Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Gimnastic 1 Barcelona 1: Alcacer brilliance rescues draw in first match since Neymar sale

SoccerNews in La Liga 4 Aug 2017

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Paco Alcacer scored a brilliant late free-kick as Barcelona were forced to settle for a 1-1 away draw against Gimnastic in a friendly match that saw them lose Thomas Vermaelen to injury.

Barca had impressively beaten Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid in the United States last month but looked to be on course for their first defeat of pre-season on Friday until Alcacer’s impressive intervention after 79 minutes.

Playing in their first match since the world-record sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, head coach Ernesto Valverde named a side mainly filled with fringe players, with Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez among the stars missing out.

Hosts Nastic, who play in the Spanish second tier, took a shock lead after 11 minutes when Manu Barreiro shot past Jasper Cillessen from a yard out after being set up by Omar Perdomo from the left.

Vermaelen, who spent last season on loan at Roma, limped off with injury after the goal, Marlon Santos replacing him.

Alcacer and Carles Alena went close for Barca either side of Valverde bringing on Munir El Haddadi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the break, while Gerard Deulofeu, Andre Gomes, Jordi Alba and Douglas entered the fray midway through the second half.

After Deulofeu came close to an equaliser it looked like the visitors were heading for a shock defeat, but Alcacer produced a moment of magic to convert his set piece from almost 30 yards.

Barca are back in action against Chapecoense in the Gamper trophy on Monday, before their competitive season gets under way against Real Madrid in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana on August 13.

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