Barça is packed in LaLiga with Messi as top scorer: 21 goals. That nightmare of Carranza in December has become a fantasy after overflowing Huesca. With the bottom down, the leadership is no longer an impossible goal because with 11 days to go to finish the championship, the Barcelona team is four points behind Atlético. He has not lost since December, when he was stunned in Cádiz, and adds 11 victories in 12 games, undefeated in 2021. Although the trajectory invites optimism, Koeman speaks like Simeone, not even because of the closeness of the two teams, and fights the delusions of greatness with an exercise in realism. “You have to go game by game; today the sun rises and tomorrow it may rain ”, says the Barcelona coach.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Koeman had the same line-up against Huesca as against PSG. Perhaps it was the best way not to detract from the last of LaLiga. It is also an unequivocal way of proclaiming that he has no doubts when the decisive phase of the season begins, which also includes a Cup final. The Camp Nou game, however, had nothing to do with the one in the Parc des Princes. The Catalans played without tension and also without any hurry, little demanded by the boys of Pacheta, who reinforced their containment system with Doumbia in Seoane’s position. Barça’s sufficiency was endorsed when Messi contacted the ball after receiving from Busquets, enabled by Mingueza’s anticipation.
Messi’s play was precious from the beginning to the end, for the fan and the viewer to recreate, for the control oriented to avoid Pulido, for the driving with which he eliminated Siovas and for the screw shot that was impossible for Álvaro. The ball entered through the right squad and hit the crossbar twice, as if it were ringing, to celebrate Rosario’s 20th goal – a figure he reaches for the 13th consecutive season – the day that equaled Xavi as the player with the most games played with the Zamarra. Blaugrana: 767. The definition was so poetic that it provoked the envy of Griezmann, sterile in the last 9 games: the Frenchman’s shot from outside the area was equally beautiful and also came in from the right angle of Huesca’s goal.
A penalty without VAR
The goals embellished a relaxing game for Barça. Although there was no depth, the Catalans comfortably governed the game with De Jong’s deployment and aimed well at Álvaro – there was a shot at the crossbar by Jordi Alba. Barça’s placidity ended when the first half was over and the referee whistled a surprising penalty from Ter Stegen to Rafa Mir. The goalkeeper stretched out his hand while the leather left the field and the referee interpreted that he contacted the Huesca striker. Rafa Mir himself transformed the shot from eleven meters to the anger of Koeman, the protests of Messi and the silence of the VAR. The action forced Barça to extreme defensive vigilance, previously neglected in a clear arrival of Maffeo, only against Ter Stegen.
The penalty for a moment conditioned the game and also the referee in an easy match to whistle until 2-1. The initial script, however, was recovered very soon, at the exit of a corner thrown short, when Messi crossed and Mingueza headed in the small area, poorly defended by the rear of Huesca, a team that allowed Barça to play and regulate . The Catalans surrendered to a not very serious round trip and that consequently led to some frank arrival of Huesca and the auctions of the omnipresent Rafa Mir, who forgave the 3-2. There was no rigor in Barcelona football, barely the full-backs participated and neither did the ambush Dembélé unbalance.
The ball fluttered without fluidity around Messi and from time to time it was fired on the Barca court due to the misalignments of Koeman’s rear. The losses of the ball followed one another, the defense shivered and the montoneras were repeated against Ter Stegen. The screams of Koeman, outraged by his footballers, echoed in the empty Camp Nou. There was a moment when it seemed that there were only two lucid players at Barça: Pedri and Messi. The Canarian and the Argentine never ignore the game, even when it is recreational, as happened with Huesca. The tone even caused Riqui Puig to leave. The midfielder helped the ball return to the Huesca court and Messi, beginning and end, scored the fourth goal with a left-footed shot from outside the area that hit Pulido’s boot.
Messi’s goals and the result encourage Barcelona to look at the classification in the same way that the tone of the match forces them to contain the euphoria if one takes into account that the Real awaits in Anoeta on Sunday. “You have to go game by game,” Koeman recalls.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.