There were at least two Brazilian players who stole the attention from Sunday last night to Monda. Raphinha and Casemiro. Unfortunately, both of them became a byword for different reasons. The first named player appeared as a hero when Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao in Week 25 of La Liga 2022/2023.
A few hours earlier Casemiro had occupied the trending topic shortly after receiving a red card in the match between Manchester United and Southampton. Casemiro was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor in the 34th minute. A tragic moment that not only disturbed the player and his teammates, but also the fans who packed Old Trafford.
The difference in the fate of the two players also determines the final outcome of each team. Raphinha appeared as a hero thanks to the only goal at the end of the first half. The agile winger successfully completed Sergio Busquets’ bait in injury time. His shot past Julen Agirrezabala was met by a yellow flag from the assistant referee.
Luckily, from replays, VAR finally overturned the decision. The former Leeds United striker is in an “onside” position. This was the 26-year-old player’s second goal in two consecutive matches. Clear goals are very important for the Blaugrana.
It was not easy for the Catalonian giants to bring home perfect points from San Mames. The hosts put up a tough fight. Barca did lead in ball possession and the number of opportunities. “Ball possession” 63 percent versus 37 percent in favor of Barca is not automatically directly proportional to the opportunity.
The host actually has more “shots” and “shots on target”. Of the 15 trials, five of them were right on target. Barca, which was only able to carve out two shots on target from 10 attempts, had to work hard to overcome Bilbao’s attack, which was driven by Inaki Williams.
The second half was full of struggle for Barca. Xavi Hernandez’s fleet had to fight hard to prevent the goal from being conceded. Williams has threatened twice in a row. The player even had time to make the Bilbao supporters cheer. Good luck for the visiting team. VAR decided the player committed a handball.
Until the referee actually blew the long whistle, Barcelona’s goal continued to receive threats. Oier Zarraga threatened in stoppage time. There was Jules Kounde who thwarted him.
Another credit deserved goes to Marc-Andre ter Stegen. In addition to thwarting Williams’ chances, the senior German goalkeeper also made brilliant saves from the efforts of Alex Berenguer and Iker Muniain.
This victory makes Barcelona go home with three points. Their position is increasingly comfortable at the top of the standings. With 65 points in hand, Barcelona extended their advantage over Real Madrid to nine points.
At the same time, this is an important capital to be involved in El Clasico at the Nou Camp in the next week, Monday (20/3/2023) in the morning WIT to be precise. While Bilbao may say they are out of luck. However, this cannot avoid the fact of the 10th defeat of the season. Ernersto Valverde’s team is still struggling at the bottom, stuck in ninth place with 33 points.
Yes, the 31-year-old player had to leave the field early. The aftermath of a foul on Carlos Alcaraz finally brought him closer to bad luck. The Red Devils are furious. Anthony Taylor, who originally sent a yellow card for a tackle that first hit the top of the ball before hitting the Soton striker, then canceled it after reviewing the VAR.
This is a serious blow for the player who since leaving the establishment at Real Madrid last summer has had to face challenges that are not easy. The experienced midfielder had to face a four-match ban. Previously he received a red card when beating Crystal Palace 2-1 last month.
The aftermath of Will Hughes’ disciplinary action strangling his neck kept him out of action for the Red Devils to face Leeds United and Leicester City. He only returned to the team last weekend when his team were humiliated by Liverpool seven goals without reply at Anfield.
Coupled with an automatic sanction in three matches, he must lose all domestic matches until mid-April. He will miss the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Fulham. Then, the English Premier League matches against Newcastle United, Brentford and Everton. Casemiro was only able to play when his team visited the City Ground, the headquarters of Nottingham Forest.
The weight of the penalty could be reduced if United appealed and was successful. Red card in domestic matches will not affect the European level. Casemiro will still appear against Real Betis in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16 in mid-week.
The red card that Casemiro received really affected United’s game. A reliable and almost irreplaceable figure in midfield. With the advantage in the number of players, the visitors were able to dominate the game. With 53 percent possession of the ball, the team coached by Ruben Selles was able to release 17 attempts and four of them hit the target.
United are indeed disappointed because they can only reap one point in Week 27. The Red Devils were lucky in the midst of the domination of the bottom occupants team, they could still get points rather than nothing.
One point that makes the points collection to 50. However, their position in third place is not completely safe from the pursuit of Tottenham Hotspur with a difference of two points.
On the other hand, for Southampton, this result was a ray of hope in the midst of the complicated situation that surrounded them. In the position of being the occupant of the protruding order, their appearance slightly improved.
They have collected seven points from four games since Nathan Jones was sacked on 12 February. The flame of hope that they can get out of the relegation zone they have occupied since the end of October seems to be getting brighter.