Pique says emotional goodbye as Barcelona climb in LaLiga

BARCELONA — It was a routine win for Barcelona as they beat Almeria 2-0 on Saturday night time at Camp Nou to maneuver to the highest of the LaLiga desk. However the match wasn’t actually about that.

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Longtime Barcelona defender Gerard Pique performed his ultimate match in entrance of house followers after he introduced that he’ll retire when the Spanish league breaks for the World Cup this month.

Right here is ESPN’s Sam Marsden with response and evaluation from Camp Nou.

JUMP TO: Participant scores | Greatest/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Publish match quotes | Keystats | Upcoming fixtures

Fast response

1. Wasteful Barca discover capturing boots to go prime

Barcelona could have feared this could be a type of nights at halftime. They managed 16 photographs within the first half and had an xG of two.53 — the very best on report in a scoreless first half since 2010-11 — however had no targets to indicate for his or her efforts. Robert Lewandowski had missed a penalty, and Ferran Torres alone had wasted six possibilities at an xG of 0.99. On the different finish, solely an excellent save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to maintain out Largie Ramazani saved Almeria out.

Nonetheless, any fears of failing to interrupt down Almeria’s five-man backline rapidly evaporated after the break. Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring within the forty eighth minute with a tremendous solo purpose, reducing in from the best to complete low within the backside nook after a raking cross from Sergio Busquets. De Jong added the second simply after the hour mark, turning house after Ansu Fati’s shot was saved.

In the long run, the win was as routine as they arrive. It takes Barca prime of the league, briefly a minimum of, two factors away from Actual Madrid, who journey to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Except for final month’s loss to Madrid, it has been an virtually excellent season for Barca domestically thus far: 11 wins, one draw and simply that solitary defeat on the Santiago Bernabeu.

2. Pique bows out a membership legend

This recreation was actually about Gerard Pique as he made his 616th look for Barcelona and his final ever at Camp Nou. He’ll withdraw from enjoying after Tuesday’s go to to Osasuna, Barca’s ultimate recreation earlier than the Spanish league breaks for the World Cup.

Sergio Busquets handed him the captain’s armband for the match and, alongside along with his sons Milan and Sasha, he led the crew out for kick off to chants of “Pique, Pique, Pique” from the group of 92,605. It was the most important attendance at Camp Nou for the reason that 2019 Clasico (93,426), which in itself is an indication of how well-regarded Pique is by the membership’s supporters.

These followers cheered his each contact and chanted for him to take the early penalty. Lewandowski even appeared to supply it to him, however he turned down the possibility to say goodbye with a purpose. As a substitute, he bid farewell with three factors on what was a comparatively quiet night time to be a Barca centre-back.

Essentially the most emotional second got here within the 83rd minute, when he was substituted. He embraced every of his teammates, obtained a thunderous standing ovation and waved to his adoring public from him. His 14 years in Barca’s first crew have yielded 30 trophies, together with eight league titles and three Champions Leagues and extra could observe off the pitch, albeit because the membership president quite than the coach.

Thursday’s goodbye video promised he could be again.



Gerard Pique comes off to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou as he leaves the sphere for the ultimate time as a Barcelona participant.

3. The 2 sides of Dembele

Dembele’s opener was good. He confirmed tempo to race on to an extended ball from Busquets, talent to chop inside previous two dawdling defenders after which composure to position the ball effortlessly into the underside nook.

The frustration for Barca is whereas he’s able to doing that, he’s so inconsistent. Moments later, he was performed via once more and rounded the goalkeeper, however this time it was Dembele who dawdled. Slightly than shoot when the purpose was gaping, he delayed, delayed and delayed. And the possibility was gone. The purpose and the miss sum up Dembele.

Simply two weeks in the past, towards Athletic Bilbao, he scored one and arrange three. Every week later, he disappeared towards Valencia. Towards Almeria, there was slightly little bit of all the pieces.

participant scores

Barcelona: Ter Stegen 7; Bucket 7, Pique 7, Alonso 6, Alba 8; Busquets 6, Pedri 7, De Jong 7; Dembele 7, Lewandowski 6, Torres 5

Subs: Ansu 6, Raphinha 6, Gavi 6, Christensen 5

Almería: Martinez 7; Mendes 6, Kaiky 5, Ely 6, Chumi 5, Akieme 5; Robertone 6, Melero 6, Costa 5; Baptistao 5, Ramazani 6

Subs: Sousa 5, Babic 5, Eguaras 5, Puigmal 5, Portillo 5

Greatest and worst performers

BEST: Jordi Alba, Barcelona

A continuing supply of hazard on the left. The standard of his deliveries from him not often let him down.

WORST: Ferran Torres, Barcelona

On the one hand he was a menace, consistently stepping into capturing positions, however however he did not take a single probability which got here his method in his hour on the pitch.

Highlights and notable moments

The main focus of the match was all the time going to be on Pique and his ultimate house recreation in entrance of Barcelona’s followers, and his youngsters joined the pre-match walkout:

Barcelona dominated the primary half, out-shooting Almeria 16-1, however could not get something from it.

Lewandowski had an opportunity to tug forward with a penalty however missed it vast:



Robert Lewandowski misses penalty vs. from Barcelona vs. Almeria

It did not take lengthy after halftime for Barcelona to search out their lead, which carried them via to the ultimate outcome.

Dembele took on Almeria’s protection by himself, and the end was beautiful:



Ousmane Dembele purpose forty eighth minute Barcelona 1-0 Almeria

After the match: What the gamers and managers stated

Gerard Piqué: “To begin with, because of all my teammates, teaching employees, membership staff… to everybody who makes the day-to-day on the membership simpler. Due to the board of administrators for all these years. In life, as you get older, you understand typically to like is to let go [starts crying]…

“A relationship of a lot love, a lot ardour, I believe it’s the second to present ourselves some area. That’s the reason I believe it’s the proper second to go, as a result of I like this membership. I’m satisfied that I shall be again sooner or later. This isn’t a goodbye, I left after I was 17 and I got here again. My grandad made me a member after I was born. I used to be born right here and I’ll die right here.”

Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez: “It was a historic night time for Gerard. We performed rather well. We needed to ship him off in the very best method. The larger the sport for him, the higher he performs. I’ve already advised him what a legend he’s at Barcelona and the way grateful we’re for all that he has achieved.”

Xavi on Lewandowski’s missed penalty: “It is excellent news that when Robert doesn’t rating, others do. We do not simply depend upon him. The others should step up when he would not make the distinction.”

Key stats (through ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Lewandowski’s penalty kick miss snaps a streak of 5 consecutive penalty kicks scored. It was his fist miss since Dec. 2021 vs. Benfica.

  • Dembélé’s 4 targets are his third most in a single LaLiga season with Barcelona. His most is eight in 2018-19.

  • Piqué’s 30 LaLiga targets are the third-most by a Barcelona defender all-time behind Ronald Koeman (67) and Seguer (38).

up subsequent

Barcelona: Barca have a faster turnaround for his or her ultimate match earlier than the World Cup as they head to Osasuna on Tuesday, Nov. 8 in LaLiga motion. (Stream it stay at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.)

Almería: Almeria play twice extra earlier than breaking for the World Cup. First they host Getafe in LaLiga play on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1 pm ET (stream it stay on ESPN+) after which they head to Arenteiro on Sunday, Nov. 13 to compete within the Copa del Rey (additionally accessible on ESPN+).

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