Lionel Messi scored a free kick in the dying minutes as Barcelona completed a second-half comeback to defeat Alaves 2-1 at the Camp Nou.
Alaves gave Barcelona all they could handle but a late winner from Leo Messi meant that Catalans have again bagged three points from the match. The visitors were defending their lead well after John Guidetti’s goal handed them a one-goal lead but they failed to hang on as Luis Suarez leveled the score before Lionel Messi scored a stunning free kick.
Barça had a poor start to the game, passing the ball slowly and without any purpose which helped Alaves to settle into their positions. As a result of this Alaves threatened so often on the counter-attack and it was no surprise that the visitors scored a goal in the 23rd minute of the game.
However, the Catalan giants showed some real urgency in the second half and it clearly seemed that they will do anything to overturn the one-goal deficit. Just 27 minutes into the second half and Andres Iniesta plays a beautiful cross to Luis Suarez as he scores an equalizing goal and suddenly Barcelona looked set for a win.
A mere twelve minutes after Luis Suarez scored the equalizer, Barcelona received a free kick at the edge of the box. Lionel Messi is one of the best in the world at set-pieces and took the free kick, curling a perfect shot into the corner to put Barça in the clear for the win. Barcelona boss was full of praise for his players after the game, especially for his team’s captain Andres Iniesta.
In the post-match conference, Valverde said: “The truth is that we have good players who play in the interior role, but Iniesta is a master at that. I thought he could help us from there. It was important not to get too many of us in the Alaves box. It would have provoked counter-attacks.
For that, we needed players who move well in space like Leo and him. It was an extraordinary move and the goal let us breathe.”.
12 – Barcelona have won more points from losing positions than any other side in La Liga this season. Bravery. pic.twitter.com/Jb4YO9H1q2
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 28, 2018
Alaves saw late penalty appeals against Barcelona center-back Samuel Umtiti rejected and protested to the officials after full-time, although Valverde dismissed their complaints. When quizzed about the handball, Valverde said: “Apart from cutting off his hand, we couldn’t do anything. Sometimes the ball goes in and they don’t give it, other times this can happen.
They complained a lot about it. Umtiti told me it was not deliberate. There are always controversies – sometimes they hurt you and sometimes they help you.”
Philippe Coutinho began brightly on his full Barcelona debut, but Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde opted to replace Coutinho with Paco Alcacer and just six minutes later the Spanish league leaders equalized. After the win against Alaves, Barça now remains 11 points ahead of second-placed Atlético Madrid with 17 matches left in the league and are still unbeaten. Barcelona now next faces Valencia in the semifinals of Copa del Rey on Thursday.
In yesterday’s game against Alaves, Barcelona clearly showed the traits of being a champion as they overturned a one-goal deficit with just six minutes remaining in the game. The win restores Barca’s 11-point lead at the top of La Liga as they eyes to romp away with the league trophy this season.
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