bouncing back just wide of the post. But Barcelona managed to double the lead four minutes later. Moments after picking up a card for wanting a yellow for a foul on him, Messi went on a long run down the right side. Messi’s pass into the area was destined for an easy tap in, but Sturaro managed to clear. The clear, however, went to Ivan Rakitić, who was left with an easy finish to double Barcelona’s lead.

Barcelona continued to attack, creating a good chance from a free kick, but Buffon was in perfect position to make the save. Juventus then made their second substitution, with Bernardeschi replacing Bentancur.

With Juventus committing more men forward, Barcelona found more space in attack. Barcelona found it much easier to create chances and moments after Saurez missed a good chance, Messi added to Barcelona’s lead with a brilliant move outside of the area to create space for the shot before sending Buffon the wrong way from the edge of the area.

In quick succession, Ernesto Valverde made two changes, first Sergi Roberto took the place of Dembele, who was largely anonymous in the second half as he was mostly very isolated on the right wing. Then Paulinho took the place of Rakitić. In the 79th minute Barcelona seemingly added one more goal to their total, but the goal was eventually ruled out for offside, though replays showed the play was very close.

After taking the commanding lead, Barcelona allowed Juve some chances. First, in the 81st minute, Dybala fired a dangerous shot, but ter Stegen made another excellent save. But the best opportunity came through a Medhi Benatia header. Ter Stegen was beaten, but Gerard Pique blocked the shot on the line a cleared the ball away.

With the game decided and ten minutes left on the clock, neither side showed much urgency on the pitch. Both managers made one more personnel change, with Andre Gomes joining the pitch for Barcelona. Juventus were continued their search for the consolidation goal, but the score-line remained the same, with Barcelona running out deserved winners of a much anticipated match of the opening round of the new Champions League season.

Barcelona vs. Juventus, 2017 Champions League: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread

Lineups, television and streaming options, and full coverage of Barça’s European debut against Juventus

MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ON TV/ONLINE

Preview: Barcelona vs. Juventus, UEFA Champions League Matchday 1

Date/Time: Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 8:45pm local time, 7:45pm BST (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 12:15am IST (India, Wednesday)

Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia

Television: Fox Sports 2 (USA), BT Sport Extra (UK), SuperSport 6 (Nigeria), TSN4 (Canada), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: Fox Sports GO, BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)


LINEUPS

Barcelona

Starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi; Dembélé, Suárez

Bench: Cillessen, Mascherano, Roberto, Denis, Gomes, Paulinho, Deulofeu

Juventus

Starting XI: Buffon; De Sciglio, Benatia, Barzagli, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Higuaín, Costa

Bench: Szczęsny, Asamoah, Rugani, Sturaro, Bernardeschi, Merio, Caligara


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