BARCELONA – FC Barcelona will face a harrowing job at Istanbul’s turbulent stadium in a week. With a score of 0-0 at Camp Nou in their eighth Europa League final, the team is facing a tough time against current number 12 (!) Turkey. Frenkie de Jong hit the post fifteen minutes from the end. Bara’s fans managed to call on Luuk de Jong, but he didn’t get a chance for more than ten minutes.
Xavi started the game without veterans Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets and top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was brought on during the winter break, was also allowed to watch. As a result, Memphis Depay was allowed to re-start for the first time since he picked up an injury on January 12, after two appearances (and his goals) against Athletic Club and Elche. Not from his favorite striker position, but in a free role from the left wing. Ferran Torres takes the lead. If one thing should have become clear to Xavi again, it is that the €55m winter signing is not a striker. Although his manager at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, regularly uses him with success as a number 9.
It was recognized before the start of the second half. In the first 45 minutes, Turkey, with Ryan Babel of Holland and Patrick van Aanholt at base, were the most dangerous. Thousands of Turks on the Camp Nou ridge, who had been partying in the city center that afternoon, went wild when Kerem Akturkoglu missed Sergiño Dest in the 36th minute. The left winger shoots into the far corner, but the ball lands on the roof of the net.
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A minute earlier, Memphis was shown a yellow card for a foul two feet from behind. It sounded much worse than it was, as the Orange international realized well in time that he was on a hopeless attempt and had stopped before he hit his opponent. French referee Benoit Bastien estimated that being ‘Catalan’ was the most dangerous in the first half. Memphis came close to scoring in the 27th minute, but his free-kick was saved by goalkeeper Iñaki Peña, who is on loan from Barcelona this season. The same Peña did this again four minutes before the break, when Memphis looked for a far corner from the left.
The Orange striker was allowed to start the second half as a number 9. Torres had to make way for Ousmane Dembele. Busquets and Pique beat Nico Gonzalez and Ronald Araujo. After an hour of play, Memphis had to make way for Aubameyang, soon after a fiery shot crossed the Dutchman’s net. Memphis is slowly being refitted this way. Moments earlier, a header from Busquets was parried and shortly after the entry of ‘Auba’ Jordi Alba crossed in just wide to the right.
Chances are piling up for Barça, who have one more change up their sleeve. Camp Nou shouted ‘Luuk’, as Luuk de Jong started to warm up. Shortly after Frenkie de Jong’s shot was parried, which played for ninety minutes, just like right-back Dest. Babel was substituted at Galatasaray, after an invisible duel with a defenseless Turkey, midway through the second half. Shortly after, shots from Adama Traoré and Dembélé ended up in the stands.
riding a bicycle
Frenkie de Jong hit the post 15 minutes from time when substitute Aubameyang’s overhead kick landed in his left foot. Three minutes later, the crowd at Camp Nou was heartbroken as substitute and former France international Bafetimbi Gomis ran and faced Barca goalkeeper Ter Stegen. And scored. It appeared to be 0-1, but seconds later the goal was ruled out for offside.
Then it was Luuk de Jong’s turn who had been sung when he replaced him. The calls for ‘Luuk’ grew louder and in ten minutes before the time came. The Dutchman came into line to cheer loudly. With every pass you can feel hope, but De Jong doesn’t get a useable ball.
Atalanta – Bayer Leverkusen 3-2
Atalanta Bergamo started with three Dutch players at home against Leverkusen. Teun Koopmeiners, Marten de Roon and Hans Hateboer take on two of their compatriots: Jeremie Frimpong and Mitchel Bakker. The last two players immediately cheered as Charles Aranguiz gave Germany the lead in the 11th minute.
Almost fifteen minutes later, Italy had taken the lead. Ukraine’s Ruslan Malinovsky scored through a pass from Colombian Luis Muriel. Two minutes later it was just the opposite. Shortly after halftime, Muriel changed the score to 3-1. Leverkusen back to 3-2 through Moussa Diaby. Frimpong diga
a late stop by compatriot Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Rangers FC – Belgrade Red Star 3-0
Scottish Rangers, coached by Giovanni van Bronckhorst, won 3-0 against Red Star Belgrade
James Tavernier (from a penalty) and Alfredo Morelos put Scotland 2-0 up after fifteen minutes. Leon Balogun made it 3-0 five minutes after the break.