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A fine Gamper crowd of 83,021 is coming from the Spotify Camp Nou feeling very, very reassured by what they saw. Barça already had this game as good as won in the first few minutes, and ended up racking up six against UNAM Pumas of the Liga MX, but the real positive was not so much the emphatic result as the way it happened.
The sensations surrounding this team are wonderful. The new players have all settled in brilliantly, the older faces are looking very fresh, and there is an all-round very positive, and very confident-looking vibe to things just six days before the official fixture kicks in.
Lewy and Pedri – what a pair!
Incredibly, Barça needed just five minutes to take a two-goal lead, and were already four goals to the good before the twentieth minute had ticked.
Robert Lewandowski only needed two minutes to net his first Blaugrana goal, and it was a brilliantly executed finish. It wasn’t the kind of angle one would normally expect someone to shoot, but there was every intent behind his perfectly placed finish. Sheer quality.
Pedri had provided the assist for that one and barely a minute later the roles were reversed. A through ball from the Pole and the Canary Islander made no mistake in rounding the keeper to double the lead.
We have so much to look forward from those this season! The fourth goal was again a combination between Pedri and Lewandowski, and the outcome of a sublime back-heeled pass from the latter
And before that, Ousmane Dembélé joined the party as well, coolly assisted by another Spotify Camp Nou newcomer, Raphinha.
The Brazilian offered plenty of signals of great things to come, and he was one of two players to hit the woodwork in the first half. Lewandowski was the other.
The talk among Pumas fans in the build-up was all about repeating their heroics at the Trofeo Bernabéu in 2004 and becoming the first team ever to win both the Real Madrid and Barça preseason tournaments. But four goals down after 19 minutes, that clearly wasn’t going to be happening. It was really just a question of how many more Barça were going to score.
Xavi made a number of changes at half-time, and yet the eleven still looked very, very solid indeed. There’s going to be some hot competition for places in 2022/23. And the gaffer is going to have some tough decisions to make!
Two of the replacements teamed up to rub further salt in the Pumas wound. New signing Kessie slipped in the killer pass for Aubameyang to score with practically his first touch of the ball.
And one of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for Jules Koundé, who was not on the US Tour and was hence making his Barça debut tonight.
De Jong makes it six
And so the Barça pressure continued. In the second half, it was relentless but not quite as ruthless thanks to some much tighter defending from the Mexicans and perhaps a general drop in the intensity too. If Gerard Piqué had scored from that back-heel it would have been something special, Auba banged one onto the bar, and eventually it was down to Frenkie de Jong to slot in the goal that matched Barça’s tally in the only previous meeting between these sides, a 6-1 win for the Catalans back in 1963.
We’d have had a 6-1 once again had substitute keeper Arnau Tenas not brilliantly turned Pumas’ only real chance of the game onto the bar.
And so ends the preseason, with Barça having amassed 18 goals and conceded just three. Next Saturday things really get started, back here at Spotify Camp Nou for the first game in La Liga 2022/23, with Rayo Vallecano the visitors at 9.00pm CEST.
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