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HomeLa LigaThree red cards, no goals: Barcelona lose in their opener

Three red cards, no goals: Barcelona lose in their opener

FC Barcelona could not get beyond a 0-0 draw against a robust FC Getafe. Raphinha and Xavi saw red for the Catalans, Mata was shown the red card for the Azulones. Then, deep into injury time, the VAR had to intervene.

FC Barcelona’s league opener was an away clash with Getafe FC – a clash that has given the Catalans little joy in the recent past. The last time Barça met at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez was in 2019, and since then the result has been a 0:1 and two nil.

José Bordalas’ line-up made it clear that the hosts’ approach against the Catalans this season would again be defensive. With Djené, Alvarez, Duarte, Mitrovic, Iglesias and Damian, there were six nominal defenders in the first eleven.

For FC Barcelona, Xavi relied on the two newcomers Gündogan and Oriol Romeu in midfield alongside De Jong. While the latter played defensively, the German international found himself in half-left attacking midfield alongside Pedri. Lewandowski played the nine, Raphinha kept the right wing. Defensively, Araujo took over the vacant right-back role alongside Koundé, Christensen and the attacking Baldé.

Barça in early luck

Early in the game, Gündogan had the first chance, but did not get the ball into the net after a cross from Raphinha – who was also offside (2.). Shortly afterwards, however, Barcelona were in luck when Latasa got away from the defence but, under slight pressure from Koundé in front of goal, made an aerial hole in a promising position (4th).

Afterwards, the Azulones concentrated on destroying the Catalans’ game as much as possible. In addition to a tough approach in the duels, there were also repeated fouls off the ball. Initially, this had the effect that Barça could hardly develop offensively. Oriol Romeu had the best chance from a distance (26th). It was also dangerous after a shot by Raphinha, which Soria parried. The ball bounced off Mitrovic’s leg and from there against the post (36th).

Elbow strike by Raphinha

Shortly afterwards, Raphinha made life much more difficult for his team. The winger allowed himself to be provoked by the home side’s rough handling to such an extent that he elbowed Alvarez and was sent off with a red card (42nd minute).

In the second half, Xavi sacrificed centre-back Christensen and brought on winger Abde, who was preferred to Ferran Torres and Fati. De Jong dropped into central defence alongside Koundé. Barça remained in control of the game even when they were shorthanded, although the home side tried a more attacking approach with a four-man instead of a five-man backline. Abde approached on the volley (53rd) but missed.

Mata puts on ten-on-ten, Xavi also flies

However, the second-half deficit did not last long. In the 57th minute, Mata was clearly too late in a duel with the advanced Araujo and consequently received his second yellow card of the game – and suddenly it was ten-against-ten. Shortly afterwards, Lewandowski made his first appearance, but failed with his header against defender Alvarez (62nd).

Then referee Soto Grado drew the third red card. Xavi called for a free kick on the touchline, including a red card against Djené, after Abde went down in a one-on-one with him on his way to goal. The free kick was not awarded, but the coach was sent to the stands (71st).

Barça tried it in the final phase with the very young players. Yamal, Gavi and Fati came into the game and started against a deep standing Getafe. Abde failed to hit the outside of the net (74th) and Fati put the ball over the crossbar after Yamal’s cross (80th), but there was not much more to come.

Low in injury time, things get turbulent

However, it came to a highly dramatic climax deep into injury time. First, Araujo was hit in the penalty area. However, the video evidence discovered a handball by Gavi beforehand, which is why there was no penalty kick (90.+14). In the direct counterattack, Getafe counterattacked: First, Gavi blocked a shot by Portu in great difficulty, then Lozano missed a free corner kick from five metres (90.+15). Only then was it over.

This is the fourth time in a row that FC Barcelona have failed to score a goal of their own in Getafe and they have suffered their first setback in the league. The Azulones are at Girona next Sunday (17.30). FC Barcelona then host FC Cadiz at the Olympic Stadium at 7.30 pm, the alternative venue while the Camp Nou at home is being rebuilt.

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