BARCELONA (EFE) – A Barça impotent in the first game after the dismissal of Ronald Koeman was not able to beat Alavés, who took a point from a Camp Nou with only 37,278 spectators after Luis Rioja managed to match the great goal from Memphis Depay that opened the scoring at the start of the second half.
Sergi Barjuan, the interim coach of the Catalans, put aside the revolutions and even continued betting on Sergiño Dest as a right winger despite his enmity with the goal. The most relevant novelty regarding the last games, forced by the multiple casualties, was to see from the beginning the very young interior couple Nico González-Gavi, who barely reaches 36 years in total.
The left wing was Barça’s great weapon in the early stages of the match, with a very active Memphis Depay, who at times recovered part of the freshness shown at the start of the season, and a Jordi Alba who managed to reach the line with ease. unfortunately in the background of Joaquín ‘Ximo’ Navarro who, as if that were not enough, ended up being replaced by injury before the halfway point of the first half.
Barça had the intention of showing, although without luck, that a different reality is possible with another ideologue on the bench. Meanwhile, the chosen one, Xavi Hernández, added a new triumph this Saturday with Al Sadd while waiting to solve the contractual problems to leave the Qatari club.
But the first chance to score did not come until the 17th minute, when a hyperactive Eric García hit a header that Antonio Sivera, substitute for the injured Fernando Pacheco, cleared ‘in extremis’. For their part, Alavés, robust in defense, did not manage to disturb Marc-André Ter Stegen until half an hour with another header. Edgar Méndez’s attempt went very far from the Barça goal.
This action gave air to the Vitoria team, which managed to get rid for the first time of the hitherto constant, although sterile, attack by Barça. And the party fell asleep as the break loomed.
Before he arrived, Sergio Agüero scared the Camp Nou by stretching out on the ground after showing symptoms of dizziness. The Argentine walked away from the field and was transferred to a hospital to undergo medical examinations.
The lost magic returned to the feet of Memphis and as soon as the second half began, in 49, his right foot invented a shot in the form of a parable that embedded in Sivera’s left square. The Camp Nou was released and the Dutchman celebrated with his characteristic gesture of covering his ears.
But the Barça joy only lasted three minutes. The ones it took Luis Rioja to pierce the center of the Barça defense, very soft, with an individual play in which he leaned on Joselu before dribbling Ter Stegen and scoring on an empty goal.
The visiting goal enraged Barjuan’s men, who overcame the blow at first and had two clear chances at Memphis’ feet to score the second goal. In the first, Gavi assisted him and the ball crashed into the right post after hitting it over Sivera and, in the second, it was Nico González who left him alone before the visiting goalkeeper, who repelled the ball.
Both Gerard Piqué and Edgar Méndez left the field with muscular discomfort and, copying the first half, the rhythm of the game declined to the detriment of Barça interests. Barjuan’s last letter was to admit Alejandro Balde and debutant Ez Abde 10 minutes from the end. They brought energy and daring, but the result no longer moved.