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Barça slip up at Anoeta again

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 09/04/2016 sportyou
Barça slip up at Anoeta again © Getty Images Barça slip up at Anoeta again

It could be said that Barcelona are the only team that trip up twice on the same stone. Or maybe six times. In their last six visits to Anoeta, the Azulgranas have failed to win and we have to go back to 2006 (the Basques were in the second tier for three seasons) to see their last victory there. This time around, they lost because they were unable to overcome Oyarzabal's early goal and could not find the way past the dense set of booby traps that Eusebio set to defend against them.

Luis Enrique sent out a totally new midfield with Rafinha and Arda playing alongside Busquets. The equation did not work, and Barcelona lacked the fluidity they normally have with the ball to hurt their opponents, who took their chances by crowding out the midfield, reducing spaces between lines, and putting in overtime in defence. Barça once again looked like a predictable team, one that just moved the ball from one side to the other without creating any danger.

Their best chance came from a poorly-cleared ball by the Real defence that Munir failed to take advantage of. Rulli produced a marvellous save to keep it out. He also had his gloves on tightly  in the second half to thwart Leo Messi and Iniesta's dangerous attempts.

In view of Barça's lack of penetration, Luis Enrique saw the need to make changes. He sent on Iniesta and Rakitic to put some order in the midfield and from then on the visitors produced their best chances, but they were not materialised owing to the alertness of the hosts' goalkeeper. Barcelona's desperation meant that Piqué ended up playing as centre forward in the final minutes of the game.

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