It did not take the Catalonians long to get on the board. A great pass out left flank to Jordi Alba brought Hugo well off his line. Alba passed it to Coutinho, who fired the ball into the open net passed diving defenders to make it 1-0 just two minutes into the match.
Spurs looked rattled for the next few minutes but settled into the match, turning the press on and finding themselves in the attacking third on several occasions. Some of them were stamped out by offside calls while others were just missing that last pass, specifically Lucas’ run into the penalty area that he attempted to pass back but couldn’t find Kane or Lamela.
Barcelona turned it on in the 27th minute after a terrible giveaway by Davinson Sanchez. After a blocked Lionel Messi shot bounced out of the penalty area, Ivan Rakitic buried a 20 yard side volley off of the post into the net to make it 2-0 Barcelona.
Spurs came back not long after on the counter attack. Lucas led the attack from the middle and fed Lamela on the left side. Whether or not Lamela was shooting is up for debate, but Ter Stegen didn’t take a chance and blocked the attempt, finally managing to cover the ball to end the chance just as Lucas was coming in to try and get the goal.
While it seemed Spurs had some moments of possession in the first half, there was only one actual shot on target, and that was a Kane attempt from about 25 yards out. That and the numerous offside calls about summarized the frustration of the first half for the North Londoners.
Barcelona opened up the second half picking up right where they left off, breaking free on a counter with Messi and Coutinho. Messi made a little deke and came free, shooting past a diving Lloris but only finding the woodwork to end the chance, keeping the match at 2-0.
Spurs managed to pull their attack together after Messi bonked another one off of the woodwork, firing quickly on the counter attack. A lovely set of passing between Lucas and Lamela freed up Kane on the left flank. A couple of dribbles and pull back later, Kane fired into the far side netting, beating Ter Stegen to make it 2-1.
The celebration would be short lived, though. Just four minutes after Kane’s goal, Barcelona went on the attack down the left flank. Jordi Alba beat Trippier and fired a low cross into the penalty area. The pass went behind Coutinho and headed for Suarez, who dummied a shot, leaving Messi wide open for a shot. Third time was the charm this half for Messi as there was no woodwork to stop the shot. 3-1 Barcelona with a little over half an hour to play.
Give Spurs credit: They could have rolled up into a ball and quit. They didn’t, especially not the attacking front. Kane managed to pick Jordi Alba’s pocket deep in the attacking third and found Sonny at the top of the penalty area. A little pass to Erik Lamela, who has been fantastic as of late, curled a shot that took a slight deflection but managed to find the back of the net, making it 3-2 with over 20 minutes left.
As if this crazy match couldn’t get any weirder, the next ten minutes were played at a wild pace. It saw Sissoko send a ball into the stratosphere, followed by Ben Davies saying “hold my beer” and doing nearly the same thing while Eric Dier attempted to remove Luis Suarez’s head from his body with a back elbow.
Spurs had chances in the final twenty, but could not find the equalizer. The best chance was Lucas making something out of nothing and taking a rip from 15 yards out, only to be blocked and the ensuing corner kicks leading to nothing. In the end, a poor turnover and read by Sissoko and Trippier led to Messi being one on one with Lloris. The Argentine took his time and slotted it into the corner, effectively ending the match.
Thoughts on the Match
- I don’t know if I’ve seen a more up and down match from Spurs. That was quite the roller coaster.
- The midfield, for the most part, got run over today. Especially in the first half. Adjustments helped in the second half but things didn’t click.
- I was worried about both Trippier and Davies in this match and, unfortunately, that fear came to be. Trips had a rough one and while Davies was okay, he really didn’t do anything of note.
- Someone send me an alert when Sissoko’s ball comes out of orbit.
- On the flip side, our attacking band refused to die. Erik Lamela literally ran himself into the ground. Here’s hoping that it was just cramps and being out of energy that caused him to leave.
- Lucas was bright in attack and had a couple of chances that could have easily been goals.
- Kane’s goal was vintage Kane. It was good to see him pull one of his standard moves and score.
- Inter Milan beat PSV, meaning that Barcelona and Inter sit on top of the group with six points each while we share the basement with PSV. Needless to say, the PSV matches are must wins.