Rapinha decides a match to suit him | Soccer | Sports


The hard-working Raphinha did not stop running until he reached the goal that unbalanced a match tailored to him, designed to show off his unmarking, favored by the daring football of Las Palmas. The Brazilian’s goal was enough for a team on a streak – nine games without losing – and that he has five games with a clean sheet, records that allow him to maintain that he still aspires to play in the League against Madrid. The Blaugrana gave up after 1-0 against an opponent who played with ten from the 24th minute due to the expulsion of their goalkeeper Álvaro Valles. The Canaries are not lucky, as they went through their sixth game without winning in LaLiga.


Ter Stegen, Íñigo Martínez, Pau Cubarsí, Cancelo, Koundé, Gündogan, Fermín López, Sergi Roberto (Oriol Romeu, min. 80), Lewandowski (Vitor Roque, min. 80), Lamine Yamal and Raphinha


The Palms

Álvaro Vallés, Mika Mármol, Álex Suárez, Saul Coco, Sergi Cardona (Benito Ramírez, min. 78), Enzo Loiodice (Alberto Moleiro, min. 71), Kirian Rodríguez, Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park, Sandro (Marc Cardona, min. 78 ), Javi Muñoz (Campaign, min. 71) and Munir (Escandell, min. 28)

Goals 1-0 min. 59: Raphinha.

Referee Mateo Busquets Ferrer

Yellow cards Sergi Cardona (min. 14), Gündogan (min. 51), Sergi Roberto (min. 62), Íñigo Martínez (min. 63), Lewandowski (min. 80) and Cancelo (min. 87)

red cards Álvaro Vallés (min. 24)

Both teams share the same taste for the quarry, for the pass as the thread of the game and for possession of the ball, greater than 60% in both. Although the weather was very unpleasant due to wind and rain, the match looked good rather than interesting, a feeling reinforced by the line-up arranged by Xavi. The coach kept Lamine Yamal, lined up two centre-backs with very good ball output like Iñigo Martínez and Cubarsí, and formed his most creative midfielders in response to Christensen’s injury. The holding midfielder is no longer essential in the same way that João Félix already knows that he is a substitute at a time when rotations are controlled because the next game will not be played until April 10 in Paris.

The Blaugrana have recovered their joy and also their pressure, which is not always synchronized, a circumstance that sometimes causes the loss of the ball and encourages transitions for teams with good touch such as Las Palmas. The Canaries did not allow themselves to be intimidated by the harassment of Barça, who camped in the opposite field as soon as they stepped onto the Montjuïc grass. The match was fast, open and fun because the arrivals and shots at Valles’ goal followed one another and there was no shortage of responses from the Canarian team on the way to Ter Stegen’s area. In the open field, Barça’s verticality ended up imposing. The scenario led to Raphinha’s unchecking, stabbing into space, powerful and undetectable for the rival advanced defense.

The Brazilian had a goal disallowed in a disputed play and immediately caused the expulsion of Álvaro Valles. The goalkeeper crossed at the wrong time, arrived late to the goal and ran over Raphinha. The referee showed the red card to the goalkeeper and García Pimienta chose to remove Munir while he set up a defense with five players without giving up pulling the defensive line away from substitute Aarón’s area. The plan worked because of Barça’s poor aim. Lamine Yamal did not appear, nor did Lewandowski hit the target and Raphinha did not find the goal either, failing to shoot after an inside pass from Gündogan, Barça’s most consistent player. Xavi’s team lacked concentration and competitive tension to sanction García Pimienta’s risky plan.

The match demanded more offensive power from the Barça side against a diminished Las Palmas, yet always recognizable in the face of the impatience of the fans gathered in Montjuïc. The Blaugrana needed to be deeper, to have unbalancing players and Óscar Hernández—Xavi is suspended—turned to João Félix. And the Portuguese, delicate in his conduct. It was decisive for Raphinha to finally score after an inward left action that ended with a long chipped pass to the Brazilian’s head, slipping behind the center back Mika Mármol.

João Félix was lucid as an assistant and clumsy as a finisher when he had a clear chance to make it 2-0. The Barcelona fans let themselves go with Raphinha’s goal and surrendered to a very sad end to the match, more focused on the changes and the cards than on the football, an unattractive scenario for the grateful Montjuïc fans. The numerical inferiority did not lower the attitude of a daring Las Palmas in the face of Barcelona’s disinterest. Not even the presence of Moleiro seemed to worry Xavi’s team, too exposed and conformist, devoted to Ter Stegen. The goalkeeper started with a scream when the ball passed very close to his goal on a free shot from Moleiro.

There were no more opportunities and the game ended with the murmur of each day about Xavi’s continuity. Vice president Yuste stated that he will try to mediate so that the coach changes his decision to leave the club on June 30 as he assured after losing to Villarreal. Barça has remained undefeated since then, capable of resolving difficult matches – the Metropolitano match – and also easy or interwar matches like the Las Palmas match. Although the League is not renounced, the challenge is the tie against PSG.

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