New coach, same story! Barcelona pick up just ONE point from their last nine as they are held to a draw by Alaves at home with almost 60,000 empty Nou Camp seats!
- Barcelona suffered further frustration as they were held to a draw by Alaves
- Memphis Depay opened the scoring but Luis Rioja levelled three minutes later
- Interim coach Sergi Barjuan took charge after Ronald Koeman’s departure
Barcelona made it one point from their last nine with a 1-1 draw with Alaves. It was a case of new coach same story at the Camp Nou.
If new manager-in-waiting Xavi was watching he would have had the size of the task he faces reinforced. There were sparks of brilliance from teenage midfielders Gavi and Nico but, infront of just 39,737 spectators, it was grim once more.
With interim coach Sergi Barjuan having neither the resources or the inclination to change too much it was predictable that things would go as they have gone all season.
Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves in the first game since Ronald Koeman’s departure
Memphis Depay celebrates his goal but Barcelona’s lead lasted for just three minutes
Depay showed good composure to open the scoring for Barcelona in the 49th minute
As well as the two points dropped Barcelona lost Gerard Pique to what looked like a muscle injury in the second half and striker Sergio Aguero was taken to hospital for test after he went down holding his chest towards the end of the first period.
Memphis got the first goal with a curling shot from outside the area. He stuck his fingers in his ears to celebrate. Somewhere Koeman no doubt had his head in his hands. Memphis was his signing last summer. It was Memphis who gave the ball away in the Clasico as Real Madrid took the lead. It was Memphis who missed the penalty that finally sunk the Dutch coach last week away to Rayo Vallecano. Now here he was waving his right foot like a magic wand and putting the ball into the top corner.
Luis Rioja scored the equaliser for Alaves, who managed to take a point at the Nou Camp
The delighted Alaves players celebrate after Rioja scored the equaliser against Barcelona
Interim coach Sergi Barjuan, who coaches the club’s B team, took charge of Barcelona
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Mingueza (Ezzalzouli 80), Pique (Lenglet 70), Garcia, Alba, Gonzalez (Balde 80), Busquets, Gavi (Puig 70), Dest, Aguero (Coutinho 41), Depay
Subs: Neto, Demir, Sanz, Umtiti, Pena, L. De Jong
Goal: Depay 49
Alaves: Sivera, Navarro (Aguirregabiria 20), Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte, Loum, Pons (Pina 62), Moya (Manu Garcia 80), Mendez (Pellestri 62), Joselu (Sylla 80), Rioja
Subs: Owono, Miazga, Garcia, Martin, Guidetti, Lopez, Rodriguez
Goal: Rioja 52
Booked: Sivera, Duarte
The lead lasted three minutes and the goal that got Alaves level was just as good. Rioja slalomed through the heart of Barcelona’s defence with a dribble that incorporated a quick exchange of passes with Joselu. Nico, Sergio Busquets, Sergino Dest, Pique and Marc Andre ter Stegen could not stop the run and shot and Alaves were level.
Coutinho had been quiet since coming on for Aguero but he drew a brilliant save from Antonio Sivera. The Alaves keeper was in the team for the injured first choice Fernando Pacheco and had already pulled off one brilliant save from Eric Garcia in the first half.
The goal was Alaves’ first shot on target and that made his the fifth game in which Barcelona had conceded from the first of their opponents efforts on target.
As Barça went for the win they brought on 19-year-old Abdessamad Ezzalzouli ahead of Luuk de Jong. Barcelona will move the former Newcastle striker on in January if they can. The substitute was an immediate threat winning a foul on the edge of the area but Coutinho floated it over.
Barcelona were without the option of moving Pique forward. The defender had been taken off with 20 minutes left nursing what looked like a muscle injury that will now put his participation in Tuesday’s vital Champions League in doubt.
There was further frustration for Barcelona, with defender Gerard Pique going off injured
Sergio Aguero was taken to hospital for tests after the striker went down holding his chest
Coutinho went for goal again but as he shot sailed high over Sivera’s bar and that provoked whistles from the sparse crowd.
It was another game Barcelona should have won but after Gabi had dribbled through the centre of Alaves’ defence and teed-up Memphis his shot came back off the post.
Memphis had had another chance to win when this time Nico flipped the ball over the top of the Alaves defence but the Dutch striker could only draw another brilliant save from Sivera.
There were a few tame whistles on the final whistle but the crowd had thinned in the three minutes of injury time. The attendance was lower than for the Champions League game against Bayern when only 40 per cent capacity was permitted. Things go from bad to worse and Xavi’s arrival can’t come soon enough for supporters who now see the side struggling to finish in the top four.