Match Reviews

Barcelona 8-2 Huesca, La Liga: Match Review

Barcelona absolutely annihilated Huesca in the historic first La Liga meeting between two sides. Led by Lionel Messi, with a pair of goals and assists, and Luis Suarez, also with a brace but “just” one assist, the hosts put eight past the Huesca goalkeeper. Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitić, Jordi Alba and Jorge Pulido (OG) also scored for Barcelona. Cucho Hernández, who started the goal parade, and Alex Gallar scored for the visitors.

While it was widely expected that Barcelona would run over Huesca from the opening whistle, just two minutes it, the visitors made the hosts pay for some lax defending. Samuele Longo received the cross on the left side and headed on goal. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was already preparing for what would’ve been a fairly simple save, but Hernández redirected the ball just in front to score the opener.

Barcelona looked to respond quickly, but even though Huesca didn’t defend with numbers, the Catalans struggled to create scoring opportunities – though that would change as the game went on. Huesca on the other hand looked very dangerous whenever crossing the midfield line, which they did quite often early on the counter attack. Barcelona didn’t create their first decent chance until the 14th minute when Luis Suarez dribbled nicely inside the area before sending a perfect ball across goal for what would’ve been an easy tap in had it not been cleared the last second.

Two minutes later, the game was tied at one. Barcelona were combining brilliantly on the edge of the area with the ball moving quickly between Alba, Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Rakitić before reaching Messi on the right side. With a lightning quick first-step, Messi shedding his marker to move deeper into the area before powering a right footed shot just under a diving blocker and in-off the far post.

Barcelona’s press continued and Huesca were being pushed deep into their own half. In the 19th minute, Rakitić thundered a shot on target from 30-yards out, but Axel Werner made an excellent save. Even though Huesca were often pinned back, the visitors remained dangerous as they were not afraid to commit players to the counter attack, and ter Stegen had to be on his game to make a save in the 21st.

While Huesca looked to remain dangerous, Barcelona were by far the superior side. And they were rewarded for their superiority in the 25th minute with Alba doing most of the heavy lifting. The snubbed Spanish international received the ball deep inside the area from Dembele, before making his way even deeper. Running out of real-estate, Alba attempted a back pass in front of goal, but Pulido intercepted the ball. But to Barcelona’s good fortunes, the interception was poor and the ball trickled across the goal-line for the own-goal.

The attacking effort from the hosts continued and just four minutes later, Dembele came within inches of adding another golazo to his name, but his left-footed drive skimmed off the crossbar. The attacks continued to come and Huesca were barely hanging on. With five minutes left to play, Barcelona doubled their lead with Suarez finally finding the back of the net. The goal was reviewed by VAR as Alba, who assisted on the goal, was very close to being offside, but the video referee confirmed the goal.

The scoring in the first half would not stop there though, however, against the run of play, Huesca halved Barcelona’s lead through Gallar who for some reason was left uncovered a couple yards in front of ter Stegen, who had no chance to make the save. Barcelona almost restored the two goal lead in the 44th minute, but Werner made a strong save. Surprisingly with no added time the exciting first half was brought to an end.

However, the excitement returned quickly after the restart. First, Messi hit the crossbar after a powerful shot from the right side just barely redirected off the goalkeeper into the frame. Huesca countered with an attack of their own but ter Stegen went untested. In the 48th minute, however, Dembele restored the two-goal lead after a lovely through pass from Suarez. Dembele received the ball in stride and even though he was under pressure sent a perfect shot into the back of the net off the far post.

Barcelona had no intention of stopping there and just two minute later Suarez was sent through. From a very similar spot that Dembele scored moments earlier the Uruguayan could not finish, as Werner made a good save. In the 52nd minute, Werner would have no chance. The hosts were again combining beautifully in and around the penalty area before Messi sent a stunning over the top ball to Rakitić who found the net with a half-volley.

Just five minutes later, it appeared the Catalans would add their sixth as Coutinho was played through on goal, but was denied one-on-one by the Argentine in goal. Huesca were defeated even though there were still 30 minutes left to play – but the goal-fest was not over. After a rare second half Huesca attack, Barcelona went from ter Stegen to the sixth goal within seconds. The Barcelona goalkeeper passed the ball forward to Coutinho who after a couple steps sent Messi alone on goal with a lovely long pass. One-on-one with Werner, Messi made no mistake, scoring his second of the game.

In the 65 minute, Ernesto Valverde brought on Clement Lenglet in place of Samuel Umtiti for his Barcelona La Liga debut. Valverde would make his second substitution in the 71st minute as Arturo Vidal replaced Rakitić. Moments later, Arthur took the place of Sergio Busquets to complete the trio of substitutions.

With the game decided, play suffered but Barcelona were still looking to create scoring chances, though with less frequency. In the 78th minute, Messi came close to completing the hat-trick, but his free kick missed the target. While the Argentine didn’t score on that occasion, he did pick up an assist three minutes later. Dembele led Barcelona on the counter attack and found Vidal on the edge of the area. After a bit of pinball, Messi received the ball and found the rushing Alba on the left side, who calmly finished the play off for the seventh of the match.

It appeared the score would not change again, but in added time, with Gerard Pique leading the counter, Suarez was in the end brought down in the area for a penalty kick. Messi, even though he was on a hat-trick, gave to ball to the Uruguayan, who calmly sent the ball to Werner’s left side to complete the scoring. With the win Barcelona went top of the table with a perfect record, though tied with Real Madrid. League football will now go on break as international football will take center stage with Barcelona returning to action on September 15.

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