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August 15, 2019 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily

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12

Thursday, August 15, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
SPORTS

F.C. Barcelona cruises to a 4-0 victory against S.S.C Napoli

It took 47 minutes for the
floodgates to open Saturday
evening.
Over the course of 15 minutes
early in the second half, F.C.
Barcelona
rattled
off
four
straight goals to power its way to
a 4-0 victory over S.S.C. Napoli.
The
two
European
clubs
squared off in front of a heavily
pro-Barcelona crowd of 60,043.
It
was
small
by
Michigan
Stadium standards, especially in
light of its soccer history.
In 2014, The Big House set
the record for the biggest crowd
ever at an international soccer
match in the United States,
attracting 109,318 fans when
Manchester United took on Real
Madrid. Saturday was the fourth
international soccer game that
has been played at Michigan
Stadium since 2014, drawing the
lowest attendance of the four.
“In the first half we were

very dominant,” said Barcelona
coach Ernesto Valverde through
a translator. “We were unable
to score, but the game was
ours from our point of view.
Overall, we had a good game.
In the second half we were also
dominant, but the game opened
up a little more and we were able
to pressure and score.”
Barcelona is known for is
possessive style of play, and
it was on full display against
Napoli. The Spanish side held
possession for 58 percent of
the match, completing over 91
percent of its pass attempts.
When it didn’t have possession,
Barcelona’s defensive pressure
often prevented Napoli from
working into its attacking third.
Barcelona
forward
Luis
Suarez opened up scoring in
the 48th minute off a rebound
after Napoli goalkeeper Alex
Meret saved Barcelona forward
Antoine Griezmann’s one-on-
one
opportunity.
He
added
another goal 10 minutes later

which put his side up 3-0.
Newly signed forward Antoine
Griezmann also notched his first
goal for Barcelona in the 56th
minute after making his club
debut in late July. He finished
on a cross from defender Jordi
Alba inside the six-yard box for
an easy tap-in score.
Forward Ousmane Dembélé
added the fourth and final goal
in the 63rd minute. Midfielder
Frenkie De Jong, Barcelona’s
other high-profile signing this
summer, found Dembélé with
space on the right wing. He cut
inside towards the top of the
18-yard box and finished past an
outstretched Meret.
What started off looking like
a stalemate through 47 minutes
quickly
became
a
decisive
victory for Barcelona.
“I think we played well in the
first half,” De Jong said. “We
didn’t score as many goals, but
most of the time in the first half
you build it up and in the second
half you finish it.”

JORGE CAZARES
Summer Managing Sports Editor

New talent put on display in final tune-up match for F.C Barcelona

Two out of four potential
trophies made their way home to
Catalonia last season. That did
not stop a wave of disappointment
and criticism from engulfing FC
Barcelona this summer.
The reality is that winning
only two out of four trophies last
season is a letdown for a club
that has won 74 domestic and
20 international trophies in its
storied history. Despite winning
La Liga and the Supercopa de
España, the team still entered
the offseason with a bitter taste
in its mouth.
Barcelona
blew
a
3-0
aggregate lead to Liverpool in
the Champions League semifinal
— allowing four goals in the
second leg at Anfield— and lost
2-1 to Valencia in the Copa Del
Rey final. Both trophies were
seemingly in their grasp but
slipped away.
This summer, the Spanish side
made two big splashes on the
transfer market, acquiring a pair
of superstars in French forward
Antione Griezmann and Dutch
midfielder Frenkie De Jong.

Now, more than ever, Barcelona
fans expect results.
“It’s the last game of the
pre-league and we’re going to
have to show what we’re doing
this year and hopefully show
how things will end up in the
league,” Valverde
said
through
a
translator.
“We’re
not
going to deceive
ourselves;
the
manager
of
Barcelona
is
always
the
one
who
is
asked
these
questions
and people always
have
to
think
about when we
lose more than when we win. So,
we have to be ready to answer
those questions. And I’m always
the person who needs to be open
to speaking about our defeats.
We are in the situation where
we have to win as many games
as possible, and if there are
criticisms now for a certain game
or something that happened in
the past, those are going to be
criticisms, but my job is to make
sure that we’re winning going

forward.”
In
Saturday’s
match,
the
two new additions started and
received ample playing time.
Griezmann netted his first goal
for Barcelona in the second
half after missing a quality
opportunity
to
score from inside
the six-yard box in
the early minutes
of the game. De
Jong
dominated
the
midfield

facilitating play in
the middle of the
pitch and rarely
making a mistake.
The
club
fared well, even
without forward
Lionel Messi, winning easily
against last season’s Serie A
runner-up. And both De Jong and
Griezmann figure to be featured
regularly in the starting 11.
Though Saturday’s exhibition
match was exactly that — an
exhibition — it marked the
last tune up for the Spanish
champions and the final chance
for the newcomers to integrate
into the lineup before league
play begins.

JORGE CAZARES
Summer Managing Sports Editor

ALEXANDRIA POMPEI/Daily
Forward Antoine Griezmann scored his first goal for F.C. Barcelona for a 3-0 lead.

ALEXANDRIA POMPEI/Daily
Forwards Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez scored a combine three goals in win.

It’s the last
game of the
pre-leauge.

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