Competition news


18 Dec 2017
Predictable defeat of Depor, and only Rubén and the posts prevented a bigger loss. The Galicians never knew how to stop the passing game from the Catalans and they paid the price for it.

Coach Cristóbal Parralo chose to play with the same 4-2-3-1 lineup that defeated CD Leganés on the week before. Rubén Martínez was the starting goalie, Juanfran Moreno covered the right side in defence, the left was for Fernando Navarro, while Sidnei and Fabian Schär were the centre-backs.

Guilherme and Celso Borges were the centre midfielders, Carles Gil attacked from the right wing, Adrián López did it from the left, Emre Çolak was the playmaker and Lucas Pérez was the centre forward.

At FC Barcelona, Ernesto Valverde allowed the appearance of Paco Álcacer as a starter, so the draw was a 4-3-3 as the attacker was joining Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez for the offensive trident. Andrés Iniesta was also returning to the starting eleven.

Deportivo had some good minutes, but the rest was all for FC Barcelona, side that had seven scoring opportunities, two hit the woodwork and they scored twice. Rubén Martínez shone with five good saves.

The first scoring opportunity came at minute 4, Luis Suárez and Rakitić combined on the right side of the defense, then Messi received the ball when he was alone at the centre and his volley went over the crossbar.

Depor seemed a little overwhelmed with the local pressure, but it was finding the cracks for the counterattack. At minute 10, one of those opportunities ended in a shot of Borges that was an easy catch for local goalie Ter Stegen.

Barca’ second chance came at minute 13, Messi picked a low cross from Jordi Alba on the left wing, but his low attempt was saved by Rubén Martínez.  It seemed the goal from Barca was a matter of time, but Deportivo were also looking solid, mainly with Çolak and Carles Gil combining at midfield.

Aleix Vidal had to replace Álcacer due to injury reasons, and Barca continued dominating the ball possession.  Messi had a new opportunity at minute 26, he picked the ball at the edge of the area and drilled three rivals, and his final shot was deflected by Rubén. The keeper was having a great game.

Depor’s goalkeeper made two saves in the next two minutes, one before Vidal and the other before Messi, and then the first goal arrived, and it was a polemic goal. A volley was sent into the right side of the area, Messi controlled the ball there and then made a short pass to Luis Suárez, who later scored without any opposition. He seemed to be in offside position, but the referee allowed the action.

The Galicians never found the way to react, Carles Gil and Çolak were no long appearing and Depor weren’t holding on the ball. So, Barca were a steamroller. At minute 36, Messi had a new chance in a counterattack, but his shot hit the crossbar.

The second goal seemed near and it arrived before the break, again Messi collected the ball near the area and again ran towards the goal and released a shot that met the woodwork, this time Paulinho collected the loose ball at the left side of the area and just had to push the ball in. A third goal could have arrived in the stoppage time, but the attempt of Luis Suárez was cleared by Rubén with the doubt if the ball passed the goal line in the process.

Same script for the final part. Depor were clueless at the moment of preventing the passing game from Barca, two more goals arrived, and it could have been worse if it wasn’t for Rubén Martínez and the woodwork.

Depor started the second part putting a high pressure and close to capitalize a couple of bad passed at the visiting defensive line, but then FC Barcelona released a counterattack that meant the third goal, it all started with a good pass of Iniesta at the back line, and the play ended with a cross from Sergi Roberto that Luis Suárez just had to push in.

The game turned to be an exchange of blows, Depor were trying, but the Galicians don’t have the same punch of Barca. And any team end paying the price if they don’t create chances and at the same time are unable to block the passing game from a rival like Barca. At minute 50, Sidnei started a counterattack, but later Guilherme were unable to release a proper shot and Lucas fell to the ground as the ball reached the path of Ter Stegen.

At minute 54, Carles Gil collected the ball at the right side of the area and his strong shot went close to the near post. Depor were still trying to attack and they were finding plenty of room at midfield, but later were unable to end the plays.

Parralo made the first two substitutions and Fede Valverde and Bakkali replaced Guilherme and Çolak. Barcelona seemed asleep with the advantage, and only Messi was able to wake up the fans, and he did it twice in a matter of one minute.

At minute 66, the Argentine took a free-kick and his low shot hit the far post, in the next play he attempted a curved shot from the edge of the area and the ball went close to the right post of Rubén. Then Depor’s goalie appeared twice, first blocking the road to Luis Suárez in a one-on-one action (66’), then stopping a penalty to Messi.

Valverde had committed the penalty over Luis Suárez, and the keeper deflected the central shot of the Argentine star. It was a weird game for Messi, he didn’t score despite been the best man, rarely he missed aim at the moment of ending the plays and even missed a penalty, but also provided an assist and hit the post in three opportunities.

The fourth goal arrived though. Again a counterattack after an error of Navarro, Jordi Alba collected the ball at the left side of the area, his low shot hit the near post and quickly was collected by Paulinho, who scored from close range.

FC Barcelona should have scored more goals, but it wasn’t the day of Messi, who missed a new chance at minute 79 sending the ball out from close range. It was also the night of the posts, Barca met the woodwork in five opportunities, the last one was a shot of Luis Suárez in a counterattack (83’).

Neither was the day of Lucas, he tried to be involved in the game, but only touched the ball in 39 opportunities. A clear example of his poor form was the play at minute 83, he was collecting the ball at the edge of the area, without mark the Galician could have entered and create a scoring chance, but instead slipped and lost the ball.

Borja Valle was the last substitution as he replaced Carles Gil, and he did more things in ten minutes than the rest of attackers. In that frame he attempted a long-range shot that was deflected to corner-kick (89’), and then completed the third shot on target for the visitors firing from the left side of the area, the ball was deflected by Ter Stegen (90+1’).

Bad game by Depor and only Rubén and the posts prevented a bigger loss. The keeper made seven saves, including a blocked penalty to Messi, while the Catalans met the woodwork in five opportunities. Deportivo only competed for twenty minutes, later it forgot to block the passing game of the rival a paid the price for it.

Deportivo will remain out of relegation as the direct rivals also failed in their games, there’s only one game remaining in the calendar of 2017, and it’s the derby hosting RC Celta (Saturday, Riazor, 20h45 CET).

Barcelona: (4-3-3) Ter Stegen – Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Vermaelen, Jordi Alba (Digne 80’) -  Rakitić, Iniesta (Andre Gomes 55’), Paulinho – Messi, Paco Álcacer (Aleix Vidal 22’), Suárez.
Deportivo: (4-2-3-1) Rubén Martínez – Juanfran, Schär, Sidnei, Navarro – Guilherme (Fede Valverde 62’), Borges – Carles Gil (Borja Valle 83’), Çolak (Bakkali 62’), Adrián – Lucas Pérez.
Goals: 1-0: (28’) Luis Suárez, 2-0: (40’) Paulinho, 3-0: (46’) Luis Suárez, 4-0: (74’) Paulinho
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. He showed yellow card to Fabian Schär (31’)
Venue: Camp Nou (53,607)
Other statistics: Ball possession (61% - 39%); Attempts to score (14 – 3); Total shots (23 - 10); Shots on target (11- 3); Saves by the keepers (3 - 7); Corner-kicks (6 - 3); Offsides (3 - 3); Fouls committed (12 - 10); Passing accuracy (88% - 80%)




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