LOS ANGELES — European heavyweights FC Barcelona and Arsenal went toe to toe for 45 minutes on Wednesday night, but after a flurry of second half substitutions, the Gunners pulled away with three second half goals to top the Catalans 5-3 before.a packed house of 70,228 at SoFi Stadium.
In a footballing spectacle that lived up to its billing, Arsenal and FC Barcelona clashed in a pulsating first half that left fans in awe. From scintillating goals to breathtaking attacking maneuvers, the match had it all, setting the tone for an unforgettable encounter.
The action ignited in minute seven, courtesy of a moment of sheer brilliance from Barça’s EZ Abde, the fleet-footed winger, who embarked on a run down the left flank, leaving Arsenal defenders trailing in his wake. With expert precision, Abde found Raphinha in front of the net, and the Brazilian pulled the trigger. Aaron Ramsdale made the save, but the rebound popped straight out to Robert Lewandowski, who was in the right place at the right time to tap in the rebound and hand Barcelona an early advantage.
Arsenal, however, quickly levelled the score. In the 13th minute, Bukayo Saka beat Marc ter Stegen with a low shot to the left of the German keeper.
In the 34th, Raphinha gave Barça their second lead of the game. After Barça was awarded a free-kick just outside the box, the Brazilian fired off Martin Ødegaard on the Arsenal wall, leaving Ramsdale stranded as the ball trickled into the back of the net. Barça was back in the lead, and their fans erupted.
However, the Gunners refused to stay down and mounted yet another comeback before the first half ended. In the 43rd, Kai Havertz, Arsenal's blockbuster signing, slotted home, leveling the score once more, this time at 2-2.
Arsenal tacked on two more unanswered goals in the second half courtesy of Leandro Trossard, who beat Iñaki Peña to put the Gunners up 3-2 on 55 minutes before adding another in the 78th when he redirected a cross from Kieran Tierney into the back of the Barça net.
Amidst Trossard’s two strikes, Ousmane Dembélé had one of Barça’s best chances of the game in the 74th. The speedy Frenchman took Ansu Fati’s pass and made a run in from the right wing but his low shot clanged off the near post.
Ferran pulled one back for Barça in the 88th to make it 4-3, but one minute later, Arsenal put the game away when Fábio Vieira fired in from outside the box.