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Goal Star Strikers
August 2, 2014
• Allianz Riviera, Nice
Referee: R. Buquet
• Attendance: 21847
D. Cvitanich 21'
Thank you for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed the action. Farewell until next time.
The referee blows his whistle to end the match and Nice take away a valuable and well-earned draw against Spanish giants Barcelona. The French side had their moments and did impress in spells, but Barcelona ultimately controlled the vast majority of the match and deserved at least a draw. Xavi spared their blushes by netting a second-half penalty, but they could, and probably should, have claimed a victory, but they were effectively denied by the post as Sandro struck the goal frame after coming off the bench.
90' + 5'
90' + 4'
Great late chance for Bartra as he roams forward with the ball through the middle and, after being invited towards the area, he strikes just wide.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Alexy Bosetti
90' + 2'
Bosetti gets himself a yellow card for a very high foul on Masip, as he effectively had his legs wrapped around the youngster's head.
90' + 1'
There will be three minutes of stoppage time.
HALILOVIC GOES CLOSE! Again Deulofeu causes havoc by coming in from the left and, although he can't get a shot away, the ball is worked back to Halilovic about 25 yards out and his first-time strike is deflected just wide.
Barca have seen a number of promising attacks ended by careless runs from Sandro is the last 10 minutes or so. Again he goes too early as he looks to latch on to Xavi's fantastic pass and the attack comes to an end.
Lovely feet from Xavi as he slaloms between a couple of Nice defenders and then plays Deulofeu in to his left. The youngster plays a one-two with Rakitic, but he then tries to do too much and gives possession back to the hosts.
Barcelona are piling on the pressure at the moment. Nice are struggling to keep hold of the ball and the visitors are looking imperious in attack, with the likes of Deulofeu and Rakitic causing lots of problems.
SANDRO HITS THE POST! Deulofeu does brilliantly to jink is way through the penalty area. Eventually he gets a shot away and it is deflected to Sandro at the back post, but he can only hit his shot on to the left-hand post.
The corner is cleared behind almost immediately, meaning Barcelona have to settle for another. Again Rakitic curls the ball into the area, but Cardinale punches it away.
Corner to Barcelona. Sandro does well to find space down the left in behind the Nice defenders, but he is unable to squeeze his cross into the centre as it is deflected behind.
Meanwhile, Bautheac, Hult and Puel come off for Nice. On come Bosetti, Benhrama and Palun.
Munir El Haddadi
Here come a few more changes. Munir heads back to the bench following an encouraging cameo and he is replaced by Sandro.
There are plenty of challenges flying in here, from both sides. I'm sure Luis Enrique won't appreciate any of his key men picking up an injuries in this!
Barcelona are claiming for another penalty! Deulofeu races into the area, holding off a couple of players, dribbling past another and then running into Genevois. The referee is right not to award a penalty, though.
This is all Barcelona at the moment. They are pushing heavily from the front, but Nice are doing well to hold their own at the moment. The Ligue 1 side also look threatening on the counter.
Nice are straight back on the attack as they look to restore their lead. They win themselves a free-kick on the left and Bautheac delivers it into the area, but it is just slightly too high for everyone.
Penalty Goal Xavi
GOAL!!! BARCELONA LEVEL! Xavi confidently wanders up to take the spot-kick and he nets in confident fashion.
PENALTY TO BARCA! Rakitic fires the free-kick into the danger zone and, after the ball bounces around a bit, Munir pounces and is subsequently tripped.
After that batch of changes, Barcelona win themselves a free-kick in a great position, about 30 yards from the Nice goal.
And now Barcelona make a few more changes. Edgar Le and Grimaldo replace Mathieu and Alba, while Cardinale replaces the injured Hassen in goal for Nice.
Nice keeper Hassen appears to be struggling here. He clashes with Deulofeu and seems to have picked up an injury. It looks like he is being forced off.
Here come a couple more Nice changes. Pied and Eyserric head for the bench, while Honorat and Rafetraniaina come on.
