The journey through the Barça desert continues. In Seville, the city where he had lost the Cup in 2019 against Marcelino’s Valencia, Koeman’s team was left with a silly face and lost the Super Cup against Marcelino’s Athletic (2-3). A final that seemed to be won, but Barça did not know how to protect the treasure that were the goals of Griezmann, one of the few footballers who knew how to live up to a match in which Barça did not deserve to win. Emotionally unstable, soft on defense and with no ideas on offense, Barça were on the verge of winning by playing poorly. But not like that. And he ended up losing the roles as Messi, sent off in the last minute of the match. The image of a hurtful defeat. As much by the result, as by the script and the game of the equipment during good part of a end where the Basoues, sometimes hard in defense, had more heart.
Winning a penalty shootout in the semifinals had sparked the adrenaline of a hungry Barça. Hungry for titles, hungry for glory. But the euphoria of the semifinal did not last long and hunger turned to anguish. Koeman’s team was caught in the defensive web of a reborn Athletic with the change of coach. Marcelino’s first game on the bench for the Basques, against Barça in San Mamés, turned out to be a testing ground that allowed the Asturian coach to improve his defensive system. And Athletic managed to get absolutely nothing to happen for 30 minutes. Only Ander Capa, with a shot that tested Ter Stegen, broke the monotony of a match that Barça started as if they had no esma, as if they had given him kryptonite. And that played Messi, recovered from his physical problems. But Marcelino knew how to isolate both the Argentine and his great accomplice, Pedri, well enough from the game. Barça got lost in the labyrinth of the Basques, waiting for someone to pull a thread to get out of the trap.
And the thread, of course, was pulled by a Messi who did not have the day. But the Argentine knew how to find Jordi Alba alone in the band in one of the few mistakes of the disciplined Basque defenses. And with a bit of luck, after a rebound, Griezmann managed to beat Simón with Barça’s first shot between the three posts. But what Jordi Alba gives you in attack, Jordi Alba can also take you out on defense. The winger always goes face to face, attacking. And sometimes they win his back. If scoring a goal just before the break seemed like a psychological blow for Barça to the Basques, Athletic Club did not take even 60 seconds to tie and leave Ronald Koeman with a slap in the face. Williams invented a pass to the back of the Barça defense and Óscar de Marcos overtook Ter Stegen, after escaping the surveillance of Jordi Alba. As in the semi-final against Real Sociedad, after giving the first blow, Barça was forced to start again. Then chewing sand.
A scare with Raúl García
Koeman, to try to give balance to his team, sacrificed Sergiño Dest already at halftime and brought in the right winger Mingueza. The idea was to be able to tie in short the always naughty Muniain and, incidentally, give back order to be able to risk attack. Barça needed their most talented players, but Messi, Pedri and De Jong were still in a cage. Griezmann did appear, touching the ball judiciously every time he got a space in the front. But Dembélé did not help him. The extreme is how Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a footballer with two faces. And in La Cartuja the Frenchman didn’t get one right. He was not the only one. The tactical battle between the two teams was accompanied by a lot of individual mistakes, bad controls and passes to the emptiness of the giant stadium of La Cartuja, where the desperate cries of the two coaches resounded. And also the cries of happiness and frustration of the Athletic players when they celebrated the second goal, the work of Raúl García after finishing off a cross from Muniain, who had won a foul precisely from Mingueza. But the VAR caught the Navarrese offside for a short time and pardoned Barça. A few minutes later, not even the VAR would save a defense that suffers too much with side centered face.
The goal disallowed at Athletic served to stretch the ears of a Barça that finally settled around the ball and closed an Athletic that plays everything in the counterattacks of Iñaki Williams, who collided more than once with an imperial Araujo. The young Uruguayan central defender was one of the few who took a step forward in a final with little football, without Koeman being encouraged to make further changes. And yet, Barça seemed to have the cup in their hands when Griezmann dressed as a hero with 15 minutes to go and finished off a cross from Alba. The Frenchman, playing the role of fake well new, slipped inside the area to beat Simon with a cross shot. Once again, Alba became Barça’s can opener. And in the second shot on goal, Griezmann scored the second goal. Unai Simón had not stained his gloves to make stops, but to catch the bottom ball of the net.
The final seemed decided, but Barça is a work in progress, a team still with doubts that reminds him of the fateful nights of recent years. And almost in the last play Asier Villalibre equalized again in a lateral foul badly defended by a Barça that has one of its heels of Aquilles in the plays of strategy. The goal brought the final to an overtime that started in the worst way, when Iñaki Williams invented a beautiful goal by sending the ball to the only place where Ter Stegen could not reach. The German could not act as a hero, he could not help a team that began to desperately attack the Basque defense, already with Riqui Puig on the field alongside Pjanic. A sterile domain, with Athletic taking advantage of Mingueza’s mistakes to go wrong with cons that hurt as much as needle punctures. A slow torture that was punishing a Barça that could have tied thanks to a shot by Griezmann. But the Frenchman is so unlucky that not even scoring two goals in a final is the hero of a club doomed to chain two years without winning titles, while Koeman, thoughtful, wonders how he missed a Super Cup that would have reinforced. Instead, it returns weakness of Seville.
Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.
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