Las Palmas 1-2 FC Barcelona: Epic comeback to start the year

Las Palmas 1-2 FC Barcelona: Epic comeback to start the year

Torres and Gündoğan cancel out the home side's early opener on the night that Vitor Roque makes his debut in the blaugrana jersey

Following the victories for Real Madrid and Girona on Wednesday night, Barça knew that only three full set of three points would suffice from today’s trip to the Canary islands.

It was a nervous ride, and once again the Catalans found themselves trailing early on. But as has happened so many times this season, they managed to get the machine working in the second half, deservedly pulled a goal back and then snatched victory in dramatic fashion thanks to an injury time penalty.


Three points from a game in which we also got to enjoy the first glimpse of what we have in store from Vitor Roque mean that everything stays the same at the top of the table, with seven points still separating Barça from the front two.


Early setback

It was very much a game of two halves. Barça never got comfortable in the first 45 minutes, and were trailing for most if it after Las Palmas took the lead on 12 minutes. To add insult to the injury, it was two former Barça players who the home fans had to thank. Sandro Ramirez popped in the cross and Munir El Haddadi beat Iñaki Peña onto the end of it.

It may have been no coincidence that the goal came just as the Barça defence was readjusting after João Cancelo had been forced to retire early with an injury. We’ll need to wait for the medical report on that one, but although the initial signs were worrying, Xavi hinted after the game that it’s nothing too serious. That's a relief.

What followed was a lively game, with the Barça frontline getting to appreciate in the flesh why Las Palmas have the second best defensive record in the league. What the islanders have been lacking is a bit more bite up front, and Barça could almost feel fortunate that there was still only one goal in it at the break.

Back in business

There was a marked improvement after the restart, and by the time Barça equalised it was hard to argue that they didn’t fully deserve it.
It wasn’t the prettiest of build-ups, but a scramble on the edge of the area ended with Sergi Roberto stroking the ball to Ferran Torres, and the latter coolly slotted home.

Roque on

The goal utterly changed the dynamic of the game. Las Palmas, who had looked remarkably complacent to that point, now appeared utterly flustered. Barça, for whom a single point was of little interest, looked ready for more.

And to add to the optimism, 18-year-old Vitor Roque, the new arrival from Brazil, was on the for the final quarter hour.

Late winners are a Barça speciality this season, but Las Palmas have become impressively adept at grinding out results, and the final minutes were as tense as football can get.

Penalty joy

Not for want of trying, it started to look like Barça weren’t going to get that elusive second goal. But two minutes into injury time, Daley Sinkgraven’s rather foolish shove on İlkay Gündoğan’s back had the referee pointing at the penalty spot (and producing a red card).

Barça had been thrown a lifeline. Gündoğan himself accepted the duties. Huge pressure. If this didn’t go in, Barça’s league title hopes would be in greater jeopardy than ever.

No need to worry. İlkay did what he needed to do. Barça did what they needed to do. Anyone who thought La Liga 2023-24 is a two-horse race will need to think again.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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