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La Liga: SD Eibar 0-2 FC Barcelona: Match Review

A recap of Barcelona's comfortable 2-0 La Liga victory over Eibar on Saturday evening, as Barça extended their lead at the top of the table courtesy of a brace from Lionel Messi

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

FC Barcelona were far from their best, but put in a thoroughly professional performance on Saturday evening in their first trip to Ipurua, where they defeated plucky little SD Eibar 2-0, courtesy of a brace from Lionel Messi. At times, Barcelona’s play was laboured and they created relatively few chances, especially in comparison to last week’s victory over Rayo Vallecano, but after Messi broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark, the result was never in question with the Argentine’s second – a diving header off an Ivan Rakitić corner – serving as the icing on the cake.






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With a crucial week ahead of him as FC Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique opted to rest a few key names before our back-to-back home stint against Manchester City and Real Madrid. Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Javier Mascherano all dropped to the bench, while Jordi Alba and Dani Alves also missed out through suspension. Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar on the other hand all started – ahead of an unorthodox midfield of Ivan Rakitić, Sergi Roberto and Rafinha Alcântara.

In some ways, this was a weakened Blaugrana team – but it was still a huge improvement on Eibar’s starting XI who were seemingly set-up in a defensive 5-3-2 formation. Would they be able to stop the Barça juggernaut, or would the Catalans extend their lead at the top of the table with a routine victory?


Barça started the match well; full of confidence after their emphatic win over Rayo Vallecano last weekend in which they returned to the top of the table, it took the Blaugrana less than 60 seconds to create their first chance. The movement of the front three was phenomenal and enabled Adriano Correia to drive to the byline on the overlap down the left-flank. The Brazilian’s first cross was low and directed towards Lionel Messi – but the Argentine’s effort was blocked and the loose ball again fell to Adriano on the wing.

This time, the veteran defender elected to play the ball in high – where Ivan Rakitić was waiting at the far post to try his luck with a header. The connection was good and he seemed to have directed it well only for Neymar to inadvertently get in the way and make a block.

To their credit, Eibar tried to respond in kind and venture forward in spite of their tactical setup and forced a couple of clearances from both Gerard Piqué and Marc Bartra – a helpful reminder that Barcelona were facing actual opposition. After all, so many Culés had been so confident of a win that they had all but ruled out Eibar causing any trouble – suggesting that the only way Barça could struggle is through their own complacency. Perhaps that was true to an extent, but Eibar remain a La Liga side and as such we couldn’t afford to write them off so readily.

In the opening stages, it was clear that Barcelona were the better side, but we weren’t exerting enough effort to translate that superiority onto the scoreboard. Indeed, it was much like the reverse fixture at the Camp Nou, in the sense that Barça weren’t all that impressive. There were glimpses though: Lionel Messi skipped past four or five challenges in a memorable run around the 20 minute mark, but after passing to Neymar, that chance amounted to nothing.

And therein lied the problem: the final pass was often lacking, which combined with a disciplined and focused Eibar defense, meant that chances were hard to come by. In fact, we nearly reached the half-hour mark without forcing a single save from Jaime Jimenez in the Eibar goal – we needed some urgency, some quality in the final third...

Step forward Barça’s fearsome attacking triumvirate.

Neymar pushed the tempo to drive by one challenge before handing the ball on to Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan, selfless as ever, drew in a defender and teed up Lionel Messi for a shot. Was it going in? Maybe, maybe not – all we knew for certain was that Messi’s effort was blocked by Borja Ekiza and the referee pointed to the spot, signalling that a penalty was imminent for handball.

Ekiza received a yellow card for his troubles and unlike last week, Messi only needed one try at this one, thumping his left-footed effort right into the corner of the Eibar net. A great penalty and Barça had their breakthrough.

At that stage, one might have expected Barcelona to push on and emphasis their advantage over a weaker Eibar outfit, yet for the remainder of the first-half at least, the match continued in a similar vein. Brief moments of brilliance, mainly from Lionel Messi, but still next to no chances on goal. At the interval, Jaime was yet to make a single save.

Then again, we were only 1-0 up at the break last weekend against Rayo Vallecano, and we all know how that ended. Would a similar fate await plucky little Eibar?


