Demir starting the game was a welcome surprise, because we had read all over the internet that he was unfancied. His little playing time thus far didn’t go beyond the commentator’s notice.
The rain did not affect the game like I feared it would. Yusuf’s first few touches were not those of a confident lad. He took a decent shot though, the first Barca shot on the night. Ball movement and winning of second balls was really good in those early minutes.
Araujo won the ball in midfield and we had an opportunity to score. But Nico made the pass to Araujo, rather than Memphis. Who on the evidence of the rest of the game just might have squandered that chance too had he been presented with it.
Few good Chances during 1st Half
We get another chance, then Depay delays shooting trying to set up Demir, and rather surprisingly plays a weak pass to the Austrian, it’s eventually given as offside against Depay, but the problem remains, we still cannot take our chances when they come. It looked like a game that will make us regret these misses. I hope that isn’t the case cos we will have the last game at the Allianz Arena to try and do something for ourselves. Busquets with a real Captain’s performance tonight.
Gavi wasted another good chance to score with a poorly taken shot that reminded everyone watching that our best shooter so far is Yusuf Demir. Jordi Alba at least forced a save out of the goalkeeper Odysseas. I want to say we are getting closer to scoring but I don’t want to jinx it. And then the game turns, and we need Ter Stegen to save us. Then they do get the ball in the net but thankfully the ball had gone out of play from the corner kick.
Yusuf Demir started to cause some trouble for our good friend Alex Grimaldo who was on a yellow card from a failed challenge on Yusuf himself. That was important as play was getting more and more offensive. Yusuf Demir rattled the crossbar with another good shot, I just hope we can be patient with this boy, we have got a very good player on our hands.
The second half started with the players still looking fired up. We got some nice sequences together, and subsequently create a chance which Depay spurns. And then we started to look shaky. Then Demir gets taken off for Demebele. And he ran at the Benfica defense, creating a chance for De Jong to head at goal. Surprisingly so I must say, cos his namesake Luuk is the one with a reputation for headers. Dembele’s entry has forced an adjustment in tactics for Benfica.
With time ticking away, we were still in search of a game winning goal, we can at least be proud of the team for their efforts tonight. The team is looking better than they did before, but for some profligate finishing we would have won the game tonight, but we wait and see as the work Xavi has put in starts to bear some fruit. Visca Barca.