Ronald Koeman doesn’t have a great deal of choice but he is relying on the young players at his disposal. Riqui Puig played the 90 and Ilaix Moriba was handed his La Liga debut. The midfielder turned 18 in January and he was given the No 27 for the match, having previously started against Cornella in the Copa del Rey.
Iliad worked in the right central midfield slot and it wasn’t easy for him to get into the game. Maybe from nerves or timidity, or from Alaves being well positioned and not leaving much space at the start. Still, there were positives and he worked hard to link up with his team-mates. He wasn’t afraid of trying things.
His best moment came when he set up Francisco Trincao for the 1-0. Ilaix could have shot but held his nerve and passed to the Portuguese, who sent Barca ahead.
He made a mistake after the break, with a bad pass intercepted by Rioja, who scored to pull a goal back for Alaves. Something to learn and mature from.
Koeman took him off soon after and brought on Pedri. What Barca have is a raw diamond in Ilaix and they have to take care of him. What he showed tonight was two sides of a coin. And deep down, that’s the best thing for his development. Koeman will keep counting on him.
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