Griezmann steps up to rescue Barca
Barcelona looked to be heading for an embarrassing Copa del Rey exit at Ibiza until Antoine Griezmann popped up with two late goals to spare the club’s blushes.
The visitors were lucky the game was not already out of sight by then. After scoring in the ninth minute Ibiza also had a goal ruled out and a shot against the post.
Griezmann was the only senior forward in a youthful attack but showed his quality by finishing the only two chances he was presented with during the match.
That cheer when Ibiza scored the opener against Barcelona— Goal (@goal) January 23, 2020
Griezmann ruined the party though pic.twitter.com/yzrb7qOmHV
The Frenchman admitted after the game his team had struggled to create chances and were still getting used to life under Quique Setien.
Barcelona continue to be linked with bringing in a new No. 9 in January, but Griezmann did a pretty good job in the role against Ibiza and now has 11 in 27 for Barca this season.
Tough night for Barca’s youngsters
Quique Setien named a pretty youthful XI for this game, as expected, including Riqui Puig, Carles Perez and Ansu Fati in his team at the Estadio Can Misses.
It was as a tough night for the youngsters too, who had to overcome committed opposition on an artificial pitch in heavy rain.
After a bright cameo against Granada at the weekend this was a bit of a reality check for Puig. The midfielder was caught napping for Ibiza’s goal, and although he showed plenty of intent he could not make things happen and was replaced by Arthur after 70 minutes.
Carles Perez found it especially tough going, while Ansu Fati did not stop running all night and was on the end of some heavy challenges. He’ll probably feel he should have been awarded a penalty late on after being clattered yet again.
There’s no doubt the trio have the quality to play for the first team, but their minutes will need to be carefully managed by Setien for the rest of the season.
Setien’s Barca lack a cutting edge
Setien was pretty brave with his line-up for this game, naming a three-man defence that included only one centre-back in Clement Lenglet. Sergio Roberto continued on the right, while Junior Firpo struggled on the left and everyone else wondered again why Jean-Clair Todibo is now at Schalke.
Anyway, Barcelona still went on to dominate possession once again, but just like against Granada they struggled to find an attacking threat. The visitors made 718 passes (72% possession) but managed just three shots on target.
The Spanish champions even had to wait until the 67th minute of the match to have their first effort on target, while they went on to score with their other two.
Setien said he didn’t like his team much after the match, while Sergi Roberto praised his team’s patience and said they were “faithful to our philosophy.”
Barca have now won two from two under Setien and the early signs are good, but the new manager must ensure his team add a cutting edge to all their possession.