Barça 2 Internacional 2 (Barça win 4-2 on penalties)

Our preseason continued in Germany tonight with a penalty shoot-out win over the Brazilian team Internacional from Porto Alegre. This is all part of Bayern Munich’s summer tournament, the Audi Cup. We will now take part in tomorrow’s final against the winners of AC Milan and Bayern Munich. Having failed to score in Saturday’s match at Hajduk Split it was good to see us find the net tonight thanks to Thiago Alcantara and Johnathan dos Santos, though the performance of Juan Manuel Pinto whose mistakes twice let Internacional back in the game will cause some concern and will perhaps reopen the debate about his ability to cover for Valdés.

Despite beginning the game with only three players who started at Wembley we soon found a good rhythm. It really is very impressive to see how well the players understand their roles as it doesn’t seem to matter who plays we always have the key ingredients to Barça’s style: a fast movement of the ball and intense pressurizing when we lose the ball. Thiago and Iniesta had been the players most in form in Croatia and today the combined well in the first half to dominate midfield. the only problem was a slight lack of punch up front though Ibi Afellay forced three saves from their keeper, one of these a spoectacular fingertips save that turned the ball onto the post. At the back we looked very comfortable Marti Riverola who normally plays in midfield did a good job at right back while  Busquets partnered Fontas in the middle though Busquets was forced into a yellow card when he could find no other was of stopping D’Alessandro just before half time. Our first half dominance was rewarded with a goal after just 14 minutes. Isaac Cuenca was fouled 35 yards out. Iniesta played the free kick hard and low to Busquets who touched it first time off to Thiago who controlled before slotting the ball home.

We did not change the entire team at half time but Villa, Pedro and Jeffren came on to give us more clout going forward, however, with Iniesta going off we did not connect so well with the front line. Pinto’s pantomime began in the 55th minute but to be fair the first mistake was not so serious, Fontas played the forward onside and Pinto was forced to rush out. he only succeeded in clearing as far as Nei who swept the ball back past Pinto and the desperate lunge of Balliu on the line.

Things were looking more complicated now. Busquets and Thiago came off to be replaced by Armando and Carlos Carmona and it was Carmona who five minutes later slipped a neat pass through to dos Santos who turned will before picking his spot inside the far post. However, with five minutes remaining Pinto decided to get up to more of his antics, this time trying to be too clever dribbling the ball out before gifting the ball straight to the forward. Eric Abidal performed heroics to clear the ball off the line but it was to no avail as Damioa scored fr9om the resulting corner. Fortunately for Pinto two internacional players blasted their penalties high and we scored through Villa, Dos Santos, Carmona and Armando though Jeffren’s weak pen was easily saved.

I’ve said before that I worry about Pinto as back-up to Valdés. True, he does make some excellent saves sometimes but I feel if Valdés ever has a long injury we are going to pay for it dearly.

Tonight’s team. Valdés (Pinto h/t), Riverola (Balliu h/t), Busquets (Armando m58), Fontas (Rosell m64), Maxwell (Abidal h/t); Thiago (Carmona m58), Keita (Javi Espinosa m64), Iniesta (Dos Santos h/t); Cuenca (Pedro h/t), Soriano (Villa h/t), Afellay (Jeffren h/t)..

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8 Responses to Barça 2 Internacional 2 (Barça win 4-2 on penalties)

  1. Caleb says:

    Yes. Pinto is super scary. And Iniesta was amazing in the first half. He seems to be in outstanding form.

  2. Edward says:

    I wasn’t able to watch the match, can someone comment on how JDS looked? What is everyone’s sense about him? I have heard that his contract expires at the end of the season. Do you think we should re-sign and promote, or sell him? Opinions? Certainly, we shouldn’t just let his contract expire and let him leave on a free…

    If we were to promote him we would certainly have more prostitutes following the team around!

  3. Canuck Cule says:

    JDS was decent. His finish was just in time but it worked and he’s always had a decent touch.

    I really wish Sergi and Delofeau were around for this little tournament. But they will be around for many more so no rush, just a little selfish. (gerard is killing it for spain)

    Iniesta and his crew cut looks ready to get started. Ibi and Thiago would be 2 players most teams in europe would build around. We have such luxuries.

    I really feel this year could be even more special than last or even the treble season. Players are always better their second year on the team so I expect Villa to be a real star this year. Last year he had a little hot streak and a huge cold streak. This year I see him winning more than a few games on his own for us. And if Cesc comes, which is always on our mind…we could have two world class midfields.

    Let’s just Get to August 17th already! Forget the first leg…lol

  4. barcacentralomer says:

    Nic, I hate to sound like a ‘I told you so’ but I have been saying for a while now that we need to start working on Valdes’s understudy both as a backup in case of injuries/suspensions and as a potential successor in the long term. This could be one of the youth team prospects like Mino, Oier or some other young keeper in La Liga.

    • barcacentralnic says:

      The problem is to find someone. De Gea went to Man United because he’s going to get first team football, we can’t offer that. There aren’t many keepers who would want to come. Madrid have the same problem to find a second keeper, the solution is nearly always to find an older keeper who doesn’t need to play so much as he already has the experience.

      • barcacentralomer says:

        If we can’t get youngsters from other clubs then why don’t we give some playing time to the youth team players [Mino, Oier etc.] in the Copa fixtures/ friendlies.

        Not related to our topic directly but, I understand Villarreal have two promising young keepers [Juan Carlos and Diego Marino] who have no chance of breaking into the top 2 at the Yellow Submarines No 1 spot at present, so if they are going to warm the bench I’d suppose they’d rather do it at Barca then Villarreal.

        • barcacentralnic says:

          Neither of the two keepers you mention will be benchwarming, Diego Marino will probably play for Villarreal B in the second division, while I understand Juan Carlos has been loaned out to Elche. This is the point, young goalkeepers need to play (Oier and Miño seem to alternate for Barça B), not sit on a bench. The ideal for a substitute goalkeeper is one who already has the experience. It’s just difficult to find somebody who would improve on Pinto.

          • barcacentralomer says:

            Point taken about the Villarreal duo but I find it a bit hard to understand that the only keeper who we can find to deputise for Valdes is Pinto. I mean he’s a good keeper but surely for a club like Barca that at present is the benchmark for other clubs, needs to have a better No 2 than Pinto. Why cant Mino or Oier can’t be a regular in the relatively less significant fixtures like the Copa instead of Pinto who is never going to be our regular No 1 anyway. If De Gea and Casillas can break into their club sides in their teens/earlly 20s then then these two [assuming the coaching staff think they can go all the way] should at least be given time in the Copa matches and the meaningless friendlies during the summer. Or maybe these two aren’t considered good enough to be our future No 1.

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