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Leganés 2-1 Barcelona, La Liga: Match Review

Recap of the action from Barcelona’s shocking loss to Leganes.

CD Leganes v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Barcelona one-upped their showing against Girona with a remarkable loss against Leganes. After leading for the majority of the first half, Nabil El Zhar and Oscar Rodriguez scored two goals in one minute in the secord to secure a shocking win.

Ernesto Valverdo rotated the lineup once again, this time Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez receiving some deserved rest. They were replaced by Thomas Vermaelen and Munir El Haddadi, both making their first La Liga appearance of the season.

Barcelona were looking to quickly get on the scoresheet, but a very defensively set-up Leganes side was able to deal with all attacks. The closest the Catalans came in the early going was in the 7th minute when Ousmane Dembele fired just wide of the near post from the left side. Barcelona’s attacks continued, but regardless of the Catalans’ early supremacy on the pitch, the goal they scored in the 12th minute came almost out of nowhere. Lionel Messi quickly burst through the midfield and found Coutinho 20-yards out. The Brazilian’s first touch was far from ideal, but the half-volley that followed was perfectly placed out of reach of Iván Cuéllar.

Five minutes later, Messi fired on goal from almost the exact same spot as Coutinho did, but the Argentine was aiming for the top corner. Unlike Coutinho, Messi wasn’t able to celebrate the goal as he was denied by the crossbar. Moments later the Barcelona captain had another chance, but this time his shot was right at Cuéllar.

For the first time in the game Leganes threatened in the 25th minute when after a long free kick and a poor clearance a redirected shot almost caught Marc-Andre ter Stegen flatfooted. The German was, however, able to make the save, but the hosts started to show some life in attack.

On the other side of the pitch, Barcelona showed very little as Leganes did exceptionally well in disrupting play. There was very little in terms of creativity to be seen from the Catalans who after the aforementioned two Messi 20-yard shot couldn’t get anywhere near Cuéllar. Leganes, meanwhile, created their best looking chance of the game in the 39th minute, but Youssef En-Nesyri’s header was right at ter Stegen.

The hosts were doing a very good job the entire first half not allowing an inch of free space through the middle, only leaving some space on the wings, but Barcelona showed no intent of attacking down the wings. Before the referee would end the largely uneventful first half, Leganes would get one last chance to tie the game, but ter Stegen stopped Oscar’s curling try with a panther like save.

The beginning of the second half didn’t bring about any substitutions. The Catalans quickly created two scoring chances, but the first was erased by a Munir offside, while Dembele had the ball stripped away at the last moment. Barcelona would have to pay for those missed opportunities in the 52nd minute as El Zhar escaped Thomas Vermaelen to get on the receiving end of a cross to tie the game at one. Just a minute later the hosts were in the lead. Gerard Pique made a boneheaded play to give the ball away inside the penalty area to Oscar who promptly beat ter Stegen.

With the hosts now holding an unlikely lead, manager Mauricio Pellegrino brought every single Leganes player inside 30-yards of Cuéllar, leaving no space for Barcelona to operate. With one hour of football in the books Ernesto Valverde brought on Luis Suarez in place of Munir. But the mediocrity continued even though Barcelona was playing with about as close to their best lineup as they could get, with only Alba missing – yet against the last placed team in La Liga the Catalans couldn’t create pretty much anything. Leganes, actually, remarkably often made Barcelona look foolish as the hosts managed to pin Barcelona deep even though they were clearly focused on defending.

With time running out, Valverde made his remaining two substitutions in the 71st minute, bringing on Alba in place of Vermaelen and Malcom in place of Dembele, but Barcelona’s struggles in attack continued because Leganes made it impossible to pass through the middle. And Leganes just continued to add to the congestion in midfield with a substitution in the 75th minute when Gerard Gumbau joined play.

Barcelona were attacking, but Leganes seemingly with ease defended everything. It wasn’t until the 80th minute when Barcelona actually threatened to score, but Cuéllar made two brilliant saves to keep his team in the lead, the first on Coutinho, the second on Ivan Rakitić. And the fact that Barcelona couldn’t create a single real opportunity in the time remaining should be testament enough how bad the Blaugrana were on this day.

Barcelona lost five point in three days, two against Girona at home and three against the last placed team in La Liga. There is simply no excuse for today’s embarrassment.

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