Barcelona 0-0 Galatasaray: Xavi’s side dismissed by loanee Inaki Pena in first leg draw
Barcelona 0-0 Galatasaray: Xavi’s side are at a Europa League stalemate as loanee Inaki Pena prevents Memphis Depay, Ferran Torres and Co from denying his parent club in a scoreless first leg in the round of 16
- Barcelona drew 0-0 at home to Galatasaray on Thursday night
- The hosts failed to break through in their Europa League Round of 16 first leg
- On loan Barca goalkeeper Inaki Pena kept his parent club at bay that night
- The tie is still up for grabs ahead of next week’s decider in Turkey
On nights like this you can see why Barcelona are trying to find the funds to compete with Manchester City for the signing of Erling Haaland – someone special who can do something extraordinary when a stubborn defense blocks everything. thrown at him.
Inspired by Barcelona goalkeeper on loan, Inaki Pena Galatasaray has kept Barca at bay and so Xavi’s side must reach the next round of the second leg away from home, just like they did against Napoli.
Barcelona haven’t failed to score under Xavi since early December but, for only the third time since he took charge, they have drawn.
Barcelona were kept out by loanee Inaki Pena in their 0-0 draw with Galatasaray
Memphis Depay and Co failed to find the breakthrough in their Europa League Round of 16 first leg
The first half had started quite well for them, with Ferran Torres almost finishing off Jordi Alba’s cross on their first attack.
Adama Traore and Sergino Dest overtook Patrick van Aanholt on the Galatasaray left and the visitors weren’t allowed near the ball.
Adama’s dribbling ability was Messi-esque at times, but the ball or final shot lacked quality and as this failure to charge for possession ran through the Barcelona team deflated like an old party ball as it went on. as the half progressed. Xavi nervously trailed in his technical area gesturing the passes he wanted him to play faster.
Pedri livened things up by clearing the ball away from Taylan Antalayi before it was knocked down on the edge of the box. Memphis Depay hit the free kick well and contained it but Inaki Peña kept the ball with a nice save.
Frustration set in ten minutes before the break and Memphis were booked for a savage challenge at the edge of Galatasaray’s penalty area.
The visitors then had their best chance when Kerem Akturkoglu cut past Dest from the right and dodged Frenkie de Jong before seeing his curling shot deflected further.
Pena, who joined Galatasaray on loan from Barca in January, made some important saves
Adama Traore was also unable to inspire Barca to a first leg win on Thursday night
It was a frustrating night overall for Xavi, but it’s all to play for in the second leg
Xavi wasn’t happy and there were three changes for the restart with Torres, Nico and Ronald Araujo all out and Dembele, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique. He also sent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to warm up after Memphis’ first poor pass.
Memphis then took a good corner that Busquets had tipped over by Peña. But then he blazed with space at the edge of the area and it was his last kick as, with a huge roar, Aubameyang came on. Barcelona almost scored immediately when Alba stole the cross from Adama next door.
Aubameyang then almost reached Alba’s cross after being sent down the left by Dembele. The French winger then rolled the ball across the edge of the box and Peña saved from De Jong’s shot. From Dembele’s next cross, floating invitingly towards the penalty spot, Aubameyang stretched but couldn’t reach the ball with his head.
Galatasaray were holding on comfortably although Ryan Babel had to be knocked out with 20 minutes to go. The 35-year-old fell and Bafetimbi Gomis came in and put the ball in the net soon after. He was offside as he passed Marc Andre ter Stegen. The linesman raised his flag as he slipped and fell. His decision, at least, was upheld.
Barcelona were always creating chances without taking them. Aubameyang unintentionally kicked De Jong with a bicycle kick which the Dutch midfielder threw at the post.
They were sloppy at the back in injury time and might even have conceded had it not been for Galatasaray’s failure to punish them. They had come to defend, they had done it well and as the stadium emptied their supporters celebrated the draw as a victory. Next Thursday will decide if that’s what it was.