A desperate and painful Barça unable to get past the draw against Athletic | Soccer | Sports


Barça remained silent in San Mamés. He played as if he had not heard about Madrid’s draw or Girona’s defeat. He didn’t seem interested in the League. And the return against Naples in the Champions League may also have been complicated. Pedri and De Jong were injured in a relaxed and disinterested match, no matter how much it was played in Bilbao. Athletic’s substitutes fought with sufficiency rather than greatness against an anesthetized and afflicted Barcelona, ​​no matter how angry Xavi seemed.


Unai Simón, Yeray, Aitor Paredes, Benat Prados (De Marcos, min. 80), Imanol Garcia, Berenguer, Vesga (Ruiz de Galarreta, min. 63), Williams (Malcom Adu, min. 75), Unai Gómez, Dani García and Guruzeta (Villalibre, min. 75)



Ter Stegen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Pau Cubarsí, Cancelo, Gündogan, A. Christensen (Oriol Romeu, min. 76), Frenkie De Jong (Fermín López, min. 26), Raphinha (João Félix, min. 75), Pedri (Lamine Yamal, min. 45) and Lewandowski


Referee Alejandro José Hernández Hernández

Yellow cards Ronald Araújo (min. 31), Dani García (min. 51), A. Christensen (min. 61), Imanol Garcia (min. 65), Berenguer (min. 86) and Koundé (min. 87)

The condition of being undefeated on someone else’s court only serves for inventory purposes because the Blaugrana dropped two more points on a night when they supposedly aspired to be six behind Madrid. Barça cannot find the thread of the League. He had neither ambition nor authority to prove his status as champion against Athletic, who neither had the need to shoot at Ter Stegen’s goal nor did he suffer to support Unai Simón, a spectator of the night in San Mamés.

Having reached the Cup final, Athletic aspires to reach the Champions League zone. Rotations are imposed out of necessity and obligation, especially when the games are so close together and the rivals are demanding like Betis and Atlético. Valverde changed more than half the team from Thursday to Sunday to receive an expectant Barça. Xavi insisted on the plan that worked so well against Getafe with the new addition of Pedri for Joao Félix. The Blaugrana gave up a third striker to gain a fourth midfielder while Lamine Yamal continued on the bench.

It did not seem that the context pressured Barcelona more than an Athletic team without players of the caliber of Nico Williams and Sancet. Nobody protested at the San Mamés forge about the regulatory play of Valverde’s team. The decibels in the stands were lowered and the intensity on the field decreased without either players or fans ever ignoring a game in which Barcelona did not know what to do.

Possession was tiring, without depth or malice, easy for Athletic to defend. The goalkeepers were spectators of a difficult event that, however, claimed an illustrious injury like De Jong very soon. The Dutchman hurt his right ankle in a jump with Unai Gómez and was replaced by a midfielder (Fermín) and not by Yamal. The night passed without pain or glory in the Cathedral.

Not a single play of merit was counted until the 31st minute. Gündogan enabled Fermín and Unai Simón prevented the interior goal in a one-on-one that was continued in the rejection with an excellent mid-range shot by Cancelo. The goalkeeper appeared again and with the help of Yeray they avoided a 0-1 score. There was hardly any news on the other hand from Pedri. The Tenerife native was flying to find the place without De Jong when he broke down in the face of collective desperation and the silence of San Mamés. Pedri retired disconsolate due to a muscle ailment that recurred for the third time in a season, to the despair of Xavi. The coach no longer knew how to put the group back together and ended up turning to Yamal.

The injuries punished a team without competitive tension, passive and imprecise, more tired than Athletic, insensitive to a day that invited them to fight for the League. Barcelona’s absenteeism and fatality emboldened Athletic. The losses followed one another on the Barça court to fuel the transitions of Iñaki Williams and Berenguer. The retreat is usually slow and the pressure is not always synchronized in Barça. The blaugrana got bogged down while the rojiblancos improved with the entry of starters like Sancet and De Galarreta. Yamal was a loose verse who fought with and without the ball in Athletic’s field with the only help of Fermín.

The round of changes did not change the outlook for Barcelona. The team was overcome by fear of losing, more applied in defense than daring in attack, hurt by the loss of De Jong and Pedri. He did not have quality replacements to unbalance a match that required victory to maintain his aspirations in the League. In the absence of play, he also had no passion but rather lived anesthetized in San Mamés.

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