Barcelona lost for the first time this preseason and were thoroughly dominated by Red Bull Salzburg who won 2-1 but could have scored six or seven against a truly awful Barça defense. Ronald Koeman’s side was overwhelmed by a physical and intense Salzburg team, and with La Liga starting a week from Sunday the Blaugrana have some serious issues and not a lot of time to solve them.
If you’re a neutral, the first half was absolutely amazing. Both teams attacked and looked wide open at the back, and there were great chances for the two sides. But from a Barça point of view, apart from the good attacking moments whenever Memphis Depay was involved, the Blaugrana were just a mess.
Ronald Koeman went back to the 3-5-2 formation with Frenkie De Jong at the back, and it simply did not work and Barça conceded one counter attack after another. If not for Noah Okafor’s laughably bad finishing, Salzburg should have been up at least three goals in the first half, but they settled for one thanks to a shot from Sucic that deflected off De Jong for the opener.
Barça’s best chance came on a gorgeous spin move by Memphis, but he just missed the target. At the half, the game was fun but Barça looked bad and needed to get better in the second half.
If Barça’s defense was terrible in the first half but showed good things in attack, the second half was just bad at everything. The backline was somehow worse, and the midfield kept losing the ball in dangerous positions to give Salzburg chance after chance. Ronald Araujo needed to make a couple of great blocks, and Okaford kept missing to somehow keep the score at 1-0.
Barça finally improved somewhat with a batch of substitutions halfway through the period the period, with Alejandro Balde and Yusuf Demir bringing the energy and skill off the bench. The Blaugrana started looking dangerous, and got the equalizer when a shot from Sergiño Dest ricocheted off a Salzburg defender and hit Martin Braithwaite before going in.
Salzburg really wanted to win and threw everything forward in the final minutes, and they were rewarded when Adamu hit the post but Aaronson was all alone to score a tap-in on the rebound. It was the last kick of the game, and the final whistle came to give Salzburg a win they absolutely deserved.
Barça were terrible all game and deserved to lose, and they play Juventus on Sunday in the last preseason friendly. La Liga starts in 10 days, and Barça don’t look ready at all.
Salzburg: Mantl; Ludewig, Onguéné, Wöber, Ulmer; Capaldo, Camara, Bernede; Sucic; Okafor, Adeyemi
Goals: Sucic (43’), Aaronson (90’)
Barcelona: Neto; Araujo (Comas 63’), De Jong (Manaj 84’), Lenglet (Umtiti 72’); Dest, Nico (Roberto 63’), Busquets (Braithwaite 63’), Gavi (Puig 72’), Alba (Balde 63’); Griezmann (Demir 72’), Memphis
Goal: Braithwaite (82’)