Barcelona after an agonizing defeat away at Old Trafford in the Uefa Europa League play-off round put an end to any possible European journey for this season at least. Sergio Busquets and Jules Kounde were dissatisfied with the result and remarked the aftermath was nothing short of a big disappointment.
Slowly, more and more La Blaugrana players spoke about the match after coming to terms with the defeat, and one of the first to speak out to the press was the young Alejandro Balde. The young left-back was one of the bright sparks in the team, which was mainly underwhelming, especially for the second half of the game.
He did a splendid job defensively and won the foul in the box to secure a penalty kick for the Blaugranes at the Stretford end. He went down after contact was initiated by Bruno Fernandes, who fouled him in the process. Robert Lewandowski converted the spot kick to put FC Barcelona 1-0 ahead at halftime.
There were not many bright sparks in the squad overall today, but Alejandro Balde, Ronald Araujo, Sergio Busquets, and Andreas Christensen certainly did their part well. The depleted lineup also did not help as Dembele was out of both ties who is one of the most crucial players in the team.
Pedri was injured in the first half of the first leg itself, after which Barcelona lost the control they had in the game. Gavi was also suspended after he surpassed the threshold of yellow cards required for the suspension, and was required to serve a one-match suspension, and the timing of all the major issues coinciding together makes it even more unfortunate.
This has been the trend in Europe for FC Barcelona under Xavi regularly, as key players get injured or suspended ahead of crucial games, and the squad loses the plot thereafter. This can be resolved through rotations and improving the squad depth. The only positive is that now we have a less congested fixture list and we can focus on the domestic competitions alone.
Balde wanted to address the culers through the media after the heart-wrenching loss. “We fought till the end and gave it our all. It is a difficult time right now, but I am sure we will give you lots of joy. Thank you for your support culers. Forca Barca.” the hopeful youngster said as per the report from SPORT.