Luuk de Jong elevates Barcelona | sports

Nobody better than a passing player to solve a halftime match like the one Barça played in Mallorca. Luuk de Jong, the jilted and ridiculed forward at the Camp Nou, scored a valuable goal to cap off a splendid day for Barcelona. Sunday had nothing to do with Saturday, when Xavi asked for the match to be postponed because their dispute meant corrupting the League. The scoreboard for the day invites optimism in Barcelona. The year begins with the Catalans one point from the Champions zone. The center forward scored and the best version of Ter Stegen reappeared to certify the growth of Xavi’s team. The idea of ​​the game and the team form are maintained in the most adverse circumstances such as those raised by Mallorca.



Manolo Reina, Pablo Maffeo, Valjent, Russo, Jaume Costa, Dani, Iddrisu Baba (Ruiz de Galarreta, min. 60), Antonio Sánchez (Jordi Mboula, min. 69), Battaglia (Abdón Prats, min. 83), Lee Kang -In (Javi Llabrés, min. 70) and Ángel (Fernando Niño, min. 60)



Ter Stegen, Piqué, Óscar Mingueza (Clement Lenglet, min. 75), Eric Garcia, Ronald Araújo, Nico González (Álvaro Sanz, min. 70), Frenkie De Jong, Ricard Puig, Ilisa Chakkour (Estanis Pedrola, min. 79) , Ferrán Jutglà and Luuk de Jong

Goals 0-1 min. 43: Luuk de Jong.

Referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

Yellow cards Ferrán Jutglà (min. 78), Jaume Costa (min. 82), Abdón Prats (min. 88), Pablo Maffeo (min. 93), Clement Lenglet (min. 93), Dani (min. 93) and Valjent (min. 95)

Xavi squared the lineup on the fly after counting up to 15 casualties, eight due to coronavirus, once Umtiti and Lenglet were recovered at the last minute. Both sat on the bench while the eight professionals formed with three young people with a subsidiary file such as Jutglà, Ilias and Nico, the Galician who marked a turning point in the spirit of Barcelona with his goal against Elche. Nico stood out in an eleven that defended with four centrals, attacked with Luuk de Jong and mixed with Riqui Puig in the absence of Gavi and Busquets, two of the emblematic players of Xavi’s plan, the Catalan for his experience and the Andalusian for his ambition , already starting also in the selection of Luis Enrique.

Barça tends to lose order without Busquets, it is less aggressive when Gavi is missing, it is not easy to be deep without full-backs and the surprise diminishes when Dembélé is not there. The team, however, maintained the soccer identity that its coach claims, it was recognizable by the possession of the ball, the dominance of the game and the submission of Mallorca. The Catalans sent against Luis García’s boys from the pressure, together and intense, also less precise and fast because Riqui Puig and Frenkie de Jong did not tune in the medullary and the forward lacked aim against Reina. The post and the crossbar returned two shots in a row by Luuk de Jong.

Although the rhythm was low and there was no fluidity, Barça reached the rival area and barely conceded counterattacks despite the fact that Araujo was overturned to the left side and faced the subtle South Korean Kang in Lee. Mallorca was a spectator of the Barcelona game for half an hour. Until the crossbar denied the goal for the second time to Luuk de Jong. Xavi’s team failed to execute his interesting declaration of intent and the unpredictable Mallorca approached the Barça field little by little. Luis García Plaza’s team has starred in opposite matches regardless of the scenario, irregular in the League, surpassed in their own court by a minor version of Barça.

More injuries

The goal fell due to the interest shown by the Barça fans to score and Luuk de Jong to hit the target, denied in three shots and redeemed at the end with a header after a cross at the far post by Mingueza. The striker culminated a patient play from Barcelona started by Riqui Puig and greeted by a slip from Reina. The goal did not help stabilize the Catalans in any case, more erratic at the beginning of the second half than at the end of the first half, supported by the hierarchy of Piqué. He did not know how to attack Mallorca if it was not with the transitions that Barça avoided precisely. The game continued in any case open because it was also difficult for the Catalans to reach Reina.

There was no other Barcelona finisher than Luuk de Jong and the Dutchman failed to hit a good center from Araujo. Ilias and Jutglà were not even accompanying them, devastated, and the ball began to fall in the Ter Stegen area. The risk on the Barça side increased and the possibility of a rough play fueled Mallorca’s expectations. The demand for the contest increased and the wheel of changes played in favor of Luis García’s team, more determined and aggressive, given the precariousness of Xavi’s bench. The injuries began to dismantle Barça even more. Nico and Mingueza fell and made their debut Álvaro Sanz, a midfielder born 20 years ago in Caspe, and Estanis, a youth winger from Cambrils.

The physical wear and tear penalized the Barça players, repetitive in the losses of the ball, harassed by Mallorca, little game and opportunities and at the same time intimidating in the strategy actions, as it was noticed in a head of the ex-Azulgrana Mboula. The end of the game is usually tragic for Barcelona. He has discounted many points in the last stages, when the forwards and midfielders fall apart and the team repeatedly loses the ball and is at the mercy of its centrals, powerful in Mallorca. I hammered and Eric rose like colossi to defend the lateral free blows thrown before the area of ​​Ter Stegen.

The goalkeeper was finally redeemed with a very worthwhile save after several days of folly, surprisingly unrecognizable, unrecognizable even at the Camp Nou. Ter Stegen returned to be Ter Stegen when he took out his iron right arm to repel Jaume Costa’s left-footed shot at point-blank range. The players hugged their goalkeeper, happy for the reunion, after closing a survival exercise that meant the second victory on the opposite court and the rebirth of their expectations in the League. There are victories that are therapeutic and symbolic like that of Mallorca.

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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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