Barça’s collective excellence beats Napoli (5-0)
Barça has won its official trophy, the Joan Gamper, thanks to an emphatic win over Napoli. The home side performed brilliantly, and showed how extensive the squad is. Cesc, Keita, Pedro and Messi (2) scored the goals.
Barcelona (FCB).- The players’ strike that led to the cancellation of the first day of Liga action turned the Joan Gamper Trophy into an excellent opportunity for Barça to continue the preseason. And they seized the moment. Guardiola gave chances to almost everybody, including six from the reserves, who produced a tremendous all-round display. Napoli, third in Italy’s Serie A last season, were played off the park, and only showed the occasional spark in attack but were considerably weaker in a defence that Cesc and Keita perforated in the first half, followed by Pedro and Messi (2) in an exquisite second half in which they also hit the woodwork four times. There was no doubt who deserved to win the Gamper’s 46th edition: Barça.
Same personality, new faces
The Spanish Supercup winners went out with a very different starting eleven to the one against Madrid five days ago. Piqué, Iniesta and Villa were the only ‘survivors’. Montoya and Kiko Femenía both settled in brilliantly on the right as they started their first games for the first team, as did Cesc Fàbregas, playing just behind the strikers. Despite the new faces, Barça’s style was as apparent as ever. They dominated possession and went out to attack from the outset. All that is needed is a little time to get them back into their flowing passing game and perhaps to generate more goal scoring chances.
Cesc makes his presence felt
But it was Napoli who had the first chance of the game, with a spectacular overhead kick from Cavani that was disallowed for a previous offence in the 9th minute. In the 18th minute, a delightful team move, with Cesc coming through from behind, ended up with the new signing hitting the crossbar. He got another chance shortly after and this time did find the net, although much of the credit goes to Adriano for his exceptional run down the left.
Pressure from Barça
Napoli gave some signs of their attacking fame, with Pinto called upon to save from Lavezzi. But Barça were as effective as they have been in recent games and Keita immediately responded with the second goal, one that was strikingly similar to the goal that secured last season’s league title in Levante. The Malian would later be handed the man of the match award.
De Sanctis produced a terrific save to deny Villa just before the break, once again following a great run by Adriano. The Asturian had another chance seconds later, but this time centre back Aronica prevented it from going to 3-0.
Goals and posts
There were several chances at half time (on came Dos Santos, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Cuenca and Pedro) and Pedro twice and Cuenca once hit the post. The loudest cheer of the night was for Leo Messi, who came on in the 55th minute. The best player in the world immediately responded with a free kick that hit the crossbar, but Pedro was there to convert the rebound. That was in the 61st minute, and shortly after the Canary Islander returned the favour by providing the assist that led to the fourth. In just twenty minute of the second half, Barça had hit the woodwork four times and scored twice. The Camp Nou celebrated with a Mexican wave. This was imply outstanding football they were witnessing.
Messi bags brace
With the result in no doubt, Barça spent the rest of the game practicing their possession game. Napoli barely touched the ball and there was still time for Messi to make it 5-0, which is how things stayed until the end. The Barça squad had responded in incredible form ahead of Friday’s game in Monaco.
1-0 Cesc (min 25)
2-0 Keita (min 31)
3-0 Pedro (min 61)
4-0 Messi (min 65)
5-o Messi (min 77)