Cvitanich has impressed today and his day comes to an end as he is replaced by Maupay.
ALMOST A SECOND FOR NICE! Bautheac finds space down the left and charges into the final third. The midfielder crosses across the edge of the area, but Pied strikes wide.
Xavi is pulling the strings once again from the middle. This time he lofts a pass into the area for Halilovic, who attempts to bring the ball down on his chest. His touch is a little heavy and Hassen pounces.
Barcelona are looking much more fluid at the start of this second half, but that can't be too much of a surprise considering the likes of Xavi are now on. The Barcelona talisman is at the centre of things again here, slipping a clever pass in towards Deulofeu, but the attacker's first touch is not good enough and Nice recover.
BIG STOP FROM HASSEN! Munir shows excellent urgency to close down multiple attempted clearances and he manages to pounce in the area, but he strikes straight at Hassen from close range.
Decent early chance for Barcelona. Halilovic comes in from the right and squares to Xavi, who immediately slips Rakitic into the area. The Croatian slices his effort well over, however.
Strong challenge from Beutheac as he goes flying in on Patric from behind. He concedes a free-kick, but the Frenchman escapes any further sanction.
Bartra, Samper, Deulofeu, Rakitic, Munir, Xavi and Halilovic enter the fray, while Pique, Busquets, Pedro, Iniesta, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto and Adama head for the bench.
Munir El Haddadi
Nice start the second half. Barcelona have made a number of changes and they shall be confirmed as soon as possible.
Barcelona go into the break 1-0 down thanks to Dario Cvitanich's 21st-minute penalty. The French side have given a very good account for themselves and they have caused Barcelona a few problems. Luis Enrique's men have generally dominated possession and they have had a few chances, but they have not been overly impressive.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Iniesta
That's a strong tackle from Iniesta and he is the latest player to go into the referee's book after going in hard on Cvitanich. This has been a fairly ill-tempered first half.
Nice started with great purpose, but Barcelona have since grown in confidence and they are currently, unsurprisingly, dominating possession.
Yellow Card Jordan Amavi
Barca play the free-kick short, as Pedro works it over towards the left side of the area and Alba strikes it with a first-time effort which is palmed away by Hassen.
Fantastic run by Adama as he picks up possession inside in his own half and carries it all the way to the edge of the Nice area. He is eventually stopped in his tracks, though, and wins a free-kick.
Off goes Montoya. The right-back is replaced by Patric.
Montoya, who received a knock earlier is going to be forced off here. The right-back clashed with Amavi in the process of winning a corner. He appears to have injured his right ankle.
Nice give Pedro way too much space out on the left flank as the Spain international bursts past Puel and crosses. The delivery takes a slight deflection and hits the crossbar on its way out.
Good free-kick delivery from the right by Eyserric, but Mathieu atones from his previous mistake and nods the ball away in commanding fashion.
Mathieu is caught out there. Eyserric receives a pass into feet on the right and knocks the ball past the Barca defender, who is forced to commit a foul.
Rafinha relieves Pedro of his free-kick taking duties on this occasion and his effort is a little better. The ball takes at least one deflection on its way through, but luckily for Hassen it strikes him rather than the back of the net.
Rafinha does well as he charges through the middle, skipping past a couple of changes before getting bundled over on the edge of the area. Free-kick to Barca.
Lovely deep cross from Alba as he drops the ball between Nice centre-backs for the lurking Pedro, but the forward's first touch takes the ball away from him and Hassen collects.
It has been a rather stop-start first half, with a smattering of fouls not helping the general fluid of the match. Barcelona win themselves another free-kick now, just inside their own half as Rafinha is tripped by Mendy.
Luis Enrique has another problem now. Montoya received a bit of a kick and is in need of some medical attention. The right-back trudges off the pitch, while Halilovic warms up.
That's a waste. Pedro delivers the free-kick and, although it beats the wall, it is cleared by one of the first defenders in the area. The visitors have not been very impressive so far.
Barcelona have another free-kick now, this time on the left flank after Pedro from fouled by Puel. This is a great opportunity for an instant reply.