Not in the first instance, no. Unlike against Rayo, Barça couldn’t grab a quick-fire second goal to open the half although they did have a chance. Again, Lionel Messi was involved, threading a pass through the eye of a needle to find the run of Neymar, but the Brazilian’s cute effort on goal was saved well at a tight angle by Jaime.

Eibar didn’t hold out for too much longer though. After Luis Suarez’ backheel was diverted out of play for a corner kick, Ivan Rakitić stepped up to deliver a beautiful cross to find the unmarked Lionel Messi, who stooped low to connect with a diving header to send the ball across goal and into the far corner of the net. A superb goal from the magnificent Argentine, and with that second goal, Barça surely had the three points in the bag.

With an hour on the clock, Luis Enrique made his first substitution; Ivan Rakitić went off to a good ovation from the crowd to be replaced by Xavi Hernández, who received an even warmer reception as he made his 750th official appearance for FC Barcelona, a quite simply super-human feat, even by his legendary standards. The next switch saw Pedro Rodriguez enter the fray, replacing Neymar on the left-flank.

Barça were quite content to keep possession and effectively go through the motions. They were confident that the game was over, and weren’t looking to exert too much effort to simply add another couple of goals to their tally, what with a couple of difficult fixtures on the horizon.

A little dull to watch? Maybe, but I’ll take three points and dull ahead of two crucial matches any day of the week. Next up, Manchester City visit the Camp Nou, looking to turn around a 1-2 deficit and progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the very first time; until then, Visca el Barça!

Roll Call Info
Total comments 487
Total commenters 54
Commenter list 0nk0, Abdul95, Anders Thomassen, AngelCul1, Anirudh_Kul, Antonio Moreira, Artemis11, Barca Boy, BarcaBarca, BarcaLifer, BarcelonaCobayo1998, Bingiboy, Daxterflames, Delano Heerkens, DerkSensei, FCBMo, FCB_Z8, KiwiBarca, Lapulga, LocoZZZ, Louis_21, Midy286, NoImagination90, Piquénbauer, Pranav Balakrishnan, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Rajesh1101s, Ruy Diaz, Som-i-Serem, Sony13, Staralfur, ThreePar, ViscaViscaBarca, Willis1984, Z Ahmad, abdulla0207, askhanna, avyator, barca96, barca990127, craig00000, cule-since-1992, el_uruguayo, halsey, hobo_barca, llamas612, luck-ycoltsfan19, milesbarca, msalmanz, pranaydhone, shirishstha, shubham2806, sikandar.ahmadi, totaalvoetbal
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Artemis11 58
2 Ragnar_Lothbrok 29
3 craig00000 28
4 Delano Heerkens 24
5 Som-i-Serem 23
6 Anders Thomassen 19
7 Willis1984 18
8 Anirudh_Kul 17
9 Bingiboy 17
10 abdulla0207 15
11 hobo_barca 15
12 AngelCul1 14
13 shirishstha 14
14 Barca Boy 14
15 BarcaBarca 14
16 FCB_Z8 13
17 FCBMo 13
18 Ruy Diaz 13
19 luck-ycoltsfan19 11
20 KiwiBarca 10
21 llamas612 9
22 shubham2806 7
23 milesbarca 6
24 Z Ahmad 6
25 avyator 6
26 ViscaViscaBarca 5
27 barca990127 5
28 Sony13 5
29 totaalvoetbal 5
30 LocoZZZ 5
31 NoImagination90 4
32 halsey 4
33 Louis_21 4
34 Daxterflames 4
35 Staralfur 4
36 cule-since-1992 3
37 BarcelonaCobayo1998 2
38 barca96 2
39 Abdul95 2
40 BarcaLifer 2
41 Rajesh1101s 2
42 Antonio Moreira 2
43 Piquénbauer 2
44 el_uruguayo 2
45 ThreePar 1
46 Midy286 1
47 msalmanz 1
48 DerkSensei 1
49 Lapulga 1
50 askhanna 1
51 Pranav Balakrishnan 1
52 sikandar.ahmadi 1
53 0nk0 1
54 pranaydhone 1

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