Life goes on at the Camp Nou without Ronald Koeman

Luis Rioja beat Ter Stegen to score the equalizer three minutes after the 1-0 draw. | TONI ALBIR / EFE

An impotent Barça in the first game after the dismissal of Ronald Koeman was not able to prevail in the Alabès, which took a point from a Camp Nou with only 37,278 spectators after Luis Rioja managed to equalize the great goal from Memphis Depay that opened the scoring at the start of the second half.

Sergi Barjuan made his debut on the bench. | EUROPA PRESS

Sergi Barjuan, Barça’s interim coach, put aside the revolutions and even continued to bet on Dest as a right winger despite his enmity with the goal. The most important novelty with respect to the last parties, forced by the multiple casualties, was to see from the beginning the very young pair of interiors Nico González-Gavi. The left wing was Barça’s great weapon in the early stages, with a very active Memphis, which at times regained some of the freshness shown at the start of the season, and an Alba that managed to easily reach the bottom line.

The first goal opportunity did not come until the 17th minute, when a hyperactive Eric García hit a header that Sivera saved ‘in extremis’. For his part, Alabès, robust in defense, failed to unsettle Ter Stegen until half an hour with another header. Edgar Méndez’s attempt was deflected. Before the half, Agüero gave a fright at the Camp Nou by lying on the ground after showing symptoms of dizziness. The Argentine walked away from the camp and was taken to a hospital for medical examinations.

The lost magic returned to Memphis’ feet and just beginning the second half his right foot invented a parabolic-shaped shot that was embedded in Sivera’s left squadron. The Camp Nou was liberated and the Dutchman celebrated it with his characteristic gesture of covering his ears.

But Barça’s joy lasted only three minutes. It took Luis Rioja to punch the center of Barça’s defense, very soft, with an individual play in which he supported Joselu before dribbling Ter Stegen and scoring on an empty net. The visiting goal angered Barjuan, who overcame the blow at first and had two very clear chances at the foot of Memphis to make the second point. In the first Gavi assisted and the ball crashed into the right post after poking it over Sivera and in the second, it was Nico González who left him alone in front of the visiting goalkeeper, who repelled the pilot.

Both Gerard Piqué and Edgar Méndez left the pitch with muscle problems and, copying the first half, the pace of play slowed to the detriment of Barça’s interests. Barjuan’s last card was to give way to Alejandro Balde and rookie Ez Abde 10 minutes from the end. They brought energy and audacity, but the result no longer moved. The tie leaves a very worrying balance of only one point from the last nine possible for Barça.



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