‘Worst game of the season’ as leaders Barca stunned by Almeria

Home Main ‘Worst game of the season’ as leaders Barca stunned by Almeria
‘Worst game of the season’ as leaders Barca stunned by Almeria


Leader of La Liga Barcelona fell to a humiliating 1-0 defeat at Almeria on Sunday, failing to capitalize on Real Madrid and Atletico’s goals to extend their lead.

El Bilal Toure’s good first half split the teams and gave Almeria their first win over Barca, and only their second defeat of the league competition to the Catalans.

Xavi Hernandez’s team still has a seven-point lead over champions Madrid, but their momentum was further damaged after the Europa League tie with Manchester United.

Barca face Madrid in the Clasico Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday at the Santiago Bernabeu, and their weaknesses are starting to show.

A win over Almeria will extend their chances in the race to double digits, as they try to win La Liga for the first time since 2019, but they can’t take advantage of Madrid’s 1-1 draw. on Saturday against Atletico.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Los Blancos beat Barcelona in the league in October in their first defeat and Almeria ended their 13-match league unbeaten run afterwards.

“I’m very angry because I think we played our worst game of the season,” Xavi tell Movistar.

“Especially in the first half, we couldn’t move the ball around, we didn’t have the energy, speed, on a day we couldn’t interfere.

“We didn’t show the will (we needed) to win the game. In the second half, yes, but they defended well.”

Xavi, without the injury of the three Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati, was dangerous and rotated strongly, with Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Raphinha and Alejandro Balde dropped out.

The line of Barcelona has no creativity on paper and so it proved, as they struggled to create any chance of expression in the first half at the Power Horse Stadium.

The bottom side, who started the 19th season with just one win in their first eight league games, were on top in the first half and progressed to the strong finish by Toure.

The Mali international flicked a long ball into the path of striker Luis Suarez, before turning and charging forward at speed.

Suarez lifted a pass to Andreas Christensen and Toure ran onto it, whipping an effort past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and out for a cross.

It was just the eighth league goal Barcelona have conceded this season, keeping Ter Stegen from adding to his impressive tally of 17 clean sheets.

Xavi made a move at half-time, replacing the ineffective Franck Kessie with Raphinha, returning to a familiar 4-3-3.

The coach was booked in the second half for arguing, while Gavi and Raphinha also saw yellow cards, and all three are suspended for Valencia’s visit to the Camp Nou next Sunday.

Marcos Alonso did well to block a Suarez strike in the second half as Rubi’s Almeria looked to double their lead.

The hosts stopped La Liga’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski at the other end, with the Pole and his teammates unable to trouble Almeria goalkeeper Fernando Martinez.

Araujo’s defense threw Xavi into panic, he steered a header inches wide of the far post but that was as close as Barcelona would come.

Ter Stegen made a good save to deny Adrian Embarba on the counter and Almeria defended valiantly to see out an impressive victory.

“We tried everything,” added Xavi. “They defended well, we had chances from crosses but nobody was clear – it wasn’t a good day for us.”

Almeria rose to 15th, two points in front of the relegation zone, and the Catalan coach Rubi recorded his first victory against Barcelona.

“The best team in the league came to us, they were first, and we were able to block them, using the opportunity we had,” Rubi told Movistar.

“We worked hard, worked, worked and didn’t leave a chance.”


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