Catalan derby between two of La Liga’s contending sides this season. Crazy enough sentence to type out, but here we are somehow.
How did Barca fare? Let’s find out.
The first half went as expected.
Both teams were open, both teams wanted to play an aggressive style of football, and both teams didn’t want to spend copious amounts of time defending for their lives in their own half.
Again, as expected.
Usually in these types of games, the team with the superior individual talent usually reigns supreme. But that wasn’t the case here, as it was Girona who went ahead first.
Girona starts the scoring
This action was pretty easy to dissect.
Girona began a very good looking counterattack, first by getting Viktor Tsikangov out into the open. There they got into a 2v1 situation, as Ronald Araujo was the only defender left back defending.
Suddenly it was 1-0.
This open style was expected, but Barca expected to be the ones with the advantage. However that wasn’t the case early. Barca did find a way to get back into the game.
And although it wasn’t a sexy goal, it still counted as a goal nonetheless.
Lewandowski fires back
This was a simple corner kick, with Robert Lewandowski using his height to tower above the rest and knock home a goal he desperately needed.
With this goal, it was game on for Barca.
They got their equalizer, and with the way they were creating chances, it seemed inevitable that Barca would fine the next goal to go ahead. However, we know how wasteful Barca is in front of goal and how much they’ve suffered as a result.
You can’t do that against Girona, as they’ll capitalize on your mistakes and make you pay dearly. Which is what they did before halftime as they took the lead.
Girona get a second
Girona’s second goal was a very simple example of a defensive breakdown.
Frenkie De Jong tried to track a running Girona attacking player, but he stayed with the runner too long and thus allowed Miguel Gutiérrez to run freely into Barca’s penalty area without much resistance.
As a result, Gutiérrez found plenty space to fire off a shot, one that stung the back of the net.
This goal concluded the first half action, as it was Barca who found themselves down 2-1, and with a lot of questions.
Would they solve those?
The answer is no.
Barca were again, wasteful in front of goal. This allowed Girona to hold on to their 2-1 lead and also allowed them to take control of the match from a possession standpoint.
Girona had a few instances of impressive control, making Barca run around endlessly trying to recover the ball. These periods paid off big time, as Girona found their third goal to effectively kill off the match in the 80th minute.
Girona finds their third, kills off the match
Once again, poor Barce defending led to the goal, as it was Jules Kounde this time who failed to get a nick on the ball in an open space. Thus allowing for an easy 1v1 opportunity for Valery Fernández, one he didn’t waste whatsoever.
Barca did find their third goal late to make things interesting and almost found their third. But Robert Lewandowski’s pitiful finishing prevented that from happening, as he missed a clear cut chance to make it 3-3.
Instead Girona found a fourth to confidently finish this game off, giving Barca a 4-2 loss and forcing Barca 7 points behind Girona on the league table.
Honestly, maybe we should’ve seen this coming.
Barca have been extremely wasteful in front of goal all season, making their matches more difficult than expected in the process. Lewandowski is one of the main culprits, which is ironic considering just how whiny he’s been to the media about Barca’s chance creation, which one of if not the league’s best.
Raphinha is another culprit, as his wasteful finishing has been a problem as well.
In reality, it’s been a team wide problem, but there have been a few bad apples in this instance.
With Barca now 7 points off Girona, they’re going to have to beg for a miracle. Both for their own performance and their league opponents. They need to beg for better finishing in front of goal — as well as a defensive structure to compensate without a functioning 6 — and for their league opponents to somehow drop points.
They can’t have one or the other, they need both and they need them quickly.
Until then, cheers for more struggles in terms of results in domestic competitions.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on Wednesday night away at Royal Antwerp. This game is meaningless, as Barca’s first place finish in their UCL group is virtually secured.
See you all then!
I’ve been a big time Barca fan since I was 14 years old. I love the club, the history, and the tradition that the club has built over its prestigious history. Forca Barca!