Sunday saw FC Barcelona travel down to the Community of Valencia to face Villarreal at the Madrigal stadium for their second league match of the season.
With Iniesta out of action, Messi wore the captain’s armband and right from the start went on the offensive. However, the Villarreal defence remained tight and prevented the Catalans from scoring, with the home side coming close to going ahead themselves at the 25 minute mark. However, the first half ended the way it had started.
Back on after the break and Luis Enrique gave Neymar his opportunity in response to the hosts upping their attack on the Barça goal. However, it was only when Barça B player Sandro Ramírez came on that the Catalans were able to score at the 81st minute to give Barcelona a narrow victory to earn three points.
0-1 Sandro Ramírez (min 81)
Messi and Munir helped FC Barcelona to their first win of the new season after facing Elche at the Nou Camp last night. The match was also the first league match for the club under Luis Enrique.
With high possession throughout, Barcelona controlled the game but despite some good efforts by Munir and Iniesta, it was not until the last five minutes of the first half that Lionel Messi finally opened the scoring. Immediately after the visitors created their own opportunity and although Mascherano stopped the attack, he earned himself a red card for doing so.
Back on after the break with one man down, Barcelona continued the pressure, which was quickly rewarded with a goal by new boy Munir; as a product of La Masia he cost the club nothing in transfer fees and is able to play. And after another quarter of an hour and the match was sealed, with another superb effort by Messi.
While Elche is hardly the toughest team Barcelona will play they at least started off the new season showing how they can play.
1-0 Messi (min 41)
2-0 Munir (min 46)
3-0 Messi (min 63)
Messi opened the scoring for FC Barcelona last night when the Catalans played their first home match under Luis Enrique and the new look Barça was officially introduced.
With many locals away on holiday, the stadium was rather empty and many in the crowd tourists. However, that didn’t stop Barça from putting in a show for everyone who attended. As well as the Messi opener, Neymar scored two and Munir, up from Barça B scored two more. The final goal of the match was scored by Sandro Ramírez just a couple of minutes from the end,
The match also marked the debut of Luis Suarez, controversially signed after biting a player during the World Cup in Brazil. While he can play in friendly matches, his suspension will see him out of action for the start of the season. He had better do more than he did last night to justify the amount spent on him though.
1-0 Messi (min 2)
2-0 Neymar (min 11)
3-0 Neymar (min 43)
4-0 Munir (min 53)
5-0 Munir (min 76)
6-0 Sandro Ramírez (min 88)
After playing Napoli in Geneva last Wednessday, when they lost by a single goal, FC Barcelona headed for Finland on Saturday to face Helsinki in their last summer friendly before heading back home to play Club Leon in the Gamper Trophy.
This match could not have been more different, with Barça scoring three times within the first quarter hour, and made it four before the break.
Back on for the second half Barcelona kept up the pressure and scored two more to end the match 6-0.
0-1 Munir (min 4)
0-2 Sergi Roberto (min 8)
0-3 Munir (min 16)
0-4 Piqué (min 23)
0-5 Bartr (min 48)
0-6 Sandro Ramírez (min 81)
Last night FC Barcelona played SSC Napoli in another summer friendly played in Geneva. It also marked the first loss under Luis Enrique, after a goal from Napoli 10 minutes from the end.
Obviously it is far too early to draw any conclusions, and the focus must be on the start of the league later this month n
After spending last week training in England, FC Barcelona travelled to Nice for their second summer friendly.
With 10 starting players from the first team squad and just a single B team player, Barça demonstrated their usual high possession and showed what we might expect of them in the forthcoming season.
All the same, it was Nice that scored the opener from the penalty spot after a foul by Pique, but despite a number of opportunities the Catalans failed to score.
Luis Enrique made seven changes after the break, but it was not until the visitors were awarded a penalty kick that Xavi put the ball in the back of the net. In the end the score remained level at 1-1.
FC Barcelona played their first ever match under Luis Enrique on Saturday, when they faced Recreativo de Huelva in the Colombino Trophy. The tournament is an invitation match to celebrate Recreativo as the oldest surviving football club in Spain, having been founded in 1889.
Playing a squad composed of mainly B-team players, Barcelona dominated the match and is common with these friendlies, all 22 players called up for the match were able to participate, including new signing new goalkeeper Ter Stegen.
Joan Román scored the only goal of the match 20 minutes into the second half, while Ter Stegen was barely tested in goal.
0-1 Joan Román (min 65)
Spain’s opening match in the 2014 World Cup against Holland turned into an unmitigated disaster, when the reigning champions were defeated 5-1.
Seven Barça players were on the pitch last night and as this article on the BBC points out, none of Real Madrid’s attackers is Spanish while just one player from current la liga champions, Atletico Madrid, took part.
The squad is also mature, with seven players over thirty and it may be that the current Spanish squad is just too old to compete at the level required to get anywhere near good enough to lift the World Cup trophy for the second time in succession.
It all came down to the last match of the season. Few titles are decided in such a dramatic fashion, with the only two teams to remain in contention for the league title squaring up for the last match of the season and while a win for Barça would earn them the title, any other result was failure.
Atletico Madrid has been Barcelona’s main competition throughout the season and while Real Madrid showed some ambition for the title late on, their chances were dashed with a number of poor results. In fact both Barça and Atletico too suffered from the same thing and after a start to the season that was exceptional, both suffered points drops in the second half that really should not have occurred.
The visitors were unlucky to lose to men to injury early on, when first Diego Costa and then Arda Turan limped off the pitch within a few minutes of each other but despite high possession for the Catalans, the visitors held their nerve and made sure Barça had few options.
The opener was scored by Alexis 32 minutes in, with a goal set up by Cesc and Messi to be volleyed by Alexis into the Atletico net. The goal hardly seemed like it had happened and it took a moment for many Barça fans to believe their eyes.
Back on after the break with Barcelona ahead Atletico still looking sharp and quick to counter-attack. The equaliser came five minutes into the second half from a corner, when Godin headed the ball beyond the reach of Pinto, who looked to react a fraction too late. It looked like Barcelona had taken the lead again when Messi put the goal into the back of the net and for a moment the hopes of the crowd soared before it was clear that the goal had been ruled offside.
The final minutes saw both teams looking tense and as the minutes ticked down in extra time it could only take a miracle for Barcelona to win the match. When the final whistle blew it was over for another year for FC Barcelona as Atletico Madrid took the title.
1-0 Alexis (min 32)
1-1 Godín (min 50)
A Barcelona side comprised mainly of B and youth squad players beat Girona last night in the semi-final of the Copa de Catalunya.
The match saw Barcelona, playing away at Montilivi stadium, open the scoring thanks to Babunski , with Girona equalising to end the first half 1-1.
Cuenca put Barça ahead again 20 minutes into the second half, with Chando again equalising just two minutes later. But Ilie scored the winning goal for FC Barcelona to put them through to the final, to be played on 21st May against Espanyol.
0-1 Babunski (min 18)
1-1 Chando (min 34)
1-2 Cuenca (p) (min 65)
2-2 Chando (min 67)
2-3 Ilie (min 77)