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Barcelona v Chelsea Live Commentary, 23/07/2019

1 - 2
I. Rakitić (90+1)
T. Abraham (34)
R. Barkley (81)
Saitama Stadium 2002


That’s all we have time for. Until next time, goodbye!
Chelsea now head back to the United Kingdom, with Reading next up on Sunday. Barca, meanwhile, face Vissel Kobe in their next outing.
A deserved victory for Chelsea, who have won 2-1 thanks to goals from Abraham and Barkley, with Rakitic hammering home a late consolation. It is a disappointing start to Barca’s pre-season campaign, though Valverde’s main aim would have been for his players – including debutant Griezmann, who looked sharp at times during the first half – to boost their fitness.
90' + 1' Malcom will be credited with the assist after he sent a neat pass into Rakitic’s feet, though the Croatia star had plenty of work to do.
I. Rakitić
90' + 1' HE GETS THAT ONE RIGHT! RAKITIC MAKES IT 2-1! That is an exquisite finish from Rakitic, who from 25 yards out, thumps in a fantastic strike that whistles beyond Kepa and into the top corner.
90' Rakitic tries his luck from a free-kick 20 yards out, but gets far too much power and height on his strike, which soars over.
89' No major problem for Kenedy, and he will be fine to continue for the short amount of time that is left in this game.
88' Kenedy has gone down and needs treatment after taking a knock a few moments ago.
87' Barca’s players – despite only coming on at half-time – definitely look to be struggling somewhat with their fitness, and it is clear they still have plenty of work to do in their pre-season programme.
85' Tomori has looked composed since coming on in place of Christensen, and with Zouma seemingly likely to stay put, Lampard has four solid defensive options to choose from. That is without counting Antonio Rudiger, of course, with the Germany international still out with a long-term injury.
83' Rafinha has played well since his introduction at half-time, and a smart turn gets him away from Drinkwater. The playmaker then tees up Perez, but he is crowded out by Chelsea’s defence.
Marcos Alonso
81' Alonso gets the assist, but all the credit must go to Barkley, who set himself brilliantly before tucking away Chelsea’s second with a fine shot.
R. Barkley
81' BARKLEY MAKES IT 2-0! The midfielder has been impressive since he came on, and now has a goal to cap a fine performance. He created space brilliantly on the edge of the area, before curling in a fine finish just inside of the left-hand upright.
78' CHANCE! Batshuayi has a great opportunity to make it 2-0, but snaps at his close-range shot, and Neto makes a relatively easy stop.
76' Chelsea’s defender is now back on his feet, though doesn’t look to be moving too freely. He is wearing the captain’s armband, with Lampard having publicly declared he has no intention to let the France international – who spent last season on loan at Everton – leave the club.
75' Zouma has gone down following an awkward collision with Rafinha, and the centre-back looks in some pain.
73' That could have been 2-0! Barkley sends a looping pass over the top of Barca’s defence, finding Kenedy. But with just Neto to beat, the Brazilian sends his header well off target.
D. Drinkwater
71' Jorginho has gone off, with Drinkwater coming into the midfield.
T. Bakayoko
71' Bakayoko has come on in place of Azpilicueta.
M. Batshuayi
70' Pedro has made way for Batshuayi.
D. Zappacosta
M. Kovačić
70' Several more changes for Chelsea, now. Zappacosta has replaced Kovacic.
67' Kenedy is certainly causing Barca some problems with his dynamic play down the right, though he just sliced an effort wide on the half-volley, with his weaker right foot.
65' More work for Kepa, but this time he is able to make a comfortable stop from Rakitic, who went for goal from around 25 yards out, but couldn’t make a firm connection with his shot.
63' Good save! Kenedy tries his luck with a strike from 20 yards out. Todibo gets a good to it, but only makes things difficult for Neto, who has to react sharply to parry it off the line.
61' Another save for Kepa, who gets down to his left to keep out a stinging drive from Rafinha. It remains 1-0 to Chelsea.
R. Barkley
M. Mount
60' Another Chelsea change sees Barkley replace Mount.
T. Abraham
60' Abraham, whose goal currently separates the sides, has also gone off, with Kenedy coming on.
O. Giroud
C. Pulisic
60' We have reached the hour mark, and there will be another glut of changes for Chelsea. First, Pulisic makes way for Giroud.
57' Despite only being on the pitch for 10 minutes, De Jong has already had 24 touches, and is starting to make things tick for Barca in the middle. It’s probably a sign of things to come, if last season is anything to go by.
55' Another opportunity for Perez! Malcom lays a neat throughball into the winger’s path, but he could not generate the power to beat Kepa.
53' CHANCE! What a run from Perez! The youngster is currently wearing the number seven shirt, and he displayed similar quality to Philippe Coutinho with a mazy run from the left flank. However, after finding a way through Chelsea’s lines, he could only prod a tame effort straight at Kepa.
51' Barca have certainly started quickly since the break, with De Jong already showing some neat touches in that central midfield anchor role that he occupied so well for Ajax last term.
F. Tomori
A. Christensen
48' Chelsea have now made another change. Tomori, who impressed under Lampard at Derby County last season, is on in place of Christensen.
47' An early opportunity for Malcom, who got in behind Chelsea's line, only to then drag a shot wide from the edge of the area.
46' We are back up and running!
J. Todibo
46' Todibo has replaced Pique in Barca's back line.
