Barcelona vs Alaves (5-1):
Barca ended up beating Alaves in a more uncomfortable match than the result indicates and that allowed the Catalans to morally rearm themselves in the first leg of the tie against PSG. Trincao, who has just made his debut as a scorer, signed his first double for Barca, which was not a hat trick for an offside. And Messi with two goals (and also a third annulled) seconded him with another. Junior completed the win in a game with many rotations. Riqui Puig and Junior completed 90 minutes, Ilaix debuted in LaLiga with an assist but had the blur of his error in the goal of Alaves. Sergio Busquets rested the entire second half and Dest and returned Pjanic after his absence due to injury.
Alaves had gotten into the game, with a goal from Rioja, at the start of the second half, but in two minutes of madness Messi and Trincao finished him off. The scoreboard is somewhat misleading because for a few minutes Barca wandered around the wire, perhaps too time-consuming thinking about Wednesday and the Champions League, but they got a win (5-1) that will feed their self-esteem.
Koeman was brave in the approach, with Riqui Puig and Ilaix Moriba as interiors and Trincao as the right-winger. They rested, from the start, Pedri, Dembele, or Jordi Alba, who gave the left-handed side of the defense to Junior. Alaves for their part, appeared cleverly dressed as Ajax, without a doubt with the intention of misleading De Jong, who played as a center-back next to Lenglet, probably the pair that will face PSG, until the entry into the second half from Umtiti for Busquets, with which De Jong was placed as a midfielder in the second half.
The Barcelona team, who sometimes stood with Mingueza as the third center-back in the attack in anticipation of a possible counter with two attackers from Alaves, came out intense, aggressive, ready to leave no loose ends from the initial whistle. Griezmann warned with a kick that took the defense out with stress after an intermission in which he combined with Trincao from the right.
However, Alaves little by little shook off Barcelona’s initial dominance. He obtained the corridors for Barca and was looking for Joselu and Lucas Perez with long balls. Ter Stegen was forced to block a shot on the visitors’ first serious occasion. First, he cleared a center-shot from Edgar and the subsequent rebound came to Battaglia, who loaded a shot that stopped the goal. Ter Stegen, always attentive, returned to be decisive shortly after by intercepting a Lucas cross with the defense badly placed.
Barca had lost part of its authority but recovered it. It was a growing Trincao, mentally liberated after having scored his first goal as a Barca player in the game against Betis, who redirected the situation. And he dislodged it with a providential goal. He impeccably finished off a magnificent assist from Ilaix after receiving a good cross from Mingueza from the right-wing. Young people, to the assault of power.
Everything seemed easier from that moment and shortly afterward Messi scored after a rejection by Pacheco at a shot by Griezmann, who had won his back to the central. But the VAR ‘detected’ an offside of the French forward at the beginning of the play.
The second of Messi, however much they might be encouraged, they would not be able to override it. He received from Sergio Busquets between the lines, heeled right. He went inside, dislodged Battaglia, his vigilante, and launched a firm, precise and strong shot between the goal and the base of the left post. The party, very well faced and the VAR resigned.
Alaves could get into the fight, but Lucas Perez sent a good pass from Edgar to the clouds as soon as the game resumed. He did revive with a goal from Rioja after a bad pass from Ilaix to de Jong. He entered the center, faced Ter Stegen, and scored, without the central, Umtiti and Lenglet, bothering him. But the resurrection of Alaves was a mirage.
The Barca, although it had little continuity in the game, could have resolved in individual actions of Trincao, with a great save by Pacheco before the auction of the Portuguese winger, who had only Ilaix on the left, and Griezmann, who finished unsuccessfully a pass from Messi. The Catalans had forgiven, but Pedri appeared there. A huge deep pass was taken out of the hat to Leo, who faced Pacheco. The goal beat him one on one, but his rejection reached Trincao, which this time he did not forgive.
With the spine nailed by his action against Pacheco, just a minute later Messi armed his left leg, after receiving from Griezmann, and nailed the ball through the square. Golazo. And Junior completed the ‘little hand’ by finishing another assist from Griezmann, after a great minced pass from Leo.