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Huesca 0-1 Barcelona: 5 talking points as Catalans kick off new year on a winning note | La Liga 2020-21

Barcelona defeated Huesca away from home
Barcelona defeated Huesca away from home
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 04 Jan 2021, 07:02 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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A 27th-minute strike by Frenkie de Jong was enough to give Barcelona a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Huesca at the Estadio El Alcoraz.

Ronald Koeman welcomed back his captain Lionel Messi into the starting lineup, with Antoine Griezmann dropped to the bench, while Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembele also started.

The Catalan giants began the game on the front foot and created the first chance as early as the fifth minute when a poorly cleared ball found Messi in the area but the 33-year-old inexplicably shot wide from close range.

More chances continued to fall Barcelona's way, with Pedri heading over from six yards, while Dembele saw his goal-bound shot blocked.

The visitors, however, got the lead their dominance deserved when Messi played an exquisite cross to the back post and De Jong was on hand to score with an excellent finish.

From then on, it was one-way traffic but Barcelona failed to add to their tally, despite fashioning several good chances.

The longer the game went, the more Huesca grew in confidence and the hosts upped the ante in the dying stages of the game, although they failed to truly test Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Ultimately, Barcelona held on to climb up to fifth spot on the La Liga table and here, we shall be having a rundown of five talking points from the fixture.

#5 Barcelona pick up a much-needed victory

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Barcelona kicked off 2021 with a victory
Barcelona kicked off 2021 with a victory

With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid having already kicked off the year with wins, the onus was on Barcelona to come through in Aragon.

The Blaugrana had ended 2020 on a sour note, as they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by Eibar at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona's poor start to the season means they are already virtually out of the title race but they need to keep posting positive results if they want to keep their slim hopes of winning the Spanish top-flight intact.

Despite not playing at their fluid best, Barcelona held on for the win against Huesca and considering their current struggles, the three points would help ease some of the pressure on Ronald Koeman.

Up next for the Catalans will be a trip to the San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday and Barcelona fans would be hoping the club can keep the momentum going in 2021.

#4 Alvaro Fernandez brings his A-game to keep the scoreline respectable

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Alvaro Fernandez made a series of fine saves
Alvaro Fernandez made a series of fine saves

That the game ended in just a 1-0 defeat for Huesca owed much to the hosts' goalkeeper who was almost unplayable on the night.

22-year-old Alvaro Fernandez had started the season as a backup option to Andres Fernandez but he has since reclaimed his number one spot and his performance against Barcelona showed why.

He was unarguably the standout performer for the hosts and made a series of fine stops from Dembele and Messi to deny the visitors a second goal.

His standout save came from a Messi free-kick three minutes before half-time, where his sharp reflexes were on full display to tip the Argentine's effort over the bar.

The former Osasuna man also showed great anticipation to prevent Messi from pouncing on a loose backpass late in the match and despite ending the game on the losing side, Fernandez can take solace in what was a fine performance.

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Published 04 Jan 2021, 07:02 IST
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