A comeback, the second big one of the season, can be explained by many things but one is fundamental, the united dressing room and a technical team in sync. Barca have had many magical nights at Camp not but none have been without fans, the player No 12 who pushes on their own and intimidates opponents. Barcelona pulverised Sevilla in the first half, with perfect football and feeling, rowing all together.
Just entering Camp Nou you could tell this was not just another game. There were up to 142 members of them media there, a press tribune almost alike those of the pre-pandemic big occasions. A lot of excitement. This isn’t possible in La Liga or the Champions League yet, so many journalists returned after a year’s absence from Camp Nou.
On the pitch the players were together and Pique’s shouts radiated through his team-mates. On the bench Koeman was on his feet, on the limits of the technical area, batting with Julen Lopetegui.
You can fault Antoine Griezmann for many things but never commitment. He saw the first half from the stands and could barely sit down. Gesticulating and shouting, waiting for his chance to join the fight. Dembele’s goal came and Barcelona were half of the way back.
In the presidential box the three candidates watched on. Their masks were their best allies when it came to keeping their composure.
Rakitic had to watch from the stands until he was sent to warm up. He suffered the reverse side of the PSG comeback. That day he was immense.
Pique equalised at the death with his head but it was all heart. He celebrated wildly, face in the camera, bringing to mind the Maradona 1994 World Cup celebration.
Braithwaite’s goal was celebrated less because there was still a long way to go, but eventually the full time whistle was blown and joy flooded the stadium. There were hugs a-plenty, with Koeman and Messi sharing one. It was important to see. The staff and team have suffered, they have been criticised without compassion (although fairly many times), but stayed united and stayed afloat. The squad believed from the first day in Koeman, as he looked at new ways to play. The dressing room is united, that’s how you explain comebacks.
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