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How Xavi’s Catalan Giants End Winless Streak with a Hard-Fought 3-2 Victory Over Last-Placed UD Almería?

How Xavi’s Catalan Giants End Winless Streak with a Hard-Fought 3-2 Victory Over Last-Placed UD Almería?

Barcelona, also known as the Catalan Giants, have been struggling in recent times; Xavi’s defending Spanish La Liga champions have not been able to win any of their last three games in all competitions, losing twice and drawing once during the process, including a 4-2 loss to league leaders Girona FC at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, a 3-2 defeat to Royal Antwerp F.C. in the UEFA Champions League as well as a 1-1 stalemate against Valencia CF at Mestalla. The Catalan Giants welcomed relegation zone side UD Almería at home last night, and only managed to avoid dropping points for the third consecutive time in the league with a narrow 3-2 win.

 

Catalan Giants Won the Game After Being Levelled Twice

The visiting UD Almería gave the Catalan Giants a tough time at home despite the latter leading multiple times in the game. Xavi’s side broke the deadlock in the 33th minute, courtesy of Brazilian forward Raphinha. New summer signing İlkay Gündoğan first whipped in a corner set piece delivery, and it was met by high-rising Ronald Araújo. The Uruguayan’s header was saved, but the ball fell into the path of Raphinha, who slotted in the first goal of the game with ease. Nevertheless, the visitors soon equalised with a goal of their own, when Léo Baptistão beat the offside trap and took on Iñaki Peña Sotorres by himself, which he intelligently dinked it past the shot stopper.

The Catalan Giants then regained their lead at the hour mark via veteran player and club captain Sergi Roberto. The 31-year-old Spain international rose to the highest to meet a corner cross by his teammate Raphinha, who turned into a provider this time around since Roberto’s superb effort found the back of the net. Barcelona‘s joy was short-lived as UD Almería found themselves back into the game again, this time through Edgar González. The defender capitalised on a blunder from the defensive backline and the goalkeeper of the Catalan Giants and put his team’s second equaliser into the empty net.

Thankfully, despite the howler from the home side, they would go on to win the game with their third lead. Like several times in the past, Roberto once again saved the Catalan Giants from embarrassment. Poland’s striker sensation Robert Lewandowski carefully floated a pass to the charging Roberto in the penalty box, and with an exquisite control of the ball, the Spaniard gave Barcelona their winner with seven minutes remaining in the normal 90 minutes of playing time. The 3-2 victory allowed the Catalan Giants to gain 38 points after 18 Matchdays in the Spanish top-flight football, thus closing gaps on Girona FC and Real Madrid to within 6 and 4 points as a result.

Quick Link: Carlo Ancelotti After Real Madrid’s Monumental 4-1 Victory Over Villarreal: “Girona Is Our Biggest Rival.”

 

Xavi Unhappy with Catalan Giants’ Narrow Victory

Former Barca midfielder and current head coach of the Catalan Giants Xavi was not pleased with his players’ performance against the rock-bottom UD Almería. He said: “We suffered much more than I expected. We had 30 shots and gifted them two goals. The first half is unacceptable. As a coach you can’t accept that — I told [The players] that at half-time. It’s as simple as that. The second half is better, but we missed a lot [Of chances] and made a lot of mistakes. It’s been like this for over a month. The team lacked spirit. The team doesn’t have that same spirit it had last season. There’s no aggression or focus. We need more rhythm and intensity.”

The 43-year-old also demanded his players to give all out in the Catalan Giants’ future matches. “Like I said, unacceptable. You cannot lack spirit. You can play well, badly, win or lose, it doesn’t matter, but you have to give everything out of respect for the club and the badge. We didn’t win [Trophies] last year because of individual quality. We won them because we were a group, a family. We were aggressive, we defended together and we attacked well. The reality is if we don’t give everything, it won’t be enough against whoever we are playing. I see a lack of hunger, but that is my responsibility and it won’t happen again,” said the Spaniard.

Xavi’s Catalan Giants will not play another competitive game in the remainder of the calendar year of 2023, but the defending Spanish La Liga champions will travel to Cotton Bowl and face Club América for a friendly game just a day after their 3-2 win over UD Almería at home.

For more football news, click here.

Steven Mosier

"Eat, breathe and sleep sports" is the life motto of mine. My professional athlete career ended way earlier than I thought, but the passion remains till the present, which is why I am here writing you all the sports news you crave! Also, I am a huge fan of the Premier League as well the NBA.

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