Dembele makes his mark for Barca in Messi's absence

By Ben Hayward on March 11, 2018

Views: 729

Ousmane Dembele needed a night like this. In what has been a spectacular season for Barcelona, particularly in La Liga, the €105 million summer signing had been something of a disappointment. But on Saturday, he came of age.

Barca came into this match unbeaten in 27 games in the Primera Division in 2017-18 and had not lost at all in the league since last April against Malaga at La Rosaleda – a defeat that seriously harmed their hopes of winning the title in Luis Enrique's last season.

This time around, the trip to Malaga seemed somewhat less daunting, the Andalusians rooted to the bottom of the table ahead of this match and without a win in any of their previous 10 league games.

However, it was made more difficult by the fact that Lionel Messi pulled out of Barca's squad earlier in the day to be present with his wife Antonela Roccuzzo at the birth of the pair's third son, Ciro.

In his absence and that of Andres Iniesta through injury, coach Ernesto Valverde picked both January signing Philippe Coutinho and summer acquisition Dembele behind Luis Suarez in a formation which was something of a 4-3-2-1 – closer to Barca's traditional 4-3-3 than the 4-4-2 the Catalans have been using all season.

Barca did not seem to miss Messi much and Suarez opened the scoring with a fine header after a superb cross from Jordi Alba after 15 minutes. Dembele, meanwhile, grew in confidence as the game wore on.

The French forward featured in the Catalan Supercup against Espanyol on Wednesday night, but frustrated fans in the 0-0 draw – Barca later won on penalties – as he gave the ball away and saw some wayward attempts miss the target before being substituted after 63 minutes.

However, there were flashes of his skills and those were in full evidence on Saturday night as he beat defenders with pace and trickery, setting up Coutinho for the second goal in sumptuous style as he dragged the ball back and crossed for the Brazilian to finish with a clever back-heeled effort.

He also came close to scoring himself with a spectacular volley against a home side down to 10 men from the 30th minute after the dismissal of Samuel Garcia, while he exhibited his quality in another move featuring his close control as he deftly flicked the ball over a Malaga defender and sent in a cross that was eventually cleared.

Best of all, however, was his link-up play with the midfield and his fellow forwards. This was a much more mature performance from the 20-year-old and he showed some real promise in a campaign in which he has been blighted by two spells out through injury and some disappointing displays.

His beaming smile when he hugged Coutinho said it all and it was for such moments that Barca bought the winger from Borussia Dortmund for such a significant outlay in the first place. And Messi, watching with his growing family on television, will have been both impressed and delighted to see the youngster come of age.

On Wednesday, against Chelsea in the Champions League, the two of them could cause havoc together. (Goal)

•Photo shows Barca star Dembele in action.

Source Daily Sports

Posted March 11, 2018

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

You may also like...
Iheanacho makes history with VAR goal

Siasia to meet Mikel, Ighalo in London

Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium to have all-round cover by...

Harry Kane confident of beating Mohammed Salah to...

AITEO Cup: Semi-final matches rock Lagos, Kano, Owerri...

Nice coach Vieira turns to Barcelona striker Alcacer...

 

Latest News Modric hits out at Ronaldo, Messi Jesus shines as Manchester City storm back to the top of the Premier League Real Madrid get Club World Cup semi-final opponents Tottenham strike down stubborn Burnley Ronaldo’s penalty settles Turin derby in favour of Juve Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers unveil stadium design for final Benzema nets early winner as Real Madrid edge Rayo Vallecano Unbeaten Dortmund move nine points clear Bayern spank Hannover 96 to claim 3rd straight win Smalling signs new Man Utd contract through to 2022 Simeone hails Atletico's fighting spirit after Real Valladolid win Tragedy hits Nigerian football as star defender Dominic Dukku slumps and dies before match

 

Most Read Rangers International going, going . . . (44,770 views) Amaju Pinnick: A cat with nine lives (36,817 views) Missing $150,000 IAAF Grant: Solomon Dalung’s Hide and Seek game (35,570 views) Sports Development: Zenith Bank on the zenith (34,786 views) Current issues in Nigerian sports: Matters arising (33,981 views) Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje’s solid footprints, commitment to sports development in Kano State (33,815 views) Second Term: Amaju Pinnick, Other NFF Heavyweights Home to Roost •How Pinnick Broke the Jinx (32,917 views) Commonwealth Games 2018: Shame of Muhammadu Buhari, Solomon Dalung (32,886 views) Olopade, BET9A wave of revolution in NNL (32,796 views) NFF Presidency: Pinnick, Maigari, Ogunjobi, Okoye in Battle for Supremacy (31,799 views) Ibrahimovic’s Man U exit: Whose decision is it? And in whose interest? (29,835 views) Let’s save Kelechi Emeteole's life! Let’s follow Omeruo, others' shining examples (29,136 views)

 

 


 

News Athletics (271) Basketball (133) Boxing (522) Columnists (366) Euro Soccer Update (3693) Fans Assembly (3) From the Grassroots (45) Golf (71) Interviews (14) Live Commentary (3) News (4577) NPL Glo Premier League (962) People and Places (22) Readers Parliament (6) Tennis (487)

 

 

Classic games

 

Phone numbers

Tel: +234(0)8066020976
+234(0)8055068145
+234(0)7013416146
+234(0)8094272884

Email addresses

info@dailysportsng.com
support@dailysportsng.com
publisher@dailysportsng.com

Office address

No 3, Adetoun Close, Off College Road, Ogba, Ikeja Lagos.
Website: www.dailysportsng.com

Social Media