Copa Del Rey quarterfinal?
At the Camp Nou?
I mean can you ask for anything more? Barca had a golden chance to advance their journey towards another trophy, as they took on tough La Liga opponents Real Sociedad in the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal.
How did the match go? Let’s find out.
Barca’s first half consisted of a mix of direct play and controlled play the club has always been known for.
The results were promising, as Barca began to open up the game in the early stages of the opening half. You’d think with a weird mix of the differing styles, that the subsequent output would result in some messy and jumbled play.
But luckily Barca avoided that, mostly due to the electric play of Ousmane Dembele.
He created a few chances in the opening 20 minutes, all of which were dangerous in their own right.
Dembele creates early chances
The first chance was a very classic one, with Dembele using his pace to get himself in a threatening spot on the right flank. He then fired a pass to Robert Lewandowski, whose sudden left footed shot was deflected out for a corner.
The second chance was more of a solo effort on Dembele’s part. He blitzed down the right area of the pitch, before moving into a more central area. Dembele then fired a powerful left footed shot, but it whizzed just wide of the post.
The third chance was the best chance out of the three, as Dembele almost set up Frenkie De Jong with a goal of his own. Dembele saw De Jong making a sneaky run towards the right side of the post. The Frenchman then carefully laid a pass off for the streaking De Jong, but his finish didn’t threaten the net at all, instead going wide of the post.
This “so close, yet so far” theme was hanging over Barca’s heads as the first half went on. And unfortunately for Barca it remained over their heads until the first half came to an end.
Aside from Barca’s chances, there was one more notable event that occurred in the first half.
Real Sociedad’s Brais Mendéz was given a red card after a VAR review for a nasty challenge on Sergio Busquets. This left Sociedad relegated to counter attacking to fuel their attack, which left Barca plenty of time to control the match in the first half and beyond.
The second half presented Barca a chance to rewrite their story.
They were playing well, but they didn’t have a goal to show for it. Would they get that goal in the second half? Let’s just say they did, but not without some scares to end it.
The second half started off with a bang, as Barca finally found their first goal of the match.
The goal came on a rapid phase for Barca, as Jules Kounde unloaded a beautifully weighted pass down the right flank for the blazing fast Dembele. Dembele then took a heavy touch into Sociedad’s penalty area, before firing a powerful shot near post and into the back of the net.
Looking back, Sociedead keeper Álex Romero could’ve done a lot better with the shot. But either way, Barca had their lead, a lead they’d been desperately searching for.
After this goal, there were some half chances for Barca, but it was mostly a slow burner comprised of possession and control for Barca.
This wasn’t exactly entertaining per say, but it got the job done, as Barca showcased some composure while keeping possession and limiting any Sociedad chances on the counter attack.
But this wasn’t a foolproof plan, as Barca were hit with some anxiety inducing moments near the end of the match.
Ter Stegen saves Barca
Barca relied on Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to save them in the final minutes.
Ter Stegen’s heroics were a result of two big time saves. One after an errant pass playing out of the back and the resulting shot from the error. The other from a stunning diving save after a rocket from Sociedad’s Jon Ander Olasagasti.
These were pivotal moments for Barca, but in the end they amount to nothing, as Barca walked away with a well deserved 1-0 win.
This match was…interesting.
There were so many chances from Barca’s side, but once again, they found it difficult to put them away and kill off the match early.
This problem has been mounting for Barca ever since the World Cup break ended, but luckily for them it hasn’t significantly hurt them just yet.
Although it could in the future if the problem isn’t solved, especially as Barca walk into the official second half of their packed domestic and European schedule.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match in on Saturday against Girona.
See you all then!
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