Teamwork makes the dream work

Participant rankings as Lopez brace evokes snug win

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Barcelona have strengthened their grip on second place in La Liga due to a 2-0 win over already relegated Almeria on Thursday evening.

Xavi’s facet had been soundly crushed by Girona firstly of the month however have now gained back-to-back video games since, coupled with their Catalan neighbours struggling one thing of a mini collapse. All in all, it means the hole again to third-place Girona is now 4 factors with two video games left.

Fermin Lopez scored each objectives, one in both half, to underline his rising significance.

How the sport unfolded

As was to be anticipated, Barcelona loved management of the ball from the earliest phases of the competition in Andalusia. Robert Lewandowski had a shot saved with a couple of minutes of kick-off, whereas the Pole quickly despatched a shot over the bar when by way of on aim and attempting to lob goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

The aim was a product of that early dominance, with Lopez arriving unmarked within the field to nod in from close-range the in-swinging cross from 17-year-old left-back Hector Fort.

Almeria hadn’t accomplished a lot to check Marc-Andre ter Stegen within the opening quarter of the sport, however they spurned an excellent likelihood to equalise when Leo Baptistao went clear after a swift counter assault and one way or the other missed the goal altogether.

Ter Stegen did have to avoid wasting from Anthony Lozano shortly afterwards, earlier than Barca’s dominance was restored and Lamine Yamal hit the submit from a slim angle. But Almeria returned the favour and struck the woodwork on the different within the closing phases of the half, Adri Embarda denied.

When the second half started, Lozano might hardly imagine he had pulled an excellent likelihood from the center of the penalty space broad of the submit. However neither facet have been capable of make a lot in the best way of precise probabilities till Lopez doubled his tally and Barcelona’s lead with 1 / 4 of the sport to go.

Sergi Roberto’s dart ahead into the left channel made it doable, reducing the ball to the onrushing Lopez simply arriving within the field. His sweeping first-time end was unstoppable because it flew in.

The two-0 benefit prompted Xavi to make a raft of adjustments, withdrawing Robert Lewandowski (once more) for one, and moments later giving Vitor Roque his first minutes in a month.

Barca substitute Joao Felix most likely might have made it 3-0 when the ball fortuitously broke to him within the field. He managed to show underneath stress whereas nonetheless maintaining possession however snatched on the eventual close-range shot, inflicting it to hit the facet netting as a substitute of testing Maximiano.

Hector Fort impressed

Hector Fort impressed / High quality Sport Photos/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Largely a spectator.

RB: Jules Kounde – 7/10 – Strong defensive efficiency. Managed to get ahead too.

CB: Pau Cubarsi – 6/10 – Extra essential first-team expertise.

CB: Inigo Martinez – 7/10 – Performed an enormous function in progressing the ball into attackng areas.

LB: Hector Fort – 8/10 – Gave an awesome account of himself, managed the ball properly and obtained an help.

CM: Fermin Lopez – 9/10 – Absolutely justified the supervisor’s resolution to revive him to the beginning XI with two very properly taken objectives.

CM: Sergi Roberto (c) – 7/10 – Got here into the facet rather than the suspended Ilkay Gundogan. Arrange the second aim shortly earlier than coming off in discomfort after an earlier collision.

CM: Pedri – 7/10 – Saved the ball properly and was all the time in search of the gaps to use with passes.

RW: Lamine Yamal – 7/10 – An excellent supply of creativity on the fitting, though why Xavi is insisting that he begins each sport forward of what’s more likely to be a busy summer season is questionable.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – 4/10 – Disappointing evening that ended with minimal involvement and one other early withdrawal.

LW: Ferran Torres – 6/10 – Made a few half probabilities and fired a shot of his personal simply broad.

Substitutes

SUB: Andreas Christensen (69′ for Roberto) – 6/10

SUB: Joao Felix (69′ for Lewandowski) – 6/10

SUB: Vitor Roque (73′ for Torres) – 5/10

SUB: Joao Cancelo (73′ for Fort) – 6/10

SUB: Oriol Romeu (83′ for Pedri) – 6/10

Subs not used: Diego Kochen (GK), Inaki Pena (GK), Marcos Alonso, Marc Casado, Raphinha.

Supervisor

Xavi – 7/10 – This wasn’t the most effective efficiency from Barcelona, however the boss made respectable use of his squad general. It seems like he may be sending a message to Lewandowski forward of subsequent season.

Participant of the match – Fermin Lopez (Barcelona)

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