Barcelona topple Tottenham on penalties after 2-2 draw
Pasadena (United States) (AFP)
Summer signing Arthur marked his Barcelona bow with a mouthwatering goal, as the La Liga champions beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in Pasadena, California.
Both sides were without their big names for the International Champions Cup clash, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris all still recovering from their exertions at the World Cup.
But Arthur, Barcelona’s 40 million euro signing from Brazilian side Gremio, caught the eye with a lovely first-half finish, to add to Munir’s opener for the Catalans.
Spurs had struggled to exert themselves in the opening 45 minutes, but after Barcelona made a raft of changes at the interval, Mauricio Pochettino’s men levelled proceedings with two goals in as many minutes. Son Heung-min and Georges-Kevin N'koudou both pounced on the rebound to profit from suspect defending.
Barcelona won the penalty shoot-out which followed, with new 41 million euro signing Malcom converting the decisive spot-kick.
The early dominance of Ernesto Valverde's side paid off with a 15th minute opener after a devastatingly simple approach ripped the Spurs' defence apart.
Andre Gomes delivered an inswinging cross from the left, Rafinha escaped at the far post and headed the ball back into the six-yard box, where Munir cushioned it into the net from point-blank range.
A second arrived courtesy of a sublime strike from Arthur. Rafinha laid the ball back to the midfielder on the edge of the area and he effortlessly swept it into the far top corner beyond the helpless Gazzaniga.
Christian Eriksen produced Tottenham’s first meaningful effort in the 32nd minute, with a free-kick from 25 yards that was pushed away to his left by Jasper Cillessen.
The woodwork denied Eriksen from another set piece six minutes after the restart, when his right-footed free-kick bounced awkwardly for Cillessen and crashed back off the outside of the post.
Malcom was a whisker away from marking his first Barcelona appearance with a 65th minute goal when he took on right-back Serge Aurier and fired in a low shot towards the near post which was smartly diverted behind by Michel Vorm.
Spurs' comeback began in the 72nd minute after the Barcelona defence failed to deal with Ben Davies’ left wing cross. Eriksen saw his shot blocked, but Son latched onto the rebound to divert a shot into the unguarded net.
A leveller arrived two minutes later after Barcelona again struggled with a low cross, this time from the right. Eriksen’s shot was cleared off the line, but academy product N'koudou pounced with a volley from inside the six-yard box.
In the subsequent penalty shoot-out, Anthony Georgiou missed for Spurs, with Barcelona converting all five of their spot-kicks.
© 2018 AFP