Full Time: Barcelona 3-0 Las Palmas
On the first day of October in 2017, a deserted Camp Nou played witness to FC Barcelona beating UD Las Palmas 3-0 to maintain their winning streak. Wait what? A deserted Camp Nou?
Yes, the match between Barcelona and Las Palmas was played behind closed doors due to political unrest. As you might know, Barcelona is a club from Catalonia, a region of Spain that has been demanding independence since a long time. A referendum was scheduled on Sunday, but the intervening Spanish police and militia instigated chaos and unrest on the streets of Barcelona.
In such a difficult time, Barcelona directors decided to skip the match. But La Liga insisted on having the match conducted and warned Barcelona of a hefty fine, point deduction and even a lengthy ban. In such circumstances, club President Josep Bartomeu decided to play the match and announced it on radio channel RAC1. On to the football now.
The first chance of the match fell for the young Sergi Roberto who had his shot saved by Chichizola after a darting mazy run past the Las Palmas defence. The match was quiet for a while until Chichizola was again called into the action, this time to parry away a Messi freekick bound for the top right corner, and even denied Suarez on the rebound.
Ousmane Tannane of Las Palmas was impressive in the match and created a surreal chance when Calleri could only hit the framework of the goal from his cutback. Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, two Catalan players, were booked for dissent as the first half came to a close.
Valverde brought on Iniesta and Rakitic with hopes of regaining midfield superiority at the start of the second half. The league leaders got their break 4 minutes into the second half, when Busquets headed in a Leo Messi corner. Valverde will look upon the set-piece routine as a positive sign. Chichizola denied Messi an opportunity on goal soon after and Luis Suarez was booked in the 52nd minute for diving in the penalty area after being put through on goal.
The second goal came when Denis Suarez found Messi with an inch-perfect defence-splitting pass and the Argentine absolutely schooled Chichizola by dummying past him seamlessly and slotting the ball home casually. Messi found another one with his trademark finish with 13 minutes left on the clock after he darted past defenders, after being set up by a Rakitic and Luis Suarez passing combo.
Iniesta had to be withdrawn from the match in the dying minutes due to a groin injury and Andre Gomes came on for him.
It was a good win for Barca and here’s how the fans reacted on Twitter:
Denis is destined to do great, great things. Has impressed everytime he has played.
Imagine being thick enough not to start him.
— Munim (@iniestology) October 1, 2017
Xavier Vilajoana is the next board member to hand in his resignation. [@sport]
— Grup 14 (@G14_en) October 1, 2017
I really dont think it should be a debate on who is to replace Dembele. Denis Suarez is miles ahead of Deulofeu & Vidal,a lot more effective
— El Máestro (@ElMaestrofcb) October 1, 2017
Barça has always represented Catalunya. Making a strong statement is more important than getting three points today.
— Esteban Carbonnel (@estee_10) October 1, 2017
An emotional Pique brought to tears as he talks about the situation in Catalonia today. Fair play for coming out & talking (as always) pic.twitter.com/8ceLMjKhgv
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) October 1, 2017
The scoreboard today at Camp Nou #BarçaLasPalmas pic.twitter.com/F76xwyU3AK
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 1, 2017