La Real needs Barça to be champions to win at the Camp Nou. The people from San Sebastian, subdued in the last 27 visits, ended the local unbeaten record on the day that Barcelona celebrated the title achieved in Cornellà-El Prat and 31 years after the conquest of Wembley. The last time the blue and whites had claimed victory at the stadium was on May 18, 1991 when the dream team de Cruyff had also just won the League title. Nobody discussed the triumph announced by Imanol’s hunch last night. Pressed by the results in their race to reach the Champions League, Real played to win while Barcelona made time to receive the league champion trophy.
Ter Stegen, Alba, Alex Balde, A. Christensen, Koundé (Marcos Alonso, min. 45), Busquets (Eric Garcia, min. 84), Kessié Franck (Ferrán Torres, min. 63), Frenkie De Jong, Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembélé (Pablo Torre, min. 86) and Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 63)
Remiro, Zubeldia (Jon Pacheco, min. 80), Elustondo, Diego Rico, Le Normand, Barrenetxea (Pablo Marín, min. 73), Illarramendi (Gorosabel, min. 58), Martín Zubimendi, Merino, Mohamed Ali-Cho (Take Kubo, min. 58) and Sörloth (Carlos Fernández, min. 80)
goals 0-1 min. 5: Merino. 0-2 min. 71: Sorloth. 1-2 min. 90: Lewandowski.
Referee Javier Alberola Rojas
Yellow cards Zubeldia (min. 8), Illarramendi (min. 36), Lewandowski (min. 52), Busquets (min. 71), Take Kubo (min. 79) and Carlos Fernández (min. 84)
The Catalans attacked badly, lacking Pedri’s light, and defended much worse, surprisingly vulnerable without Araujo. There was no collective game and the result of individual causes was diverse: top scorer Lewandowski (22) was claimed with a goal and, on the other hand, Zamora Ter Stegen conceded two more, four in the last two games, and already has 15. Zubimendi, for his part, had more weight in the match than Busquets. The realist, candidate to replace the Barça captain, was much more positioned and serious at the festive Camp Nou. The changes didn’t help improve Xavi’s strange team either.
The coach formed with two left-backs —Balde on the right and Alba on the left— and two wingers who like to start from the right like Dembélé and Raphinha. The Brazilian stayed on the good side and the Frenchman attacked from the left in front of Alba. Dembélé lost the ball as soon as he left the field and shortly after Koundé defeated Sorloth. The Norwegian won the melee with the French and enabled Mikel Merino to overcome Ter Stegen, irritated from the 2-4 in Cornellà-El Prat when Barça already felt like league champions.
The chants of “champions, champions” did not stop in the cheerleader while in the stadium, after minute 10, the name of Messi was invoked in chorus. The entertainment and partying of the fans contrasted with the lack of competitive tension of Xavi’s players. Until De Jong was activated with his conduction, Christensen’s silk foot appeared and Dembélé began to run, dribble and finish off with his foot and head before the confident Remiro. Kessié had two shots on goal that missed the goal because they were intercepted by the Real defenders and Lewandowski failed to head an assist from Raphinha.
The chances were as frequent as their concessions to Koundé’s vulnerability and the rush of strikers-turned-defenders like Raphinha. Ter Stegen’s legs were more reliable than Barrenetxea’s. The striker missed two shots in a very open game with impatient players in the Camp Nou areas. No one symbolized the Barça moment better than Dembélé. He did not change his artistic repertoire from the right, always disconcerting due to his ability to end badly what started well, a soloist against Remiro’s goal. Dembélé is at the same time Coyote and Roadrunner.
The game worsened as time went by, especially after the break, to the point that the wheel of changes precipitated on both sides, especially at Barça. Xavi ended up attacking with four forwards after the entry of Ferran and Ansu. The best opportunities, however, were for Sorloth, failing in one and decisive in the second, after being enabled by Zubimendi.
Barça only touched the charge in the final stretch, when the moment to receive the League trophy approached, and Lewandowski scored. He did not prevent the Catalans from losing their first game at home on the day they celebrated the League nor did he annoy Real at their party for seeking the Champions League. Everyone is happy at the Camp Nou.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.