Yellow Card Jérémy Pied
Pied sees his name go into the referee's book as he hassles Busquets, kicking the Spaniard a couple of times and giving away a free-kick.
Yellow Card Piqué
Penalty Goal Darío Cvitanich
GOAL!!! NICE TAKE THE LEAD! Cvitanich steps up and confidently buries the penalty, beating Ter Stegen from 12 yards to give Nice a 1-0 lead.
PENALTY! Nice win themselves a great chance to take the lead! Cvitanich rises to meet a cross from the left and he is nudged in the back back Pique and the referee points to the spot.
Adama twists and turns on the right flank and he tries to charge past Amavi. The Barca man manages to skip past his marker and looks ready to cross, but he ultimately runs the ball straight out of play.
Important covering tackle from Pique. Amavi had been released down the left and youngster's pace provided an ominous threat to the Barca defence, but the former Manchester United man came across well and put in an excellent challenge.
Barcelona started well enough, but Nice have definitely grown into this and improved. They are enjoying much more of the ball and stroking it around amongst themselves currently.
Bautheac needs a bit of medical attention now after clashing with Sergi Roberto in the middle. He appears to be able to continue, though.
Barcelona almost craft a scoring opportunity as Pedro looks to race on to a pass over the Nice defence and the forward appears set to bring the ball down. However, he can't quite get the all-important touch and Hassen collects.
Ter Stegen is forced into action again by Nice. Cvitanich breaks with speed after nudging Pique off the ball, but he is forced to cut the ball back to find support. He picks out Eyserric, who tries his luck from about 35 yards, but Ter Stegen saves with ease.
TER STEGEN DENIES! Bautheac steps up to take the free-kick, striking a low effort in towards goal. The ball deflects off the wall and appears to be heading from the bottom-right corner, but the goalkeeper palms it away.
Strong challenge from Mathieu as he clatters Cvitanich from behind about 25 yards from his own goal, subsequently conceding a free-kick. This is a very good position for the hosts.
Nice already appear to be struggling with Barcelona's high pressing. The visitors' defensive line is effectively on the halfway line, while Rafina, Pedro and Adama are harrying from the front.
Mathieu's first involvement in a Barca jersey sees him invite pressure on to himself just inside his own half, but he cleverly skips past Pied and plays the ball forward.
Finally, Barcelona start the match. Just ten minutes later than originally expected.
Don't worry, we aren't experiencing technical difficulties or anything. It's just that the pre-match build-up has included the singing of two songs. Kick-off is just nine minutes late so far.
The two sides are now lining up in the tunnel as kick-off approaches.
Meanwhile, fellow new signings Ivan Rakitic, Alen Halilovic and Claudio Bravo start on the Barcelona bench, while Gerard Deulofeu, fresh from his loan spell in England with Everton, also sits among the subs.
Jeremy Mathieu make his first start for Barca today following his €20m move from Valencia, meaning there is an all-new centre-back partnership for Luis Enrique's men. The Frenchman pairs Gerard Pique at the back, while experienced campaigners such as Busquets and Andres Iniesta are set to combine with the youngster generation, as Sergi Roberto, Adama Traore and Rafinha all start.
Barcelona subs: Bravo, Edgar Le, Bartra, Deulofeu, Afellay, Rakitic, Masip, Patric, Xavi, Halilovic, Grimaldo, Munir El Haddadi, Sandro, Sergi Samper.
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Montoya, Piqué, Mathieu, Alba; Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta; Adama, Rafinha, Pedro.
Nice subs: Cardinale, Lloris, Albert, Benhrama, Bosetti, Honorat, Maupay.
Nice starting XI: Hassen; Puel, Genevois, Bodmer, Amavi; Eyserric, Mendy, Hult; Pied, Cvitanich, Bautheac.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Hello and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of the pre-season clash between French club OGC Nice and Spanish giants Barcelona. The setting for today's match is the Allianz Riviera, Nice on the south coast of France and I, Ryan Benson, will be describing the action for you today.
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