FC Barcelona 4-2 Tottenham: Late turnaround wins dramatic Gamper

FC Barcelona 4-2 Tottenham: Late turnaround wins dramatic Gamper

Three goals in the last 10 minutes win the trophy after the visitors responded twice to Lewandowski's early opener

If the games at the Estadi Olimpic are going to be as exciting as the one we witnessed tonight, then there is a LOT to look forward to in the 2023/24 season. The Joan Gamper Trophy match against Tottenham Hotspur had a little bit of everything.

The Catalans had only needed three minutes to take the lead, but Spurs (still looking for their first ever win against Barça) clearly weren’t just here for a preseason kickaround. Two goals from the Londoners turned things on their head, and with just ten minutes left on the clock, it was looking like the home side might not be winning the cup for a record eleventh time in a row.

But following a number of substitutions on both sides, it was the younger generation who set the record straight. Three goals, including two in the very last minute, sparked victory celebrations following one of the most compelling editions of the Gamper in recent years.

Perfect start

Xavi opted to start the game with something not too far from the first choice XI of last season, but with new recruit Oriol Romeu slotted into the midfield.

And rather like in last season’s Gamper against Pumas, no sooner had the game kicked off than Barça were already a goal to the good. In the first attack of the evening, Raphinha raced down the wing and curled in the perfect assist for Robert Lewandowski to finish the job. The most perfect of starts.

Spurs upset the party

But Tottenham, whose own league season begins this Sunday at Brentford, clearly weren’t here to serve as sparring partners. Ter Stegen’s gloves had already been warmed with two fine saves when Lo Celso’s effort hit the post and Oliver Skipp was ready to poke home the rebound. One goal apiece after 24 minutes and we had a game on our hands.

12 minutes later, and following the initially worrying sight of Ronald Araujo having to withdraw clutching a leg muscle, Skipp’s head met an Ivan Perisic cross and Spurs were ahead.

Barça had won the last ten editions of this competition by scoring 40 goals in the process and conceding just three. But in this one, they were going in for the break with a huge job on their hands. And it would be a long wait before it happened, but it was a job they ultimately got done. And afterwards, Xavi also confirmed that the Uruguayan's injury is nothing major and he should be fine for the weekend. Phew!

Ferran levels at last

The second half may have started with the same 22 men on the field, but the inevitable streams of substitutions that tend to accompany such fixtures soon began. Xavi’s six changes with half an hour to go included the chance for Gündogan to take his first bow in front of his new home fans.

Of the newcomers, Ferran Torres had the most immediate impact, twice coming close to scoring. And with ten minutes to go and with the home fans beginning to worry that the equaliser was never going to come, the top scorer from the US Tour added a third goal to his preseason tally.

The assist for Torres’ goal came from young Lamine Yamal, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes.

The despondent mood in the stadium had been erased in an instant, and the tempo in the final minutes was the most intense of the whole game.

Late magic wins the Gamper!

Barça surged forwards, but the clock was ticking down fast and it looked like penalties were going to decide the Gamper for the first time since 2010. But no.

The same two players who had been involved in the leveller, Torres and Yamal, were then involved in the build-up to a moment of late magic from Ansu Fati, who delicately placed the ball in the top corner to ensure that the Gamper was once again blaugrana!

That looked like the end of the story, and a very happy one it was too, but somehow Barça then found time to give the fans a fourth goal to celebrate.

And it was another product of the ‘Baby Barça' generation, with Fermín López, the teenager who had impressed so much on the American tour, laying up Ez Adbe to put the icing on the cake of a memorable evening…

What a finish. What a win. What a season we have to look forward to! 


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