The sport Barcelona performed at Granada will go down within the historical past books, as Lamine Yamal grew to become La Liga’s youngest goalscorer on the age of 16 years and 87 days.
However Sunday’s 2-2 draw in opposition to the league’s second-bottom facet additionally offered one other worrying reminder of Barca’s defensive fragility proper now. They conceded the primary purpose for the third time in 4 video games — combating again from a two-goal deficit in two of these — and after 9 La Liga video games, they’ve conceded the identical variety of objectives (10) as they did from 31 fixtures final season.
On his twelfth look for the membership, Yamal scored the purpose that acquired Barca again in it, however we didn’t see the jubilant scenes of celebration you might need anticipated.
The winger rapidly took the ball from the web and carried it again to the midway line with the maturity and seriousness of somebody who scores a few instances per week.
Yamal didn’t have his brightest sport, however his purpose — and document — will function additional affirmation of how important a participant he’s in Barcelona’s upcoming new era.
Lamine Yamal: Barcelona’s 15-year-old expertise ‘who can outline an period’
Right here, there may be one other fear, although. Yamal was substituted within the 76th minute, with Xavi confirming he picked up a small damage. “He felt one thing however we nonetheless don’t know what it’s. We’ll do extra scans quickly,” the supervisor mentioned.
It stays to be seen whether or not Yamal is match to affix the Spanish nationwide workforce subsequent week. He has already taken the document for the nation’s youngest participant — and scorer — after the 7-1 win in Georgia on September 8.
One participant who can be travelling for the Euro 2024 qualifiers in opposition to Scotland and Norway is Granada’s purpose hero Bryan Zaragoza. The 22-year-old was referred to as up after Sunday’s match, by which he scored twice, as a alternative for the injured Yeremy Pino of Villarreal.
Zaragoza’s second purpose is one to look at — a surprising solo run by which he dances round Jules Kounde earlier than sending him and Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the ground and ending coolly. His first got here simply 17 seconds into the sport and established one other document — it was the quickest La Liga purpose Barcelona have conceded this century. In keeping with Xavi, it was “unacceptable”.
HIGHLIGHTS: #GranadaBarça 2-2
— LALIGA English (@LaLigaEN) October 8, 2023
“We simply can’t come into the sport like we did,” he mentioned after the sport. “We will’t lose the ball ready the place we knew their midfielders have been being aggressive of their stress. Then, on a counter, they managed to attain the second, and abruptly we had an enormous mountain to climb.”
A draw in opposition to the second-last workforce in La Liga, in addition to the workforce with the league’s second-worst defence, just isn’t a great search for Barcelona, who now go into October’s worldwide break third within the desk, three factors behind leaders Actual Madrid and one level behind second-placed Girona.
Enhorabuena por el primer gol, Lamine Yamal. A seguir 👍 pic.twitter.com/iXnAo1Z6RW
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) October 8, 2023
The extra troubling facet, no doubt, is that the temper across the membership has not improved after Wednesday’s scrappy Champions League win at Porto.
That efficiency had been closely scrutinised, and Sunday was supposed to supply an opportunity to revitalise the membership’s spirits, however nobody from Barca left Granada happy. It gained’t assist to see Kounde added to the already crowded damage listing, both.
The French centre-back suffered a sprained left knee and was subbed off within the first half. Kounde will bear extra scans within the coming days to find out the timescale of his restoration. In Granada, Barca’s backroom workers have been initially fearing the worst — a cruciate ligament damage — however this was dismissed after first explorations.
Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri full the listing of Barca’s injured first-team gamers. The latter appears the almost certainly to return soonest.
Attacking in opposition to Granada’s low block, Barcelona missed the affect of one other key participant: Ilkay Gundogan.
The previous Manchester Metropolis captain was deployed as a holding midfielder on Sunday, as Xavi determined to drop Oriol Romeu. He had been singled out as one of many worst performers in latest weeks, and an erratic show at Porto pushed Xavi to belief in Gundogan for the position as a substitute, with Fermin Lopez beginning in his place.
Gundogan’s efficiency was very stable, however he simply can’t be in every single place, and his expertise was missed additional up the pitch. With Gundogan taking part in as an attacking midfielder, every little thing in Barca’s build-up course of goes smoother, and the choices Xavi had from the bench have been very restricted. Even nonetheless, they may have simply gained in Granada.
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Gavi, Ronald Araujo and Ferran Torres all might need performed higher with possibilities. As a substitute, Sergi Roberto’s Eighty fifth-minute purpose saved the day, earlier than some VAR controversy noticed a Joao Felix stoppage-time header disallowed.
The rationale was an offside from Torres. He didn’t really contact Joao Cancelo’s cross, however the VAR nonetheless interpreted that his bounce to attempt to attain the ball influenced play sufficient for his team-mate’s late winner to be dominated out.
You may argue Xavi had motive to query the referee’s determination. What was in all probability extra surprising was listening to the supervisor say he was happy along with his workforce’s efficiency.
“What’s Ferran interfering with? Are you able to inform me? As a result of I can’t,” Xavi mentioned. “The referee might have allowed it. In the identical approach he’s entitled to disallow it, there’s a case to say it might have been given. It was heads or tails and we acquired the unhealthy finish tonight.
“We deserved the win, everybody noticed it. We dominated all the way in which, however ultimately, soccer is like this. I’m glad as a result of we performed nicely, particularly within the second half, the place we created many possibilities.
“We will’t simply analyse the consequence at this time. The efficiency was a lot better. Identical to the opposite day we gained at Porto however nobody within the media valued the consequence and mentioned we didn’t play nicely sufficient, now we should do a good evaluation and look into extra issues than simply the rating.”
(High picture: Alex Camara/Europa Press by way of Getty Pictures)
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- Lamine Yamal’s historic evening, Barcelona’s disappointing one
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