Barcelona continued their preseason with a 4-2 victory over the English champions in which youngster Munir el Haddadi grabbed a brace. The Catalan giants were should have had this game done and dusted at halftime after they cruised to a 3-0 lead but some sloppy defending allowed Leicester back into the game before youngster Rafael Mujica sealed the game late on.
The first half could not have gone better for the Blaugrana with Munir el Haddadi finding the breakthrough in the 26th minute following a brilliant through ball from Leo Messi. Munir got to the ball ahead of the Leicester right back Danny Simpson and coolly slotted home with his left foot past goalkeeper Zieler. It was his second goal in as many preseason games for the wunderkid.
If the first goal was an example of Barcelona finesse the second was classic Luis Suarez grip. Running onto a chipped ball into the box, the Uruguayan hitman forced the ball between Robert Huth’s legs before getting the ball back off Ben Chilwell’s foot and flicking it past a helpless Zieler in goal with the outside of his right foot. It was typical of the Uruguayan’s bull in a china shop mentality against defenders.
The game was then effectively put to bed when Munir added his 3rd goal in 2 preseason games following a brilliant counter attack.Leo Messi collected the ball on the right hand flank in the middle of his own half and turned inside past 2 defenders before feeding Suarez on the left hand flank. The Uruguayan then found Munir running through the center of the Leicester City defence with a wonderful lobbed through ball that the striker gleefully controlled with his left before flicking past the hapless Leicester City goalkeeper for the 3rd goal on the stroke of halftime. With all of the talk about a fourth striker being required Munir was making his point that the solution may already be at Barcelona.
Barcelona changed things round a bit in the 2nd half with Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets coming on for Marlon and Aleix Vidal for their first games of the pre-season with Sergi Roberto moving from defensive midfield into the right back slot. The changes seemed to unsettle the Barca defence which up to that point had been fairly solid. In the 47th minute Javier Mascherano came forward into the Leicester City half to challenge Okazaki who managed to flick to the ball on to Leicester’s new record signing Ahmed Musa. Musa easily stepped past Jeremy Mathieu before beating Sergi Roberto badly for pace and slotting home past Jordi Masip in the Barcelona goal.
Leicester City then got right back into the game when Jefferey Schlupp took the ball away from Camara on the left and fed Ahmed Musa who powered a right footed blast into the Barcelona net giving Masip absolutely no chance. With Leicester City on the charge Barcelona appeared stunned and took some time to recover. However in the 84th minute with Leicester City pushing forward looking for the equalizer Barcelona took advantage when Rafael Mujica took advantage of a scramble in the box to curl home the goal that settled the game following a ball inside from Carbonell on the left.
The English Champions vanquished then and another good workout for the Blaugrana ended in victory. Barcelona will next take on Liverpool in their final game of the International Champions Trophy and will need to beat the reds by 4 goals to wrest the title away from defending champions Paris St Germain. Leicester City meanwhile take on FA Cup winners Manchester United in the Community shield. Highlights of the game can be seen here.
Lineup (4-3-3): Jordi Masip: Aleix Vidal; Marlon Santos; Jeremy Mathieu; Camara: Denis Suarez; Sergi Roberto; Arda Turan: Lionel Messi; Luis Suarez; Munir el Haddadi
Substitutes: Subs: J.Suárez (Masip 76), Jose Martínez (Jeremy Mathieu 76), Javier Mascherano (Marlon 45), Sergio Busquets (Aleix Vidal 45), Sergi Samper (Arda Turan 62), Aleñá (Lionel Messi 62), Alex Carbonell (Munir el Haddadi 76), Rafael Mujica (Denis Suarez 76), Nili (Camara 76), Jesus Alfaro (Luis Suarez 76).