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FC Barcelona had full control of the last 79 minutes in their fourth and final game of the preseason International Champions Cup on Sunday night but it wasn’t enough to overcome two early goals from Federico Bernardeschi, as hosts Fiorentina claimed a 2–1 victory.
Despite the early goals FC Barcelona clearly dominated the rest of the match, and would have drawn even, or taken the lead, if they had been able to finish with a bit more precision. Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu was key as well, making a bevy of nice saves throughout the evening.
Bernardeschi’s first goal came after just four minutes of play, as Barça failed to man up out on the edge of the area and Valero was allowed to chip a floating cross into the middle of the area. A leaping Busquets was a tad late, allowing Bernardeschi to head past ter Stegen for the early 1–0 lead.
Fiorentina went up 2–0 eight minutes later when Bernardeschi banged in his second of the night after a nice feed from Joaquín.
"We have to improve in defensive areas," Barça head coach Luis Enrique admitted after the game.
Luis Suárez got one back for FC Barcelona in the 17th minute following a gorgeous touch from Rakitic into the area. Suárez controlled the ball between a pair of Fiorentina defenders and slotted home to cut the Italians’ lead in half.
Early on, Fiorentina appeared to be replicating Chelsea’s performance last Tuesday by carrying the ball with unfettered control through the FC Barcelona midfield and defence. But by the 35-minute mark, the Catalan defence was in full force and the momentum had clearly shifted.
Pedro Rodríguez had three first-half chances. His first was off target and another two went right at the keeper, the last coming after a shifty run that took him all the way to the touch line and then back out to the edge of the area before pulling the trigger.
Jordi Alba also had a wonderful look from close range but headed high, and Suárez mishit with only the goalkeeper to beat.
New additions Mario Suárez and Giuseppe Rossi, both hardened veterans of La Liga, came on to start the second half for Fiorentina.
Luis Suárez had the tying goal on his boot after 62 minutes but was foiled by the outstretched arm of Tatarusanu. Rakitic, Munir and Rafinha also had tricky shots that were deftly saved.
By the time Rafinha fired a half-metre wide three minutes later, it was clear Fiorentina had fully abandoned their earlier strategy and were instead committed to a defensive approach for the final half hour.
A flurry of late substitutions — made possible by tournament rules designed to prevent injury and maximise playing time — added some pep to the waning minutes and contributed to a smattering of energetic runs by both squads, but none were to have any effect on the final score.
Despite the loss, it wasn't all bad news for Luis Enrique. "There are plenty of aspects of our game that I liked. We created chances and we had some good moments," he said.
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