Accustomed to losing by not knowing how to score a goal, Barça could not win the day they scored two in the El Sadar ring. He had no personality or authority to close a match that repeatedly sided with him, determined to reject his luck and willing to embrace his misfortune after Xavi announced the start of a new stage in Munich. The Catalans were scared with the 0-1 and the 1-2 and were beaten at the end as is customary in the League and before in the Champions League. They did not know how to have the ball and were condemned against a stronger rival like Osasuna. They were afraid of losing and drew a match they had won despite playing without a center forward because no one knew how to verify the presence of Luuk de Jong.
Herrera, David García, Nacho Vidal (José Ángel, min. 73), Juan Cruz, Unai García, Lucas Torró, Kike Barja (Chimy Ávila, min. 67), Jon Moncayola, Rubén García (Brasanac, min. 67), Manu Sánchez (Roberto Torres, min. 72) and Kike García (Before Budimir, min. 67)
Ter Stegen, Piqué, Umtiti, Ronald Araújo, Busquets, Frenkie De Jong, Nico González (Óscar Mingueza, min. 72), Pablo Páez Gavira, Luuk de Jong, Ousmane Dembélé (Coutinho, min. 80) and Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Ferrán Jutglà , min. 91)
Goals 0-1 min. 11: Nico González. 1-1 min. 13: David García. 1-2 min. 48: Abdessamad Ezzalzouli. 2-2 min. 85: Chimy Ávila.
Referee Juan Martinez Munuera
Yellow cards Nacho Vidal (min. 27), Rubén García (min. 36), Juan Cruz (min. 48), Manu Sánchez (min. 55), David García (min. 66), Pablo Páez Gavira (min. 73), Ter Stegen (min. 82), Piqué (min. 88) and Umtiti (min. 95)
Although he surprised with the choice of footballers, and especially because of Umtiti’s commitment, unpublished since May, Xavi was consistent with Cruyff’s ideology and the example of Dream Team, which invites the Barça coach to respond to extreme situations with a brave 3-4-3 line-up. The presence of the three centrals is as inexcusable as that of the two extremes, while the four midfielders form a rhombus and therefore there is no room for the double pivot or the wings, an absence also justified by Alba’s injury and the bad role of Dest.
Nobody has more internalized the plan than the Masia midfielders, protagonists of the 0-1 after a deep pass from Gavi and Nico’s unmarking, control and precise shot. The daring of the youngsters contrasted with the passivity of the veteran defenders, static in the defense of a lateral free-kick that David García headed unopposed into the back of the net by Ter Stegen a minute after Nico’s goal: 1-1. The centrals blurred the help from the interiors and it was difficult for Barça to close as well as get the ball from the area.
There was no middle ground in Xavi’s training. There were surprisingly erratic players, such as Busquets, and also the inconsequential ones were counted, a task in which Frenkie de Jong repeated and Luuk de Jong and Dembélé joined. No one gave continuity to Abde’s destabilizing football or accompanied Gavi’s tremendous display. The extreme dribbled without stopping, daring and vertical, indecipherable for Osasuna. Abde faces and confuses his markers to the amazement of the public because his distorted and hunched appearance, such that he was a hunchback, conceals his ability to wriggle and avoid, omnipresent in the tight El Sadar.
Barça got on Abde’s hump and waited for Osasuna to win. The Navarrese kept their framework without difficulty, in solidarity and expectation, confident in the strategy and generosity of the Catalans, protagonists of gross errors in each game without the need for any rival to bother them, sometimes confused and sometimes scared, lacking in leadership and hierarchy, already used to episodic plays, like 1-2. The referee considered a hand by Busquets involuntary after a rejection by Gavi and the counter ended in a goal by Abde.
The Arrasate boys stood still, convinced that the referee would end up whistling a penalty, without noticing that Martínez Munuera had continued the game, convinced that there was no infraction, and the ball ended up in Herrera’s goal. Dembélé crossed from the right wing and Abde finished off with his right at the far post, from end to end, impossible for Osasuna’s goalkeeper. The goal enraged the Navarrese, who went for the lift with their intense and vigorous football, difficult to fight for a cowardly team like Barcelona.
The fouls followed one another and the centers began to fly ahead of Ter Stegen. It was difficult for the goalkeeper to get out, he put his fists as best he could, unhinged with and without the ball, embedded by Osasuna’s physique. The script demanded control and fluidity on the part of Barça. Xavi could not find a way out of the ring despite Gavi’s combativeness and ended up bringing together four centrals with the entry of Mingueza. The Catalans were in tow of the Arrasate team. They did not know how to rest with the ball, decimated by injuries and without references like Ansu and Memphis, and they lacked command and wisdom to govern El Sadar.
Navarre’s momentum ended up prevailing against the Barcelona Montonera in a second play, after a corner kick, when Chimi Ávila hooked the leather at the entrance of the area and put it on Ter Stegen’s right post. The draw seemed irremediable due to the setback caused by the changes and the attitude of the Catalans, mentally and physically fragile and also distrustful, knowing that their suffering would end badly, as so many times, as it did: 2-2. Barça does not have a team or players but lives on the memory, its style and the Masia. Abde evoked the best wingers while Gavi and Nico reported to the great interiors the day Xavi set Cruyff 3-4-3.
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