Pre-season friendly: Hamburg SV vs FC Barcelona, Or, Tito’s Debut, Muniesa’s MisfortuneBy: Ade C. | July 25th, 2012
Barça pre-season “not really a tour, more like a few friendlies scattered here and there” kicked off yesterday with a match against Hamburg SV which saw Tito Vilanova take on the mantle of coach for the first time. Barça won 1-2, with goals by Dani “I have something to prove” Alves and Gerard “I show off too much for my age” Deulofeu
(this is the highlights video from Barça’s official YouTube channel, as you can tell by the… unique music choice)
The first half was fun, as Tito trotted out all first-teamers available, plus the best from Barça B: Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, JDS, Espinosa, Sergi Roberto, Afellay, Deulofeu and Alexis. The team clicked well and, within four minutes, Dani Alves had put Barça ahead and they settled in for a game of HAVE ALL THE POSSESSION, as usual; HSV found the equaliser soon through Arslan (a nice goal, though Pinto could’ve done better), but it was definitely Barça’s match and Deulofeu confirmed it scoring on the rebound from nice a Ibi Afellay shot.
In the second half, Tito subbed out everyone but Pinto and Sergi Roberto, and Barça B came out to play; the line-up was: Pinto, Balliu, Sergi Gómez, Muniesa, Planas, Patric, Ilie, Sergi Roberto, Joan Roman, Rafinha and Lobato. Unfortunately, within 15 minutes, tragedy struck: Muniesa’s knee betrayed him and he had to be subbed out with is now confirmed to be an ACL tear that will see him out for SIX months; you have to feel for the little guy, who has had terrible luck with injuries in his career and who was supposed to either play with the first team or go on loan to Ajax this season. Bartra was quickly equipped with a new shirt and sent back into the fray, but the rest of the second half was as tactically complex as a bunch of puppies running around; even Pinto was subbed out in the end for Oier.
Still, it was a good chance for the older players to shake the holiday rust off, and for the younger players to show off. Personally, I was favourably impressed by Marc Bartra in his partnership with Masche, with JDS (though his role was less defensive midfielder and more playmaker), with Deulofeu (very talented, though his attitude is CRonesque at times), Roman, Balliu… there were honestly no players who disappointed me, though this could also be because I really, REALLY, really had missed watching Barça play.
Next friendly will be this Saturday in Tangiers and there’s a chance that Messi (out of this match with minor calf trouble) will be available to play then (not so Villa, who still has a couple of weeks of recovery to go through).