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Fontàs, contra la Sampdoria. FOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB.

The 47th edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy was won by Genovese outfit Sampdoria against a Barça side containing a large number of reserves. In extremely hot conditions, Barça dominated for most of the 90 minutes, but failed to find a response to the Italian club’s early opener. Sampdoria thus gained belated revenge for their defeat, twenty years earlier, in the historic final at Wembley.

Sampdoria take early lead

With an unusual starting eleven lacking any of the players that had beaten Real Sociedad just 24 hours earlier, Barça were stunned by a Soriano header in the very first move of the match. Not that that changed the home team’s system, led by Sergi Roberto in a man of the match winning performance, with passes from him and Espinosa producing the perfect service to strikers Villa, Afellay and Deulofeu.

Control creates few chances

Where Barça were lacking was in the final metres. Almost all of the play was in the Italian half, but Sampdoria were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure while looking for chances on the counter attack. The visitors came close to extending their lead, but Maxi López’s goal was disallowed for offside and in the 35th minute, the former Barça man was again denied, this time by a truly tremendous save from Pinto.

At the other end, Sergi Roberto came close to heading home a cross, Afellay almost found the net as well, and there were also a couple of opportunities for Deulofeu, but Barça were still trailing by the solitary goal at the break. 

Feeling the heat

Tito Vilanova made no changes during the interval. The action had barely restarted when Deulofeu came close to converting a Roberto assist, but visiting goalkeeper Romero did well. Barça spent almost the entire second half hovering around the Sampdoria area, but clearly lacking playing rhythm and also affected by the stifling heat, the chances were few and far between and most of the action was in the terraces, where the adverse scoreline didn’t seem to be having any effect on the enthusiasm among the spectators.

Desire against officiousness

Pozzi almost sentenced the match in a one on one with Pinto, but his 65th minute effort struck the post. Shortly after, Villa was calling for a penalty in his final intervention before being substituted by Román. That meant that the only first team squad members left on the field were Montoya, Bartra, Dos Santos and Afellay, the latter serving as captain. But no matter how much the Catalans tried, the Italians were able to deal with everything thanks to some admirably officious defending. It ended 1-0, and the Gamper Trophy is off to Genoa.

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