Held in Rome, and at a cost
In a strangely negative game in Rome, FC Barcelona had to settle for a 1-1 draw as Luis Suárez’s headed opener was cancelled out by a potential Goal of the Season from AS Roma defender Alessandro Florenzi. The result is quite favorable for Barça as a draw away against the toughest team in the group almost guarantees top spot, but the cost paid for this result may be too high for Luis Enrique Tand co. to handle.
The club’s injury list seemed to be growing every match and that proved to be the case again as Rafinha was stretchered off moments after coming on as a substitute. Officials confirmed this morning that the Brazilian suffered a “tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg“. He therefore will be out for at least 6 months and may end up missing the entire season. A real pity for a player who had just scored his first goal for the national team and finally seemed to be performing at the level that Lucho expected of him.
Other than the golazo and the injury, the other noteworthy events seemed to revolve around the referees once again. Barça were denied what seemed to be a clear penalty when Luisito was brought down inside the box by Wojciech Szczesny, as the referee decided to play on as usual. An incident at the other end involving Javier Mascherano also went unpunished, so at least this time there can’t be too many complaints (even if a side from Madrid can get penalties for the ball hitting a player’s back).
This season so far has been characterized by low-scoring games and AS Roma will be very happy that their game was such an affair, but Lucho has a lot of thinking to do over the next few weeks. Sergi Roberto had a fine game but could not provide the same attacking support Dani Alves does; the Brazilian right-back was finally missed post his injury. Rafinha’s predicament means that the center of the park is a bit short on personnel as well (more on that later). A decent result, good play all around and plenty of chances, but quite a few talking points and consequences as well.
Headaches for Lucho?
Injuries, transfer bans, suspensions. Lucho had a tough debut season to deal with, but if he thought things would get easier in his second one he’s surely learning that won’t be the case. Because of injuries and the transfer ban, he has a few very tough, important decisions to make. Does he try Marc Bartra or Adriano at right-back so Sergi Roberto can play at the center? Or does he allow Sergi Samper and Gerard Gumbau minutes with the first team? Does he put more trust in either of Munir or Sandro? The only certainty in this scenario is that Lucho’s hair is going to get a lot grayer.
Milestone for Jordi
While Lionel Messi played his 100th champions league match yesterday, Jordi Alba has also reached a significant milestone. The left-back has completed 300 official games as a professional football player. For a detailed breakdown of the marauding defender’s games click this space. We hop he has a long career in football and continues to serve FC Barcelona as brilliantly as he has been until he calls it a day. A true bargain for the club, and arguably the best left-back in the world. Congratulations, Jordi!