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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Barcelona’s struggles continue despite Memphis Depay strike

Barcelona began life without Ronald Koeman with a frustrating 1-1 draw against Alaves at the Camp Nou.

The visitors held on at times but took their chance when it mattered and fully deserved their point in front of a sparse crowd in the Catalan capital.

Sergio Aguero was in from the start as interim boss Sergi Barjuan went for a mix of youth and experience with his first-team selection.

It was a tough night for him with an early end; after shooting wide from distance just after the 20-minute mark, he was forced off with an innocuous-looking injury just before the break.

Barcelona, who sacked Koeman last week, dominated the ball for long spells and were able to get round the Alaves defence consistently, but there weren’t many clear cut chances created.

Memphis Depay was a threat from the left, and he cut inside to sting the palms of Antonio Sivera from distance, but it didn’t get much better than that for the hosts before the break.

At the other end, Alaves attacks were few and far between, but they arguably should have gone ahead when winger Edgar Mendes headed wide from a perfectly-weighted free-kick.

The second half exploded into life. First, Depay curled the opener in from the edge of the area four minutes in, before Alaves hit back moments later to restore parity moments later.

Depay had two golden opportunities to put Barcelona ahead again soon after. Gavi unlocked the visiting defence before the Dutchman’s chipped effort came back off the post, and then Sivera outwitted him one on one.

But as the game went on, the Dutchman went missing, and his dimmed spark summed up what was a tough night for his side.

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