- Barcelona did not go beyond equalizing in the preseason premiere, in which Kessie and Pablo Torre had their first minutes as Barça players
Pre-season debut with draw (1-1) for Barcelona. The azulgrana team could not defeat UE Olot, which was celebrating its centenary, and began the friendlies with a draw from which many conclusions cannot be drawn. Xavi chose to start the new signings Franck Kessie and Pablo Torre and both were able to show their talent, while Ter Stegen, Dest, Nico -who did well as a pivot- and Aubameyang were the other first team players who were headlines. Mika Marmol, Arnau Casas, Àlex Valle, Abde, and Ilias were the subsidiary players who were also in the game.
A traffic accident on the AP-7 caused Barcelona to arrive late in Olot, causing the game to start a quarter of an hour late, and the slow pace of traffic also carried over into the opening stages of the match. Newcomer Pablo Torre and Ilias offered flashes of quality and Aubameyang was tasked with testing local goalkeeper Batalla on two occasions, but the goalkeeper responded with success.
Barcelona had control of possession, but there was no fluidity in the game as a result of the players’ lack of rhythm in their preseason debut. Kessie was able to show off his physical strength in a couple of actions, but as the minutes passed he too was seen with little energy after just a week of training.
After 20 minutes, Olot came close to opening the scoring after a good chance by Urri who went over the crossbar of Ter Stegen ‘s goal and minutes later Aubameyang reappeared, who did not spare the third. The Gabonese took advantage of a long pass from Ter Stegen and overtook Battle, who stayed halfway out and was unsuccessful in avoiding Barcelona‘s first goal of the preseason.
After Aubameyang ‘s goal, the Catalans increased their dominance with the ball, but when it seemed that the game would go to rest with 0-1, Mika Marmol committed a clear penalty on Manzano and the referee Marc Oltra did not hesitate to award the maximum penalty. Veteran Eloi Amagat took responsibility and tied the game with a well-adjusted shot to the right that Ter Stegen could not reach despite the fact that he guessed his intentions.
With the 1-1, the intermission was reached and Xavi almost completely changed the team. Iñaki Pena was put under sticks; Casado, Arnau Casas, Chadi, and Balde occupied the defensive line; Pjanic, Pedri, and Aranda acted in the midfield, and Collado, Ansu Fati -with the captain’s armband- and Àlex Valle acted as the offensive trident.
Barcelona came out wanting to regain advantage on the scoreboard, with chances from Ansu and Casadó and a shot to the crossbar from Àlex Valle, but they couldn’t beat an inspired Batalla. Aranda also tried it and Collado was precise with several filtered passes that created danger.
Already in the final stretch, Pedri had two very clear chances in two heads-up with Battle, but in the first one he embellished himself too much and in the second the goalkeeper guessed his intentions and avoided the canary’s goal. Olot tried in the last moments, but they couldn’t beat Inaki Pena either and they couldn’t unbalance the scoreboard. First pre-season test for Barcelona, who must continue working to get into physical shape. On Saturday, the Catalans will head to the United States for the tour and the rivals they will meet there will be of a higher level.