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FC Barcelona have won, and won convincingly, against a European heavyweight in Juventus to collect the Gamper Trophy in the final run-out before La Liga begins against Real Sociedad next week.
A goal from Memphis right at the start, another from Riqui Puig right at the end and one in between for Martin Braithwaite produced an impressive 3-0 scoreline. Even better, based on what we saw on the pitch, it was a more than justified result.
It was impossible to ignore the fact that this was also the first game of the ‘post-Leo Messi era’, coming as it did just a matter of hours after the Argentinian's tearful farewell conference, and the 3,000 fans that were allowed entry to the Estadi Johan Cruyff paid homage to the player by chanting his name on repeated occasions.
The women had only needed two minutes to find the net in their game, and the men didn’t take any longer! The players were only just settling into the game when Yusuf Demir through balled sweetly to Memphis and the Dutchman’s finish was just as sugary.
Barça capitalised on that fabulous start by dominating the early play, and actually found the net twice more in the first half but both Demir and Griezmann were denied by the offside flag (the latter somewhat harshly, but there was no VAR to turn to in this game).
If any player was standing out more than any other in a fast-paced entertaining half, that man was Yusuf Demir.
Juventus weren’t just here as tourists though. Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo both gave Neto something to think about on more than one occasion. But on each of those occasions, the Brazilian’s only thoughts were on keeping the ball out and the first half ended with Barça good value for their 2-0 lead.
Indeed, the Barça goalkeeper would be rewarded for his efforts with the MVP award after the game.
With both sides making a number of changes, including Emerson Royal coming on for his first experience in the blaugrana jersey, it was Braithwaite who claimed Barça’s second. The Dane raced in to meet a Memphis corner with a powering header and that was Barça two goals to the good.
Riqui makes it three
While the first half had resembled anything but a pre-season friendly, the remainder of the game lost some of its pace and intensity… but Barça never lost control and were well due another goal.
It took some time coming, but it was worth the wait. Riqui Puig, in the 92nd minute, delivered a beautiful curled shot from outside of the area and that was 3-0.
All in all, another promising display from the Catalans. Next week, it’s over to the Camp Nou for the start of the competitive season. Bring it on and Força Barça!
FC Barcelona: Neto, Dest (Royal, min 62), Piqué, Araujo (Umtiti, min 62), J. Alba (Balde, min 70), Busquets, Demir (Nico, min 62), Sergi Roberto (Riqui Puig, min 70), Griezmann (Collado, min 85), Memphis & Braithwaite (Rey Manaj, min 78)
Juventus FC: Sczesny, De Sciglio, De Ligt, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Betancur, Ramsey, Bernardeschi, Cuadrado, Cristiano Ronaldo & Morata
Goals: Memphis (min 3), Braithwaite (min 57) & Riqui Puig (min 92).
Referee: César Soto Grado, yellow cards for Braithwaite and Royal (FC Barcelona) and McKennie (Juventus FC)
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