FC Barcelona, author of a no-fault so far, has just lost its first points in Liga against Girona (2-2). While Lionel Messi had opened the scoring, the Blaugranas were reduced to ten after the expulsion of Clement Lenglet. Cristhian Stuani gave Girona the advantage and was close to the feat. But Gérard Piqué equalized shortly afterwards. Despite the Barcelona domination, the men of Ernesto Valverdo had to settle for the draw.
FC Barcelona held back by its neighbour Girona (2-2): the Barcelona side, outnumbered after the exclusion of Frenchman Clément Lenglet, tripped on Sunday for the 5th day of the Spanish championship, but joined Real Madrid, provisional leader since Saturday night.
At Camp Nou, Lionel Messi opened the scoring of a flat of the foot unstoppable (19′), the fifth goal this Liga Of The Little Argentinean, became this weekend the foreign player having played the most league matches of Spain (423 matches, 388 goals) in front of the Brazilian Dani Alves (422 matches).
But the direct red card received by Lenglet for a nudge (35′) upset the balance of power and Gerone took advantage of it with a double by Cristhian Stuani (45′, 51′) on two defensive errors, before Gerard Piqué, not very sovereign behind, made up for himself by equalising the head (63′). Even if his winning card ended on Sunday, Barça (1st, 13 pts) is back in front of Real (2nd, 13 pts) for the difference in goals at the end of the 5th day. However, the Catalans ‘ two-point lead has melted and they will have to tie in a particularly strong month of October.
The Deportivo Alavés is an amazing third with 10 points, while Sevilla FC, a 6-2 player with a triplet of Frenchman Wissam Ben Yedder, came back to 6th place (7 pts) behind Celta Vigo (4e, 8 pts) and Atlético Madrid (5e, 8 pts).
Lenglet unhappy, Dembele sacrificed
This weekend, Clément Lenglet had a golden opportunity to have some playing time ahead of the 2nd champions League Day on October 3 at Tottenham, where his compatriot Samuel Umtiti will be suspended.
But his first Liga start with Barça was short : on a ball at the entrance to his own surface, the former Sévillan stopped Pere Pons with a nudge. Whether voluntary or not, this gesture was viewed by the central referee on the screen placed at the edge of the field and earned the unfortunate defender a direct red card (35′).
Probably coach Ernesto Valverde waited too long to reorganize his defence : while his team led 1-0 thanks to Messi (19′), Uruguayan front centre Stuani inherited a good Center in the area, escaped from Sergio Busquets who came to do the number in central defence, and beat the goalkeeper at point-blank range (45′). The entry into Samuel Umtiti’s break was then fatal to his compatriot Ousmane Dembélé, sacrificed on the altar of tactical reorganization.
Messi finds the cross
But Barça’s business did not get any better: after Gerard Piqué’s mistake, taken in the race by Portu, Marc-André Ter Stegen stepped in but Stuani, who had followed, catapulted the ball into the skylight with a powerful shot (51′).
Everything seemed to be going badly for Barça, and this is the moment that Pique chose to make up for it : the defender, who shaved his beard this week like his captain Lionel Messi, equalised with his head after a shot from Luis Suarez by the goalkeeper (63′). Revived, the Catalans then pushed to win, in the wake of Messi who multiplied the hot free-kicks, one of which was sent on the cross (60′).
But nothing has done : neither Philippe Coutinho’s distant shots, Umtiti’s control-strike sequence (80′), nor Suarez’s desperate attempts… and the derby between the Barcelona ogre and the catalan “little brother” has given birth to a great show, waiting to know whether the Spanish league (LaLiga) will win its fight to get to relocate the match back to the United States next January.