Worn by a Lionel Messi in great shape and author of a double, FC Barcelona made short work of Alavés (5-1) this Saturday during the 23rd day of La Liga. Ronald Koeman’s team gains confidence before facing PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday (on RMC Sport).
A good preparation for three days of an ultra-important meeting. Before welcoming PSG on Tuesday in the knockout stages of the Champions League (on RMC Sport), FC Barcelona took place this Saturday against Deportivo Alavés (5-1) on behalf of the 23rd day of La Liga.
This success against 16th in the championship allows the Catalans to move up temporarily to second place in the standings, ahead of Real Madrid but still eight points behind Atlético, which also has one game less.
Messi and Trincao in great shape
This is not really a surprise: PSG will especially have to watch Lionel Messi. Returning to an excellent level, the Argentinian offered himself a new double at Camp Nou, compensating for the lack of success of Antoine Griezmann in the last gesture. He first found the flaw in a cross shot from the left (45th), before scoring a second goal with an exceptional strike which took the direction of the skylight (75th). Next to him, Francisco Trincão also stood out.
It was the Portuguese who opened the scoring with a low shot at the penalty spot (29th) and it was he who made the break as the last quarter of an hour approached (74th) . In a game mastered by Barcelona in the face of weak adversity, Junior Firpo killed all suspense upon receiving a cross from Griezmann (80th). The latter could also have participated in the offensive festival of his team, but he lacked a touch of skill in the finish. He was still valuable in the construction and delivered a good overall copy, before being replaced by Ousmane Dembélé (81st).
Still struggling in defense
The Parisians know it, the defense is the big weak point of this Barça this season. Deprived of Gerard Piqué, Ronald Araujo or even Sergi Roberto, Ronald Koeman has been trying different associations for a few weeks. Without much success. After conceding seven goals in his last three games in all competitions, his team has still shown some shortcomings in this sector against Alavés. Even in a game won 5-1. Especially in the second half when Frenkie de Jong, lined up at the kickoff as a central defender, took a step up, leaving Samuel Umtiti to take his place alongside Clément Lenglet.
Shortly before the hour mark, the two French were caught in a hurry after a bad pass from the young Ilaix Moriba (18) intercepted by Luis Rioja. The latter took the opportunity to adjust Marc-André Ter Stegen (57th). What to give ideas to the players of Mauricio Pochettino, who could take advantage of the spaces left by a Catalan defense which really lacks automation. It remains to be seen which hinge will align Koeman on Tuesday? De Jong could be a solution. The Dutchman is one of Barca’s best players this year and he proved it again against Alavés.
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