Marc-Andre ter Stegen admitted everything was perfectly aligned to allow him to become the first Barcelona goalkeeper to claim an assist in LaLiga this century.
The club’s tiki-taka playing style, established in Johan Cruyff’s time as manager, has meant goalkeepers have not been typically encouraged to kick the ball long to the strikers.
Instead, the policy has been to play out from the back, and Barcelona have built great success by doing just that.
However, German shot-stopper Ter Stegen was in a hurry to clear as he raced off his line and outside the penalty area to intercept the ball against Getafe on Saturday, with the game goalless.
He looked up, noticed Luis Suarez was beginning a sprint into the Getafe half, and launched the ball long. Suarez did the rest, shaking off the attentions of a defender before lobbing David Soria, grabbing the first goal in a 2-0 victory.
“It was a bit strange because it doesn’t happen to you much in your career,” Ter Stegen said.
“And it’s something I hadn’t done, but I’m happy. It was a perfect moment, for Luis to take off and then the pass… and the pass was good. I saw him there but the pass had to be perfect. Luis was perfectly positioned and we took advantage of it.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 28, 2019
Barcelona were able to celebrate a first away win in the league this season, even if not all aspects of the performance were encouraging. Getafe were well in the game and would have been encouraged by some haphazard Barcelona defending before Suarez’s goal changed the contest.
In quotes published on Barcelona’s website, Ter Stegen added: “I think it was a step we needed this season. To win games away from home is tricky, so it was a good day for us and for the fans, I think. To keep a clean sheet is always important so I’m happy with that.”
Head coach Ernesto Valverde offered his approval, saying of his goalkeeper: “Obviously we want him to be very aware of long passes because the goalkeeper can do that with defences which are pushed up, and [it was] a great assist.”
Valverde, whose position will be under less scrutiny than it has following the three points, said the decision to leave Ousmane Dembele out of his team was “mainly a precaution” because of a minor thigh problem. Barcelona play Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow we’ll do more tests,” Valverde said in quotes published by Marca.
The head coach was pleased to see Barcelona show some form away from Camp Nou, saying: “After the recent results away from home we needed to win and it was a good away trip because Getafe asked a lot of questions of us.”
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