Griezmann hunts down Madrid

The Frenchman resolves the ballot against a good Athletic, after a foul by Messi and Jordi Alba's own goal at 1-1, and puts Barça with 40 points.

In the midst of the perfect storm that shakes Barcelona at an institutional, economic, and social level, with the Planes report on the table, Messi's contract aired to the four winds and in the middle of the electoral campaign, Koeman's team was placed second in LaLiga after defeating Athletic Club 2-1 in another agonizing match. Barça played to win more calmly, but the tranquility in this team is a chimera. Silly, Barça has already caught Madrid clinging to the philosophy of Koeman, who said on Saturday that "we are not going to win much" .

Before the forced absence of Busquets, sanctioned for accumulating cards, Koeman revealed his approach and before replacing the Catalan with Pjanic he decided to sacrifice the arrival of De Jong as a winger so that the Dutchman would start the game. There may be better technicians than Koeman, but finding a more pristine one would be tricky. Everything is understood.

The match started as a photocopy of the Super Cup final. With Barça dominating and Athletic looking for the peck from set pieces. The difference with respect to Seville was the staging of Umtiti, which showed that if he rations minutes he has useful moments, and that this time Messi was there to play.

At five minutes, the Argentine already forced Unai to show off after an assist from Griezmann in a play that began with a recovery by Umtiti in midfield. The Frenchman fired again shortly thereafter and Athletic already noticed that he was having a bad time when at a quarter of an hour into the game Messi almost scored with a chest blow.

Barça's dominance needed to get meat on the scoreboard and that's where Messi appeared again. Athletic raised the game faithful to the instructions of Marcelino, who in the previous one declared that "Messi's activity must be limited". Or translated, fouling him when he doesn't have the ball. All those fouls that were not seen in Seville, Mateu Lahoz had them prepared and was attentive to the blocks to the Argentine.

In one of them on the front, Messi had a great foul to score his 650 goal for Barça and put the game in favor of the Blaugrana work. But after the goal, Koeman's men dwindled and despite continuing to dominate they were unable to extend the score. And that, against a rival like Athletic, who has amply credited since the arrival of Marcelino that he never gives up and that his are comebacks, going to rest with a meager goal on the margin was playing with fire.

And said and done, the Basque team did not even need to shoot to equalize the game. It was Alba who slipped the own goal trying to defend De Marcos after Mingueza lost a duel as a winger.

With all the ghosts of the past looming at the Camp Nou and fearing that Athletic would eat the blaugrana's toast again, Mingueza corrected his mistake in the equalizer by appearing by surprise in attack to take advantage of a pass from Dembélé that came to him in a mark of the Frenchman's house move. Capable of the best and the worst, Ousmane slipped, after performing what in ballet is known as a split, écart or split, which for the stands is a sprain. But he recovered and assisted Mingueza who served the goal to Griezmann.

The situation was the same as in the Super Cup final and Koeman opted for defense. He retired the scorer and added Lenglet. It was time to suffer another ending without repeating recurring mistakes. This time, the team fought back with the ball and won. Regardless, the ship goes.

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