The Catalans played their first game without Leo Messi (FC Barcelona vs Juventus FC)
FC Barcelona are having a hard time digesting the fact that Leo Messi is no longer a Barcelona player. But the team played their first match on the day Messi gave his farewell speech at the Camp Nou. The game was played in the Johan Cruyff Stadium, just after the Barca Femini match. Sergio Busquets was the captain of the team, and the crowd chanted Messi in the tenth minute of the game.
Ronald Koeman started with Neto in goal, Alba, Dest, Pique, and Araujo in defense. Bousquets, and De Jong were in the middle with Griezmann, Brathwaite, Memphis, and Yusuf Demir in attack. It was pretty confusing at first as to what’s going to happen, since a lot had happened off the pitch that day. But Barcelona started on the front foot, with Memphis getting a goal in the third minute of the game, an assist from the young boy Yusuf Demir.
The game continued, with Barcelona in possession of the ball, trying to attack Juventus. The Italians also had a few chances, but could not capitalise and did not score. Neto played really well in goal, kept Ronaldo from scoring, and made great saves throughout the game. He received the man of the match award as well. He showed that he can be relied upon in the absence of Ter Stegen. Yusuf Demir played in the Pedri role, an advanced attacking midfield role, where he performed perfectly.
There was one disallowed goal for Barcelona, when Greizmann was called offside, which was questionable as the replay showed that he wasn’t. That prevented Yusuf Demir from getting on the scoresheet once again for Barcelona. Juventus started the second half really well, pressing Barcelona high up the pitch. But the Catalans got another goal from a corner kick. Memphis crossed the ball in, and Brathwaite out of nowhere found space to head it in. The team was up by two goals at this point of time.
It was nice to see the team score from corners, as this does not happen very often. On the hour mark, Umtiti came on for Araujo and was whistled by the fans. He was treated the same way every time he got the ball. Emerson Royal, Rey Manaj, Alex Collado, and Nico Gonzales came on as well. But a special mention needs to be given to Riqui Puig, who has had his critics. The La Masia lad got a goal towards the end of the game.
He received the ball in a tight space, with his back at the goal. He turns, and takes a nice curling shot, a spectacular finish from him. And like always, he celebrated it with a big smile. There were very positive signs from the young players throughout the game. The new era for Barcelona is pretty promising.