After two thumping wins in a row, Ronald Koeman decided to go to Hungary with a weaker side. No Leo Messi, no Frenkie de Jong, no Marc-André Ter Stegen, and no Philippe Coutinho. Much like against Kyiv, the youngsters and fringe players had the chance to impress. And impress, they did.
The lineup was inch-perfect. Many stars got the well-deserved rest, and one man rose above all. Ousmane Dembélé dominated the Hungarians. He ran riot on the left and dictated the Catalans’ play. The Frenchman was involved in the first three goals. First, a quick sequence between him and Jordi Alba where he would send through the Spanish full-back on the edge of the area. Alba’s pass was perfect and landed on Antoine Griezmann’s foot. This is the 29-year-old’s fifth goal in seven matches.
Dembélé continued to be the gamemaster when his run, which ultimately ended in a great cross, made the second goal. The ball went across the area, and Martin Braithwaite, much like Griezmann had an easy finish. The Dane then won a penalty which Dembélé converted. A complete first-half performance by the Frenchman will put him in contention to start on the weekend.
Overall, this is the kind of performance Culés want to see from Koeman’s men. A professional job to surely confirm the top spot in the group.
First-half score: Ferencvaros 0-3 Barcelona
As Koeman made two changes at half-time, Barcelona did not score any more goals. The Catalans were not asleep, though. They tried to get a fourth, but their finishing was not there.
It was the Dembélé show. The Frenchman, who captained the side, had many mazy runs and could have ended the game with hat-tricks of goals and assists. The winger was sensational. He terrorised the Hungarians with his skills and pace—a vintage performance from one of the best players in the world currently.
Dembélé could have had an assist if Francisco Trincão had not missed a sitter. The Portuguese youngster had a below-par display and has to change many aspects of his game. Overall, Koeman made many changes, with Riqui Puig, Carles Aleñá and Konrad de la Fuente all getting an opportunity to shine. The youngsters all had decent cameos but nothing of note from them. Nonetheless, Puig could have had a goal if Dembélé’s pass was not too weak. The Spanish midfielder broke through the defence and gave the ball to his captain, who tried an altruistic pass.
Again, Koeman’s side did not lose their focus. Instead, they played 90 professional minutes and have basically qualified in the first place from a relatively easy group. Onto the Cadiz this weekend.
Full-time score: Ferencvaros 0-3 Barcelona
Botka, Blazic, Frimpong, Dvali, Heister;
Isael, Sigér, Somalia, Uzuni;
Substitutions: 64′ Lovrencsics – Heister, 64′ Laidouni – Sigér, 71′ Baturina – Uzuni, 71′ Mak – Nguen, 81′ Kharatin – Somalia
Dest, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba;
Trincao, Griezmann, Dembélé
Goals: 14′ Griezmann, 20′ Braithwaite, 28′ Dembélé (P)
Substitutions: 45′ De Jong – Busquets, 45′ Firpo – Alba, 65′ Alena – Lenglet, 65′ Puig – Griezmann, 80′ Konrad – Braithwaite
That brings an end to the Match Summary of the Ferencvaros 0-3 Barcelona game in the Champions League group stage matchday 5.
Barcelona 4-0 Athletic Bilbao: Match Review
A cup final has to be won. Barcelona and Athletic Club are the two clubs to have played the most Spanish Cup finals in history.
However, for the big occasion, one team was the most dominant. Barcelona kept the ball and ran riot on the Basque defence. The only aspect missing was the finishing, but the Catalans could be proud of their first-half display. The giants were so dominant that they had 82% of possession before the 40th-minute mark.
Marcelino’s men were nothing special apart from a few scares. The red and white outfit kept on defending their goal as if their lives depended on it. On the other hand, Barça could not crack the hermetic Basque backline, but Gerard Piqué tamed every attempt at a counter-attack Iñaki Williams tried to mount.
After a disappointing first-half display in El Clasico last weekend, Barcelona played some of their best football in the first half of the Cup final. Nonetheless, they still had to put their finishing boots on because the scare of getting beaten by an undeserved goal was too big.
Well, when Barça decided to lace their finishing boots, the game was over. The scoreline suggests the most inch-perfect of performances, and that’s precisely what Barça put on display for their fans.
Every player on the pitch put in a thorough performance and, in 12 minutes, the game was over. Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi were outstanding, much like Antoine Griezmann and Oscar Mingueza.
Along with the 6-1 demolition of Real Sociedad a month ago, this was perhaps the Catalans’ best performance of the season. What makes this performance better is that it came in a cup final, 721 days after Barcelona’s last trophy. This Spanish cup trophy is the result of months of serious work and beautiful emotions. Ronald Koeman deserves a lot of praise for what he has done with this Barça side.
5′ Sergio Busquets sends a beautiful chip towards Athletic’s area, and Lionel Messi connects with the ball. The Argentine finds Frenkie de Jong, but the Dutchman’s shot hits the post and Unai Simón before the Basque defence clears the ball.
47′ Lionel Messi kickstarts a counter-attack as Sergiño Dest is in acres of space. The American defender squares it to Antoine Griezmann, whose efforts end up in Unai Simón’s gloves.
52′ Barcelona play a short corner. Jordi Alba crosses the ball, and a deflection takes it towards Busquets. Unai Simón takes care of the holding midfielder’s effort.
59′ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-1 Barça: Oscar Mingueza intercepts an Iñaki Williams pass in the Blaugrana box. The youngster gets the ball to Messi. The captain spots Frenkie de Jong on the right who sends a great cross to Griezmann, who does not miss twice.
63′ GOAL’ Athletic Club 0-2 Barça: Barcelona play some great football at the edge of h
Their opponents’ area, and Alba sends another stupendous cross. Frenkie de Jong, after a brilliant run, heads in the ball and doubles the lead for his side.
68′ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-3 Barça: Messi goes on a beautiful run on the right and finds Frenkie de Jong. After a one-two, the midfielder finds his captain with little to no space. The captain does his usual magic and scores in the bottom corner.
71′ GOAL! Athletic Club 0-4 Barça: Pedri finds Alba, who plays the most inch-perfect one-two with Griezmann. The left-back’s backpass meets Messi. The Argentine legend finds the net at Unai Simón’s near post.
Man of the match: Frenkie de Jong
Of course, the leader of this demolition was the main man in midfield: Frenkie de Jong. The Dutchman’s first-half display was great, but it lacked the finishing touch, the end product.
After that, the 23-year-old took it upon himself to destroy Athletic and provided two assists while scoring one himself. This win does not come without a de Jong in the mood. The Blaugrana midfielder was everywhere in the second half, and he tortured a defence by being everywhere at any given time.
It is to no one’s surprise that Barça began being clinical when de Jong decided to play higher up the pitch and with more intensity. This Copa final was also de Jong’s most decisive in a Barça kit.