Barcelona kicked off preseason with a 2-1 win against Juventus in a very entertaining match at MetLife Stadium. Ernesto Valverde used two different teams in the two halves of his managerial debut, and saw a spectacular Neymar secure the win in the first period. We saw plenty of positive signs from the team in this game, and even though preseason results don’t matter, the performance was quite good.
The Blaugrana had a very strong first period, dominating possession and pressing high up the pitch to force Juve into mistakes. Neymar and Lionel Messi were hungry for goals, and they constantly looked for each other to create dangerous chances. In two of those occasions, the two created goals: first, Messi passed it to Neymar who made a lovely one-two with Paco Alcácer and found the top left corner.
Then Messi assisted Neymar before the Brazilian went on a spectacular run through the defense to make it 2-0 for the Catalan giants. Barça kept pushing and got a few free-kicks that tested Gianluigi Buffon, but the score remained the same as the two teams went to the dressing rooms.
At halftime, Barça were in control and up two goals with a strong performance.
Juventus had a much stronger lineup than Barça in the final period, and the game was much closer than what we saw in the first half. The Blaugrana still had the possession and created good chances through Denis Suárez and Luis Suárez, but Juve became much more of a threat on the counter with Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Alex Sandro on the pitch.
The Bianconeri got an early goal with Giorgio Chiellini that made the rest of the game very interesting, but Barça managed to stay in front, confirm the victory and start preseason with a good performance. Encouraging signs.
Juventus: Buffon (Szczesny); Lichtsteiner (De Sciglio), Benatia (Mandragora), Barzagli (Chiellini), Asamoah (Alex Sandro); Khedira (Pjanic), Marchisio (Rincón); Sturaro (Cuadrado), Lemina (Dybala), Bentancur (Costa); Mandzukic (Higuaín)
Goal: Chiellini (62’)
Barcelona: Cillessen (Ortolá); Vidal (Semedo), Piqué (Marlon), Mascherano (Umtiti), Digne (Alba); Samper (Busquets), Rakitic (Roberto), Iniesta (Aleñà); Messi (Arda), Alcácer (Suárez), Neymar (Denis)
Goals: Neymar (15’, 26’)