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FC Barcelona have started a crunch week the way they wanted to. With a win. Not only that, but for the first time in a year and half, they could do so in front of a Camp Nou with no crowd limitations.
Following defeats to Benfica and Atlético Madrid this game was just the tonic to renew spirits, with big games against Dynamo Kyiv and Real Madrid still to come in the next seven days.
Despite conceding early, it was a fabulous team performance, and to top off the night, we even got to see Sergio Agüero make his long-awaited debut.
Ansu finds the answer
Things couldn’t have started worse for Barça when José Gaya rifled in from outside of the area, but the response was quick.
Ansu Fati, starting his first game since returning from injury, played a delightful one-two with Memphis and then curved in the most exquisite of finishes to find the exact spot that Jasper Cillessen was never going to reach.
So many hopes have been pinned on the teenager’s recovery, and this is the reason why! It was an absolute corker of a goal.
We had a game on our hands! The respective goalscorers were involved in the third goal too. The build-up from Barça was stunning, and Ansu Fati only had to tap in when Gaya came in on him from behind. The ref took Ansu’s side.
Dutchman v Dutchman. Memphis v Cillessen. Bang! Some penalty from the Barça striker and his team would be going in for the break as 2-1 leaders.
Coutinho finishes the job
Valencia pushed hard in search of an equaliser after the restart, but it was then that Ter Stegen started to prove utterly, particularly against Gonçalo Guedes, who had also come close on two occasions in the first half. Minutes later, Ansu Fati gave way for Philippe Coutinho … and it was the Brazilian who delivered the killer blow.
He struck home a ball delivered by Sergiño Dest, the latter trying out in a new position on the right wing…And that was 3-1 and very much game over.
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