Barcelona's new 'Gala XI' emerges as Dembele and Co. attain Copa del Rey semis


BARCELONA — Ousmane Dembele scored the one purpose of the sport as Barcelona beat 10-man Actual Sociedad 1-0 at Camp Nou on Wednesday to guide their place within the semifinal of the Copa del Rey.

Dembele, who was good on the night time, fired house within the 52nd minute, beating goalkeeper Alex Remiro at his close to submit after latching on to a via ball from Jules Kounde.

Brais Mendez had earlier been despatched off for a reckless problem on Sergio Busquets, however even down a participant La Actual virtually equalised when Alexander Sorloth missed an open purpose from six yards.

Barca will remorse not taking their probabilities to kill off the sport, with Gavi hitting the woodwork, and so they had goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to thank for late stops from Robert Navarro and Jon Ander Olasagasti.

JUMP TO: Finest/worst performers | Highlights & notable moments | Postgame quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

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1. Barcelona’s Gala XI arrives, does simply sufficient

One of the best durations in Barcelona’s current historical past have usually been accompanied by a clearly outlined “Gala XI” — the time period given by the native media to the first-choice crew. Beneath Xavi, the Gala XI has not all the time been apparent, but it surely does seem like now.

In opposition to La Actual, the Barca coach lined up with the identical facet which simply beat Actual Madrid to win the Spanish Supercopa just lately: Ter Stegen in purpose, a again 4 of Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde; a midfield of Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Gavi; and a entrance line of Dembele and Robert Lewandowski.

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The primary half-hour right here had been good, even when there have been no targets. The soccer was good, there was an offside purpose and missed probabilities from Kounde, De Jong and Dembele. On one other day, Barca would have scored two towards an in-form opponent who got here to Camp Nou on a nine-game profitable run.

Mendez’s crimson card solely upped Barca’s domination and so they ultimately broke the impasse early within the second half. What adopted was not so good. Barca failed to attain a second purpose and ultimately had been hanging on, with Sorloth lacking a sitter and Ter Stegen making two huge late saves.

2. Dembele dwelling as much as Xavi’s reward with game-winner

Xavi has repeated all through his time as Barca coach that, nicely coached and performing constantly, Dembele might be probably the greatest gamers on the earth. The Frenchman is now commonly producing match profitable performances.

Wednesday’s efficiency was not nearly his purpose. It was all the things. It was his searing tempo. It was his resolution making. It was his probability creation. Actual Sociedad couldn’t cease him. He was unplayable. His purpose was excellently took and he additionally arrange openings for De Jong and Gavi, the latter hitting the bar.

3. Mendez crimson prices La Actual their profitable run

Actual Sociedad have been probably the greatest groups in Spain this season, however Mendez’s dismissal ended any hopes that they had of extending their profitable run in all competitions to 10 video games. They’d nearly weathered the Barca storm within the first half when the midfielder was despatched off.

Already with out the injured David Silva and Mikel Merino, dropping all the way down to 10 males made a troublesome job at Camp Nou a close to inconceivable one. That stated, even with a person much less, they got here near equalising via Sorloth, who will not need to see a replay of his miss from six yards, earlier than substitutes Navarro and Olasagasti introduced one of the best out of Ter Stegen.

La Actual now flip their consideration again to LaLiga. They journey to Actual Madrid on Sunday and may transfer stage with Carlo Ancelotti’s facet with a win on the Santiago Bernabeu. Additionally they stay within the Europa League.

Finest and worst performers

BEST: Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
On the coronary heart of virtually all the things Barca did with a blistering efficiency.

BEST: Jules Kounde, Barcelona
After Dembele, a handful of Barca gamers impressed, however Kounde’s contribution in defence and assault — organising the purpose and virtually scoring himself — stood out.

BEST: Take Kubo, Actual Sociedad
The away facet’s brightest participant, hitting the bar within the first half and inflicting issues along with his tempo and shut management within the second.

WORST: Brais Mendez, Actual Sociedad
Could haven’t any complaints about his first-half crimson card for an over-the-top problem on Busquets.

WORST: Alexander Sorloth, Actual Sociedad
The Norway striker produced a candidate for miss of the season, turning over the bar from six yards out with the purpose gaping.

WORST: Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona
A uncommon off night time for the Poland worldwide, who already has 22 targets for Barca this season.

Highlights and notable moments

Ousmane Dembele is having a stellar 12 months due to performs and targets like these.

Even with 10 males, Actual Sociedad had been in all of it the way in which till the ultimate whistle, conserving Barcelona keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen on his toes.

A game-saving effort by the German there after an preliminary blunder.

After the match: What the managers and gamers stated

Examine again quickly …

Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & Data)

– Barcelona has received six of the seven video games that Ousmane Dembele has scored on this season, with the lone exception being the Champions League group-stage match vs. Inter Milan (3-3 draw).

– Barcelona extends on a club-record house profitable streak vs Actual Sociedad, now as much as 27 video games.

Up subsequent

Barcelona: The highest facet in LaLiga return to motion with a visit to Girona on Saturday. Three extra league video games (Actual Betis, Sevilla, Villarreal) earlier than the Europa League marketing campaign returns with a first-leg matchup towards Manchester United (Feb. 16) at Camp Nou.

Actual Sociedad: One other measuring stick take a look at for the San Sebastian facet. This time a visit to Actual Madrid in a Sunday conflict of the second- and third-placed groups in LaLiga.

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