Dembélé gives Barça a pass to the second round against a combative Linares | Sports Carousel



Barça get the pass to the round of 16, coming back against a great Linares (1-2). Dembélé embittered the night of Kings to the Jaén, being key in the result with the first goal of his.

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The Twelfth Night is one of the most magical of the year for obvious reasons, but today’s night in Linares was going to go down in history. With the initial whistle, the eyes stopped being in the cavalcade of their majesties of the East to nail them in the green, allowing the illusion of the youngest to pass to the most veteran because they were experiencing something difficult to repeat. Dani Alves, one of the most famous Wise Men of all that Guardiola’s Barça had, was the one who attracted the most attention, playing in a position difficult to imagine for mortals, placing himself between the right side and the interior.

While the world tried to decipher the position of the Brazilian having nostalgia as a flag, Linares was holding the stakes of its distinguished visitor. After the quarter of an hour of play, the Jaén managed to settle in the Barça field, something practically unprecedented in the game. Moving the ball, with patience, they found a gap in the left sector of the Barcelona defense, Francisco José Carnicer put a great send to the heart of the area. Hugo Díaz, who was very skilled in the face of Mingueza’s improvable marking, looked for the ball in the front of the small area, beating Neto to score a goal that he will never forget.

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The Linares, although there was a long way to go, they were beginning to believe it. Each inaccuracy of Barça was punished with their intensity, giving the feeling of having control of the situation despite the fact that the possession was Barça. Xavi from the band was desperate, the last straw being a bad defensive return in a counterattack directed by Josema Gómez, the center-back who attended ‘El Larguero’ with Christmas pajamas in the run-up to the match, which almost ended in the second goal of the match. Thus, with a couple of occasions that Barça did not finish and with the concern that a counterattack would happen that would expand the local advantage, the Catalans players headed to the dressing room in front of an exultant Linares who saw that only 45 minutes were taking him away from a historic victory.

Xavi had to burn his ships at halftime, putting Dembélé and De Jong for Ilias Akhomach and Riqui Puig, both very blurred in the first half. The third change of intermission was out of necessity, since Araújo had a sore hand, leaving the field for Gerard Piqué. Despite the fact that the start was better than that seen in the first 45 minutes, that festive atmosphere of the Twelfth Night continued to be flawed for Barça. Even so, this climate that could affect more than one, Dembélé was reinforced, since there is no better footballer to move in something rare than one who lives in rarity. The Frenchman, who left his marker with astonishing ease without touching the ball, found the corridor down the middle, outlining to the left and beating a Razak Brimah who could do more.

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With the goal, which came after game time, the game went crazy. Linares were not daunted, inviting Barça to an exchange of blows. Although he was close to surprising Xavi’s team with a second goal correctly annulled for offside, that game did not favor the Jaen team due to the spaces left behind by his rival. In one of those quick attacks after a good local chance, the ball reached Ferrán Jutglá, who, practically without looking at the goal because he already had it between his eyebrows, broke his defender and sealed the comeback in the 68th minute.

After a beautiful shot from Carracedo that hit the cross of Neto’s goal, Dembélé continued in his work of giving the pass to his team. He had already stirred up a sleeping encounter and pointed the way to the comeback, but (and despite the listlessness on his face) he wanted more. He was close to achieving it, crashing the ball on the crossbar and leaving more plays that demonstrate that quality according to the salary that he asks for in his renewal, but that he shows so from time to time.

Thus, little by little, the game faded, leaving Linares without the dream that they had so close until the most heartless Dembélé appeared. With the final whistle, Barça sealed its pass to the knockout stages of the Copa del Rey, continuing its defense of the title in one of the most difficult seasons of its century-old history and making it clear that, although it is often desperate, few footballers in the world (and much less in the Camp Nou) there are like Dembélé.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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