At the Estadio Coliseum Alfonso Pérez on Saturday, FC Barcelona took on Getafe in La Liga. Here’s the result, what happened and what we learned from the tie.
Big changes from Ronald Koeman
Local press believed Koeman wouldn’t rest any players just yet, but he did, and also switched the formation.
Sergino Dest was bound to have his debut at left back in any event, due to Jordi Alba’s injury. However there were also starting debuts in 2020/2021 for Ousmane Dembele and Pedri in a 4-3-3.
A tetchy opening 10 minutes
No clear chances for either side, but there were some signs of promise in a pair of runs that Dembele and Messi managed to make, the latter twisting players inside and out.
Before the match started to open up
Getafe broke through with Nemanja Maksimovic, who had space but shot straight at Neto on 18 minutes.
But then nice work from Pedri saw him find Dest on the edge of the box, who was starting to come into his own. The American laid it off to his captain, who let rip with a trademark curling shot that pinged the woodwork.
Three cards in under 30 minutes
And at the rate this one was going on the physical side of things, it seemed a red card was a gimme at some point. For many, the hosts should have been down to nine men as Allan Nyom and Erick Cabaco especially were involved in controversial incidents that included the former elbow-smashing Messi.
Antoine Griezmann hit over the bar
Dembele was criticised for a heavy first touch and foul on a previous break, but on the next he got it right when squaring to Messi who spotted the other Frenchman running through on goal.
Unable to keep his shot down and resurrect a trend of opening Barca’s account in 2019/2020, Grizi is still yet to get off the mark in this campaign.
All square at half time
Positives were the impact of Pedri and growing confidence of Dest, but it was the Bleus Griezmann and Dembele letting the side down. They are clearly low on spirits and looked certain to be the first pair hooked by Koeman in the second installment.
The worst possible start to the next 45
It took some 10 minutes after the referee’s whistle for the restart, but when De Jong brought down Nyom, who should have already been ejected from the proceedings, Getafe were awarded a penalty that Jaime Mata converted.
Barca fell behind for the second game running
Luuk de Jong scoring early for Sevilla last time round, prior to Philippe Coutinho equalizing almost instantly, this would be another test of Koeman’s side’s character with just over an hour to spare.
Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho were Koeman’s maiden changes
Dembele rightfully cut, Griezmann survived the cull at the expense of Pedri. Let’s see what the visitors’ stand out performers thus far in the Dream Team Legend’s reign could come up with.
Fati struck one wide, and Nyom clearly had a bone to pick
Standing over the teenager and yelling after one tussle, Fati had also tried a shot that went far wide.
Eventually, Nyom finally went in the book for a foul on Sergio Busquets.
There was little fight in Barcelona
Struggling to build something after Mata’s goal, it seemed as if they didn’t know they were 1-0 down.
Another double sub for Koeman
Griezmann put out of his misery, Martin Braithwaite was also handed a rare run out and was joined by Francisco Trincao as De Jong exited stage left.
With Busquets the only midfielder left, Barca had to go for broke here with as much attacking firepower as possible.
Cucho almost made it two
Braithwaite giving the ball away deep in Getafe’s half with a misplaced pass to Trincao, the resulting counter spelled Cucho almost punishing the error when Neto tipped his shot onto the bar.
Later, he was clean through on goal after running from the halfway line. But like Griezmann from an almost identical spot, he put too much power into his off-target attempt.
Riqui Puig was Barca’s fifth and final change
With three minutes to spare plus stoppage time, there was not much chance of the La Masia fruit making an impact.
Six minutes of added time. Still nothing
Barca upped the ante somewhat, with Djene Dakonam hitting his own bar in a moment of madness, but Getafe held on for the upset.
Barcelona missed a golden opportunity
Real Madrid likewise embarrassed by Cadiz earlier, FCB could have gone into El Clasico three points clear at the top.
Instead they lurch in ninth, though there will be other chances to head to the summit.
Their unbeaten run brought to a halt, Koeman has tasted defeat on the eve of said biggest fixture in club soccer and the Champions League group stages kicking off.
Some perhaps tired from their international duties, the Dutchman needs to motivate his troops post haste and get them back on the horse.
Source: Forbes – Business