Following the conclusion of a scintillating rollercoaster of a game that went well beyond the expected 90 minutes, FC Barcelona barely manage to scrape past CF Intercity with an Ansu Fati winner in the 103rd minute ensuring that Barcelona ended up winning the clash in extra time 4-3.
From the get-go, it seemed that both teams understood their relative roles and situations well enough. At least, on paper that is. FC Barcelona, as they typically tend to do, held a solemn and robust hold on the possessional side of the game, and as a consequence of their ultra-attacking approach, were able to generate a bucketload of favorable scoring situations throughout the game. Alas, converting those chances was a rather unfavorable situation altogether.
In total, Barcelona ended up taking a shot at Intercity’s goal 29 times throughout the entirety of the game, with only 10 of those shots managing to be on target. This statistic stands out in comparison to Intercity’s shots on goal, as the latter only accumulated 9 shots in total, out of which 6 ended up being on target, and 3 of those having been converted into goals, compared to Barca only being able to score 4 despite the stark contrast and superiority that they possessed in terms of shots on target and opportunities to score.
On the other hand, FC Barcelona had most of the possession at their own disposal during the game, having had 77% of the overall possession compared to Intercity’s 23%. This possession was relatively easier for the Catalans to retain as the Intercity squad was tactically guided to play a defensive low-block with the players more than happy to let Barcelona retain a strong foothold on the possessional aspect of the match.
This proved to be an effective tactic, as Intercity found themselves in many promising areas following quick and successive counter-attacks against an out-of-position Barcelona squad quite clearly hellbent on playing a progressive style of football along with their consistent counter surges to score against their opponent even in scenarios when they already possessed a lead in the game.
Ousmane Dembele allowed La Blaugrana to find breathing room following the original equalizer by Intercity, as his goal put the Catalans back on top again during the game. Moreover, there were instances of sheer chemical brilliance that in turn created some very solid chances between the Frenchman and his Spanish teammate Ansu Fati, who seemed to synchronize on a very good level despite the latter’s introduction as a substitute.
Another player that had a memorable game was veteran Jordi Alba as well, who showcased exactly why he remains strong in Barcelona despite having been from amongst those in the Old Guard. His creative vision, passes, and ability to run at the perfect time and through the perfect gaps mid-game, something he displayed in this Copa Del Ray outing as well.
From amongst the opposition’s players, former Barca youth team player Oriol Soldevila managed to score three goals past Inaki Pena during this game, becoming the first player to score a hat-trick against Barcelona since Kylian Mbappe himself in 2021 in the UEFA Champions League.
In terms of the game tactically, Barcelona always seemed to be just as in control as it had been anticipated beforehand to be between the two sides, yet careless mistakes from bad positioning to slow reactions ended up costing this game to become a much larger hurdle than possibly anticipated for Barcelona, one that may have potentially gone to penalties should extra time have stayed on an equal score.
Regardless of the complications it brought along with it, this win ensures Barcelona’s first win in the year 2023, as well as their first appearance and first win in the 2022/2023 Copa Del Ray campaign, enabling their progression to the Round of 16. FC Barcelona next travel to the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid to face Atletico Madrid in La Liga on the 8th of January, 2023.