Barça 1-1 Alavés: Held to a draw
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Sergi Barjuan’s first game as interim manager of FC Barcelona has ended in a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou. A delightful goal from Memphis just after the break looked to have finally set the team on course for three points, but Alavés bit back quickly with one of their few real attacks... And try as Barça did to make it happen, the second goal just didn’t want to come.
Agüero and Piqué blows
The caretaker coach opted to pick a similar looking starting XI to the kind of team we have been seeing all season, and at least to begin with, the script was not altogether different to recent Barça outings.
The Catalans might have been mastering the midfield and getting the ball into far more useful positions than the opposition. But other than an Eric Garcia header that was brilliantly saved by stand-in Alavés keeper Antonio Sivera, things were flickering rather than blazing in the blaugrana attack.
Matters were not helped by the early loss of Sergio Agüero (and Gerard Piqué would be hobbling off midway through the second half), but Barça really did need to turn their superiority into goals.
They finally did it moments after the restart. Memphis, with all the coolness in the world, swerved a beauty into the far right corner. At long last that was 1-0. And a fifth goal of the league season for the Dutchman…
He was on fire, and could have added not one but two more very shortly after. One hit the post and the other was blocked by Sivera.
In the meantime, however, Alavés had produced a flash of brilliance and Luis Rioja had put his side back level. It was pretty much the only piece of real danger that the Basques had created all game. Football can be such a cruel game sometimes…
Alavés were a lot happier to share the points than Barça were. The remainder of the game was all about Barça pushing and pushing in search of something, and Alavés pushing and pushing to stop that something from happening.
With ten minutes to go, Ez Abde was given his first ever minutes with the first team, but neither he nor his colleagues could prevent the blue-and-whites from getting what they wanted - and the game ended 1-1.
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