Sunday, December 5, 2021

Barcelona 1-1 Deportivo Alaves: Sergi´s Barca held as Aguero forced off before half-time

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Oct 2021

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Barcelona’s struggles continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou in their first game since the dismissal of Ronald Koeman.

Under the temporary stewardship of Sergi Barjuan, Memphis Depay opened the scoring early in the second half as the hosts sought to overcome consecutive LaLiga losses. 

But the Blaugrana were pegged back almost immediately as Luis Rioja netted a fine equaliser for the visitors.

Another concern for Barca saw a distressed Sergio Aguero forced off before half-time on his first home LaLiga start.

Barcelona had won eight of their nine previous meetings with Alaves and quickly stamped their authority in possession.

They went close to breaking the deadlock when Eric Garcia’s header was brilliantly clawed away by Antonio Sivera, while an unmarked Edgar Mendez nodded Ruben Duarte’s deep free-kick just wide at the other end.

Concerns grew for the hosts when Aguero was forced to leave the field before the break.

The Argentina international went down clutching his chest and appeared to be in some discomfort when tended to by the medical team, but was able to get to his feet and walk from the field.

Nevertheless, Barca took the lead in emphatic fashion four minutes after the restart; Depay bending a tremendous 25-yard effort into the far corner for his fifth goal of the season.

However, the visitors hit back within three minutes; Rioja playing a neat one-two with Joselu before rounding Marc-Andre ter Stegen and slotting into the empty net.

Barca looked to restore their advantage and Sivera produced smart saves to deny Philippe Coutinho and Depay, who also hit the post following a wonderful individual run by Gavi.

But despite dominating possession, the hosts were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

What does it mean? No win in three for Barca

They had just under 80 per cent of possession and 16 shots on goal, but Barcelona were unable to turn their dominance into a victory.

They have won only once in their last five league matches, while their stubborn opponents are now unbeaten in three after just about managing to hang on at Camp Nou.

Impressive Depay

His goal may not have been enough for Barca, but what a goal it was from Depay.

But for the woodwork and a couple of smart saves, the Netherlands international could have been going home with the match ball.

Indeed, he led the way for the hosts with four shots, three key passes and 11 crosses, so plenty of positives from his perspective despite the result.

Pique struggles

Although Barca dominated play, Gerard Pique endured a difficult day in the heart of defence.

The former Spain international was beaten far too easily for Alaves’ equaliser, while he won just a third of his duels.

To compound things, injury forced him off with 20 minutes remaining and he will hope it is nothing too serious.

What’s next?

Barcelona will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Alaves will aim to build on this result against Levante next weekend.

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