In a friendly match for a good cause, FC Barcelona and Manchester City drew in front of more than 90,000 spectators at the Camp Nou. From goalkeeping errors and beautiful combinations to penalties, the match had a lot to offer.
For Barça, newcomer Lewandowski was only on the bench for the time being, as was keeper ter Stegen. Newcomer Koundé, who is still not eligible to play in the Spanish league, started in central defence.
The Citizens also spared some regular players like Haaland, de Bruyne and Cancelo (all bench). Keeper Ortega Moreno, who had moved to Manchester from Arminia Bielefeld in the summer, made his starting debut.
The Catalans started strongly and created two good chances in the early stages, which Aubameyang missed with a header (3rd) and Kessié from distance (5th). Against the early pressing home side, City found it difficult to play their usually dominant possession football. Therefore, scoring chances were scarce at the beginning.
Alvarez takes advantage of Inaki Pena’s slip-up
Despite this, Pep Guardiola’s team took the lead after just under 20 minutes – with a great deal of help from ter Stegen’s substitute Inaki Pena: the keeper made a mistake with a cross, so that Alvarez only had to slot into the empty net (21st). But the lead didn’t last long: Aubameyang equalised less than ten minutes later with a direct shot into the net (29th). Both teams had a good tempo and played lively forward – even if not everything succeeded due to the many changes.
The second half continued to be entertaining. Both the Catalans and the Citizens showed gaps in the defence, which is why both sides repeatedly had high-calibre scoring opportunities: De Jong scored after an unusual ball loss by de Bruyne to make it 2-1 for Barça (66th), before Palmer equalised for Manchester a little later after a beautiful move (70th).
Mahrez answers Depay in injury time
About ten minutes from time, Depay fired the home side back into the lead (79th) after Sergi Roberto’s introduction, but City had the final say just before the end: Mahrez took responsibility for a penalty in stoppage time – Christensen had brought down Haaland with a slight contact earlier – and scored confidently for a 3-3 final score (90th +9th).
The proceeds of the friendly match were donated to support research into the nerve disease ALS. Nevertheless, there was a negative aftertaste: Mbete had to be treated on the head for a long time after an unfortunate collision with Christensen (87th) and finally had to be transported off the pitch.