Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is the Match Review of FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club. FC Barcelona finally played a game on its home surface after a month and a half of playing away matches. The Blaugranas needed a win as they wanted to advance to 2nd place on the points table. FC Barcelona needed its star men to shine and deliver.
It gradually turned out to be an amazing day for the Cules as Barcelona won 2-1 against Athletic Club with Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann on the score sheet. Here is the Match Review of the game discussing the First Half and the Second Half individually.
FC BARCELONA VS ATHLETIC CLUB MATCH REVIEW
Ronald Koemann made some unexpected changes to the lineup ahead of facing Athletic Club. Samuel Umtiti started alongside Ronal Araujo as a Center Back. Pjanic started alongside Frenkie De Jong instead of Sergio Busquests. Other than that, regular starters namely Alba, Mingueza, Pedri, Antoine, and Messi were part of the starting eleven.
Barcelona started the game with high energy levels and the players showed their hunger for the win. Barca definitely had serious momentum coming into this game as they had won 7 consecutive away games. However, the Blaugranas were eager to win at their home turf as well. This game was more than just tactics or a regular La Liga fixture. Athletic Club won against FC Barcelona in the final of the Super Cup. Athletic was very dirty during the last minutes of the game and their time-wasting tactics definitely annoyed the Barca players.
I guess this performance was a reply to all of that. Lionel Messi was in fine form. He looked more fresh, fast, and very active on the pitch. The Argentinean created a few chances, and also took a few good attempts at the goal. However, the opposition keeper kept making good saves. Lionel won a freekick in the 20th minute. It was by no means a close-range freekick and Athletic had planned everything to stop that from going inside the net.
However, Lionel showed his quality that why he is known as one of the best in the game. The Barcelona number 10 found the top corner. The keeper and the player defending that side of the goal had absolutely no chance. It was an amazing moment for not only the fans but the players as well. Their joy and happiness were clearly visible.
The biggest takeaway from the first half is the performance from Samuel Umtiti. Umtiti as we know is very much out of form and critics even claimed that he should be sold this summer. However, he was the best player on the pitch in this half. His passes were connecting. His movement was on point and he was simply too good for the Athletic attackers.
The first half ended with Barcelona having the lead. The home players definitely created a statement that they mean serious business and the stats reflected that.
FIRST HALF: FC BARCELONA 1-0 ATHLETIC CLUB
The second half started in the worse way possible for the home side. Athletic was able to get a leveler soon after the kickoff. Oscar Mingueza was a little sloppy at that occasion as Raul Garcia was able to dribble past him. Garcia crossed the ball to his player. However, it was Jordi Alba who sent the ball inside his own net in trying to intercept the cross. Overall, it was a pretty bad play from FC Barcelona and for a moment, it felt like the Super Cup misery was about to repeat itself.
The biggest positive to take from the second half is that FC Barcelona did not lose hope or showed any drop in energy levels even after losing its lead. Ousmane Dembele played like a man on a mission and so did his fellow attacker. Dembele was also fouled inside the box, but the ref decided that it was not a penalty. The players kept playing as intensely as possible. It was soon enough that Dembele played a good pass to Oscar Mingueza who crossed the ball to Antoine Griezmann and Griezmann scored a tap in.
Mingueza perhaps washed off his mistake which he committed earlier with this assist. However, it was a joy to watch the French boy, Antoine Griezmann get another goal. Grizzy is in the hot form now and this is his third goal in two games against Athletic Club. His goal also resulted to be the winning goal for FC Barcelona.
The game ended with Barcelona winning with a one-goal lead. Ronald Koemann and the players are going to take it. They definitely put in serious work on the pitch and deserved a win. We can also say that the team got its revenge against Athletic Club.
However, the saddest part is that the Super Cup winners were not able to score even a single goal by themselves in this game.
FULL TIME: FC BARCELONA 2-1 ATHLETIC CLUB