FC Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Club: Dream debut seals three points

FC Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Club: Dream debut seals three points

17-year-old debutant Marc Guiu comes on as a substitute and within seconds breaks the deadlock to earn three vital points

The kind of thing that dreams are made of. You are seventeen years old and you are sent on as a substitute for your first ever official appearance for FC Barcelona, the club where you have played for ten years, since you were just eight years old, rising all the way up through the youth ranks.

And it’s a difficult situation. It’s just not happening for Barça. It’s 0-0 and it’s starting to look like two more points are going to go begging.

On you go. While TV commentators around the world are still struggling to work out how to pronounce your name, and before you have even had time to get your bearings on the pitch, within seconds you’re running in from the left to collect the ball with the Athletic goal in sight.

Your first touch of the ball. Forward you charge. Through on goal. Unai Simon, having a tremendous game in the Athletic net, stands before you. You shoot. Simon gets a hand to it. But it’s not enough… 

He'd only been on the pitch for 23 seconds! This was a night that will go down in Barça folklore. For Marc Guiu, it was like touching heaven.

"I won't sleep tonight" he said after the game. Perfectly understandable!

Early struggles

That moment of history also means that instead of slumping to fourth below Atlético Madrid in the table, Barça instead move to within just a point of joint leaders Real Madrid and Girona, and with the Clásico coming up next weekend. Tasty, tasty, tasty!

Perhaps the injury pile-up in both squads, and particularly Barça’s, was partly to blame, but neither side seemed to be producing their A-game. Not that it was a dull encounter. Anything but. In a rapid, physical end-to-end contest it was only because of superlative performances by the respective goalkeepers that we saw no scoring until Guiu’s magical moment.

Two great keepers

Marc ter Stegen was telling us in a video this week how there are some games where he feels more plugged in than others, and this was clearly one of the former.

Athletic were finding it worryingly easy to work their through the Barça lines, but in a masterclass of what he calls ‘making yourself big’, he made sure those incursions came to nothing.

But Unai Simon was just as inspired as the German stopper at the other end. Two quite extraordinary interventions of his impeded what seemed certain goals from close range for Fermin Lopez.

Guiu wonder

Having hit the crossbar early on, Joao Felix turned out to be Barça’s most active man going forward, and after several foiled attempts of his own, it was his pass that send young Guiu on his charge to glory.

A close shave, and by no means Barça at their best, but this game will be remembered for one thing and one thing only. It was the day that yet another teenage pearl from La Masia has got the whole world talking.

Next up it’s Shakthar in the Champions League. And after that… Real Madrid, Bring it on!


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