An impotent Barça in the first game after the dismissal of Ronald Koeman was not able to beat Alavés, who took a point from a Camp Nou with only 37,278 spectators after Luis Rioja will manage to equal the great goal of Memphis Depay who opened the scoring at the start of the second half.
Sergi Barjuan, the interim coach of the Catalans, put aside the revolutions and even continued betting on Sergiño Dest as a right winger despite his enmity with the goal. The most relevant novelty regarding the last games, forced by the multiple casualties, was to see from the beginning the very young interior couple Nico González-Gavi, who barely reaches 36 years in total.
The left wing was Barça’s great weapon in the early stages of the match, with a very active Memphis Depay, which at times recovered part of the freshness shown at the beginning of the season, and a Jordi Alba who managed to easily reach the bottom line unfortunately for Joaquín ‘Ximo’ Navarro who, as if that were not enough, ended up replaced by injury before from the equator of the first half.
Barça had the intention of showing, although without luck, that a different reality is possible with another ideologue on the bench. Meanwhile, the chosen one, Xavi Hernández, added another triumph this Saturday with Al Sadd while waiting to solve the contractual problems to leave the Qatari club.
But the first chance to score did not come until the 17th minute, when a hyperactive Eric García hit a header that Antonio Sivera, substitute for the injured Fernando Pacheco, cleared ‘in extremis’. For its part, Alavés, robust in defense, did not manage to disturb Marc-André Ter Stegen until half an hour with another header. Edgar Méndez’s attempt went very far from the Barça goal.
This action gave air to the Vitoria team, which managed to get rid for the first time of the hitherto constant, although sterile, attack by Barça. And the party fell asleep as the break loomed.
Before it comes, Sergio Aguero gave a scare to the Camp Nou by stretching on the floor after showing symptoms of dizziness. The Argentine walked away from the field and was transferred to a hospital to undergo medical examinations.
The lost magic returned to the feet of Memphis and as soon as the second half began, in the 49th, his right foot invented a shot in the form of a parable that embedded itself in Sivera’s left square. The Camp Nou was released and the Dutchman celebrated with his characteristic gesture of covering his ears.
But the Barça joy only lasted three minutes. Those who took Luis Rioja to pierce the center of Barça’s defense, very soft, with an individual play in which he leaned on Joselu before dribbling to Ter Stegen and scoring an empty goal.
The visiting goal enraged those of Barjuan, who overcame the blow at first and they had two very clear occasions at the feet of Memphis to make the second goal. In the first Gavi assisted him and the ball crashed into the right post after slamming it over Sivera and, in the second, it was Nico González who left him alone before the visiting goalkeeper, who repelled the ball.
Both Gerard Piqué and Edgar Méndez left the field with muscle discomfort and, copying the first half, the rhythm of the game declined to the detriment of Barça interests. Barjuan’s last letter was to admit Alejandro Balde and debutant Ez Abde 10 minutes from the end. They brought energy and daring, but the result no longer moved.
1- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (Balde, min. 80), Eric García, Piqué (Lenglet, min. 70), Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Nico González (Ez Abde, min. 80), Gavi (Riqui Puig, min. 70); Dest, Memphis and Agüero (Coutinho, min. 41).
1 – Alaves: Sivera; Navarro (Martín, min. 21), Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte; Moya (Manu García, min. 80), Loum, Pere Pons (Tomás Pina, min. 62); Edgar (Pellistri, min. 62), Rioja and Joselu (Sylla, min. 80).
Goals: 1-0: Memphis Depay, min. 49. 1-1: Luis Rioja, min. 52.
Referee: Jorge Figueroa Vázquez (Andalusian Committee). He admonished Antonio Sivera (min. 45 + 5) and Rubén Duarte (min. 82) for Alavés.
Incidents: Match corresponding to matchday 12 of LaLiga Santander played at the Camp Nou before 37,278 spectators.