FC Barcelona 4-1 Deportivo Alaves: Hits and Flops from the game
Barcelona welcomed Deportivo Alaves to Camp Nou on Saturday looking to end their year on a high. The Catalans had a disappointing run in the midweek, managing only a 0-0 draw against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the El Classico. It was their second draw on the run and Ernesto Valverde’s men were desperate to get back to winning ways on Saturday. Barcelona were tied on 36 points with Los Blancos in the La Liga but were leading the table thanks to a superior goal difference. As such, the Catalans could not afford to slip up anymore.
Their opponents on Saturday were 14th in the league and dangerously slipping down. Alaves were winless in their last 3 games and had a poor away record so far. The Catalans had a decent record against El Glorioso in the La Liga, winning 6 of their 8 meetings before Saturday and only losing once. As such, Valverde had every reason to be optimistic and he named his team accordingly.
Barcelona started the game well and took the lead through Griezmann in the 14th minute. Arturo Vidal doubled the score 3 minutes before the halftime and the Catalans went into the break with a 2-0 lead. After the break, the away side struck back through Pere Pons in the 56th minute. However, Messi restored Barcelona’s 2 goal advantage in the 69th minute. Suarez made in 4-1 in the Catalans’ favour from the spot in the 75th minute and ultimately ensured the Barcelona stayed unbeaten in the Camp Nou in 2019. Here are the hits and flops from the game.
Hit: Lionel Messi
The reigning Ballon d’Or winner cut an isolated figure in midweek in the El Classico, where he failed to guide his team to a victory. Against Alaves, it was a chance for him to revert back to his normal form and ensure that Barcelona stayed at the top of the La Liga table before the start of the winter break.
The Argentinean started the game by assessing the opposition, before leading the onslaught on the away defence. He spearheaded the home side’s attack, initiating attacks and churning up unbelievable final balls in the final third. Alaves could not lay a finger on him and Messi continued to dictate the proceedings in the final third. The only thing missing was the goal and when it arrived in the 69th minute, it was worth the wait.
Messi received the ball from Suarez in the opposition half and ran towards the Alaves defence. Even though there were quite a few players surrounding him, the Argentinean managed to find space and placed a left-footer in the first bar to make it 3-1 for his team. It was also his 50th goal in 2019.