Saturday, January 28, 2023

Dembélé takes Barça to the semifinals against a Real with ten

The most colorful and decisive version of Ousmane Dembele short-circuited Real Sociedad’s plan at Spotify Camp Nou (1-0), who played more than half a game in inferiority by the expulsion of Brais Mendezand propelled Barcelona to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.

The Barça team, which completed a notable first half, he had enough with a whiplash from the ‘mosquito’ in the 52nd minute and ended up asking for the time in a vibrant duel. In the closing stages of the match, Marc-André ter Stegen saved the equalizer for the Basque team on two occasions.

The Camp Nou continues to be a cursed stadium for Real, which chains almost 32 years without conquering the Barça fiefdom. In the 31st match without winning in Barcelona, ​​the ‘mosquito’ ended the hopes of the txuri urdin team, who, despite the disappointment of the defeat, ended the match with their heads held high.

Xavi promised a great game at the press conference. And his team fulfilled the promise in the first half. The same eleven players came out who already shone against Real Madrid (3-1) in the final of the Spanish Super Cup. And the Barça of the four midfielders -De Jong, Busquets, Gavi and Pedri- liked it again. The Egarense coach did not even give the alternative to Iñaki Peña in the alternative, starter in the first two qualifiers.

Ter Stegen, decisive in the second half, was placed under the sticks, but in the first 45 minutes he gave a magisterial lesson on how to overcome the pressure of Real Sociedad with precise movements looking for the free man. So some of the clear arrivals of his team arrived in the first half, with a devilish Dembélé on the right wing.

The always unpredictable French striker was a gazelle down the right flank. His fast dribbles and precise touches at first touch drove the Basque defense crazyespecially the left-back Diego Rico, but the Barça players started the game with wet gunpowder.

An individual drive from midfield by the protagonist of the match ended with a slightly deflected shot from the edge of the area. The Frenchman reappeared shortly after to invent himself an inside pass to Frenkie de Jong that did not find a goal.

Before, they annulled Lewandowski, who was reunited with the referee who sent him off against Osasuna in the League, a goal for clear offside by Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman, in an advanced position, touched the ball before he entered the goal.

Despite the Barça dominance, La Real, true to its style, did not give up the ball and he found his best man in the subsidiary midfielder Pablo Marín to braid arrivals at Ter Stegen’s goal. From his boots came the play that ended with a left-footed shot from Take Kubo spat off the crossbar.

The shot from the Japanese was the best chance for Imanol Alguacial’s team before the duel, electrifying and colorful up to that moment, was entangled by the expulsion of Brais Méndez (min.41).

The midfielder, who Jesús Gil Manzano had already threatened to reprimand in a previous attack on Lewandowski, arrived at the wrong time in an incident with Sergio Busquets who was given a template in the ankle area. The VAR notified the referee, who at first had shown him the yellow card, and finally decided to expel him with direct red.

The game was complicated for the txuri urdin team who, with an inferiority, gave up pressing Barcelona and chose to look for their options through direct football. He moved the bench at the restart Imanol Alguacil, who brought on Ander Barranetxea for Oyarzabal and took Diego Rico out of the gameDembélé’s victim in the first half.

But not even Aihen Muñoz could stop the ‘mosquito’, who won a race into space at minute 52, activated sixth gear and, when Remiro thought he would assist Lewandowski, a powerful whiplash was invented that ended up in the net.

The goal relaxed Barça, a recurring scenario in recent games. And the Basque team did not hesitate to take advantage of it. Barca’s dominance with the ball evaporated and their rival, even in inferiority, put the Barca defense in trouble.

Real touched the tie with a very clear opportunity from Sorloth. The Norwegian giant missed only inside the six-yard box after a precise assist from Kubo.

After ten minutes of nap, Barça returned to recover the intensity. The ball circulated fluidly again and Dembélé’s mischief appeared again on the right wing. A cross from the main actor of the game was picked up by Gavi inside the area, but the crossbar prevented the Andalusian from scoring.

Barcelona did not close the match and Real advanced the lines in the last minutes looking for a tie. Robert Navarro had it in the 87th minute, who did not know how to take advantage of a bad ball output from Ter Stegen, who avoided the goal with his right hand. In the rejection, Carlos Fernández did not find a goala. In the penultimate play of the match, the German goalkeeper parried another powerful shot from Olasagasti.

Barça is three games away from lifting the Cup thanks to the rhythm of Dembélé and the iron solidity of Ter Stegen.

Data sheet:

1 – FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Koundé, Araujo, Christensen (Marcos Alonso, min. 90+1), Balde (Raphinha, min.78); Sergio Busquets, Pedri (Kessie, min.77), Frenkie de Jong; Dembélé (Ansu Fati, min.84), Lewandowski and Gavi.

0 – Royal Society: I remir; Elustondo, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Rico (Aihen Muñoz, min.46); Zubimendi, Brais Méndez, Pablo Marín (Olasagasti, min.78); Oyarzabal (Barrenetxea, min.46), Take Kubo (Robert Navarro, min.78) and Sorloth (Carlos Fernández, min.87).

Goals: 1-0, min.52: Dembele.

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (extremadura committee). He sent off Brais Méndez (min.41). He admonished Busquets (min.56), Pedri (min.59), Zubimendi (min.65).

Incidents: Match of the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey played at the Camp Nou in front of 59,610 spectators. Before the match, the Barcelona women’s volleyball team offered the title of the Princess Cup.

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