After a brief break and some New Year’s celebrations, Barca was back in action tonight against the surprise club stationed in the Canary Islands, Las Palmas.
Las Palmas came into this game playing fairly good football, both stylistically and results wise. Of course, with the team being led by Garcia Pimienta — former Barca Atletico manager, led the subsidiary to multiple close relegation campaigns — was this ever a surprise?
Barca needed a win to stay within the La Liga title race, as both Girona and Real Madrid won their return matches. And with Atletico Madrid losing, this was a chance for Barca to distance themselves from the Madrid club.
So with all that in mind, let’s see how Barca fared.
The first half wasn’t the best if you’re a Barca fan.
There wasn’t much in the way of stability, nor was there enough clean technical play to function the attack. There were plenty instances of misplaced passes, bad touches, missed touches, it felt like a technical nightmare.
This in part led to the boring looking first half, except for a few almost chances that didn’t materialize.
Also going against Barca in the first half, was there defensive structure.
Las Palmas scores
Las Palmas found themselves playing through Barca’s press and into dangerous areas, putting stress on Barca’s back line and making life hectic. They themselves had some chance as well, forcing Iñaki Peña into a few saves and creating some danger moments.
Eventually they found the first goal of the game, as it was former Barca player Munir El Haddadi who started the scoring.
Just some unfortunate defending from Barca and some questionable keeping from Peña. Not going for the ball was a bold choice and he got burned in the end.
The rest of the first half was kind of…eh.
Las Palmas kept putting pressure on, but couldn’t find the second goal. Barca themselves desperately tried to find some success within the attack, but their efforts weren’t rewarded.
With that, we went to halftime, as Barca was down 0-1.
They needed to be crisper in the second half if they wanted to secure 3 points, so how did they perform?
Barca was much better in the second half.
They began to time their runs better, as their many offsides runs in the first half were a victim of Las Palmas’ high line. But they still lacked that goal, one that would spark their comeback efforts.
Barca begins their comeback
Luckily they got it in the 55th minute, as it was Ferran Torres who got on the scoresheet.
Pretty weird looking goal, as the initial action began with a wacky deflection that sent the ball right back into a danger area for Barca. But kudos to Ferran, he stuck with it after the ensuing action looked doubtful and carefully sent a right footed shot into the bottom corner.
1-1, game on.
We’ll now fast forward to 90th minute extra time, as Barca won a penalty in the dying stages. Ilkay Gundogan won it as he was pushed while trying to go for a rebounded shot from a previous save.
Replays show the penalty was legit, but the sending off appeared to be a bit harsh. In my opinion at least.
Gundogan then stepped up to take the clutch pen. Make it, and Barca escapes with all 3 points. Miss it, and unwanted problems arise. Fortunately for Gundogan he cleanly put away the penalty, sending Barca to a much needed win and 3 points to keep up with the current La Liga leaders.
What a win.
What a win in all honesty.
Barca looked sloppy early, found a way to get back into it, but still looked destined for a draw. To take 3 points from a game like that is massive, we’ll see if it’ll mean anything or not, but in the moment this is a massive win and moment for a team that’s still going through some tough times at the moment.
Also, Vitor Roque officially made his Barca debut tonight, looking spry and energized on the pitch. He did miss a chance, but it was one where the keeper was closing it and the finish had to be inch perfect. He’ll be just fine though, it’s just the first game.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on Sunday against Barbastro, their first match in this season’s edition of the Copa Del Rey.
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!