Marcos Alonso
46' Emerson has made way for Marcos Alonso in Chelsea's other change.
K. Zouma
David Luiz
46' Chelsea have also made some changes. David Luiz has gone off, with Zouma – who looks to be staying at the club – coming into defence.
Carles Aleñá
Sergi Roberto
46' Roberto has gone off, with Alena coming on.
Guillem Jaime
Jordi Alba
46' Alba has been replaced by Jaime.
Álex Collado
46' Collado has made way for Malcom.
C. Lenglet
S. Umtiti
46' Substitution Samuel Yves Umtiti Clément Lenglet
Carles Pérez
O. Dembélé
46' Dembele has been replaced by Carles Perez.
F. de Jong
Riqui Puig
46' De Jong is on for his Barca debut, replacing Puig.
A. Griezmann
46' Griezmann has been given 45 minutes. Rafinha has replaced the former Atleti star.
I. Rakitić
Sergio Busquets
46' Sergio Busquets – at fault for Chelsea's goal – is taken off. Rakitic is on.
Nélson Semedo
Oriol Busquets
46' Oriol Busquets has made way for Semedo.
M. ter Stegen
46' Indeed, there are plenty of changes for Barca. One of the substitutions sees Ter Stegen make way for Neto, who has signed from Valencia.
There are likely to be wholesale changes for Barca after the break, with De Jong sure to come on for his debut. Chelsea are deep into their pre-season, so Lampard may not make too many alterations at the interval.
Half-time in Japan, with Chelsea leading thanks to Abraham's goal. Though Barca, and in particular Griezmann, have shown flashes of quality, the Blues have been the better side and are deserving of their lead.
45' + 1' Griezmann gets a shot off, but the angle is tight and it soars way over. Could that be his last action today, or will he get a bit more time in the second half?
44' Chelsea are easing there way towards half-time, now. They have certainly looked sharper and fitter than their counterparts, which would be expected as this is Barca’s first pre-season match.
42' CHANCE! Barca could have been level. A loose ball fell kindly to Dembele, who had Griezmann in support. The winger elected to go for goal, however, but could not direct his shot past Kepa.
39' Chelsea think they have another chance to break after a slack bit of play from a Barca midfielder, but this time, David Luiz is adjudged to have committed a foul.
37' Abraham's goal was scored with his third touch in the box, his second being the one he used to get the better of Ter Stegen. His first was that glaring miss slightly earlier on.
34' It was incredibly slack play from Sergio Busquets, who was duly punished by Jorginho. The Italy midfielder had pressed up high, and did well to force the ball into Abrham’s path.
T. Abraham
34' GOAL! CHELSEA LEAD 1-0! A torrid error from Sergio Busquets allows Jorginho to pounce, as he manages to divert the pass into Abraham. He takes an excellent first touch to round Ter Stegen and, despite slipping slightly after that, he still managed to turn home.
33' Griezmann is seeing more and more of the ball now, and is starting to drag Chelsea’s defence around with some smart runs out into the wide areas. So far, though, none of his Barca team-mates have been able to rush into the space he has vacated in the centre, meaning Lampard’s side are able to recover.
32' Excellent play from Griezmann, who finds a pocket of space before teeing up Dembele. The former Borussia Dortmund star takes on a shot, but Pedro – of all the players – is on hand to make a vital block.
30' Griezmann has had 16 touches so far, with all but three of them coming around Chelsea's area. However, only two have come inside the box, and Barca will need that to improve if he is to open his account today.
28' Another chance for Chelsea! A well-worked move results in Azpilicueta drilling a low cross into Pulisic, who sends his first-time effort wide. Promising signs for the Blues, though.
26' End-to-end play, now. Umtiti gets an attempted clearance all wrong, and Mount capitalises. He wastes no time in taking on a snapshot, but can’t keep it on target.
24' Now it’s Griezmann’s turn to blush! Barca burst clear on the counter, with the ball worked wide before a low cross was delivered to the near post. Griezmann looked all set to meet it, but took a wild swing at it and the chance went begging.
23' MISS! That is dreadful from Abraham! The striker will be desperate to impress Lampard today, but has just made a complete mess of what should have been a simple finish. Pulisic’s shot caused havoc for Ter Stegen, but Abraham only managed to skew over from point-blank range on the rebound.
20' Indeed, Griezmann has been judged fit to carry on, and is now back on the pitch. He has an immediate impact, playing a clever, lofted pass over to Alba, but he is dispossessed and the move breaks down.
18' It was certainly a reckless challenge from Jorginho, who is fortunate not to have been punished with a card. Griezmann, however, is back to his feet, and will likely be okay to continue.
17' Oh, this is a worry for Barca! After a collision with Jorginho, Griezmann has gone down clutching his knee, immediately calling for the medical staff to come and give him some treatment.
16' Excellent goalkeeping from Kepa, who races off his line to prevent Dembele latching onto a through ball from Griezmann. Chelsea get up the other end, with Abraham laying it off to Pedro, who can only hammer the shot straight back into his team-mate.
14' Griezmann gets the first chance to stretch his legs, as he hunts down a pass from Roberto. Christensen kept pace with the former Atleti man all the way, though, and manages to nudge the ball out of play before Barca’s number 17 can get there.
12' It has all got a bit ugly between Barca and Atleti when it comes to the finer details of the Griezmann deal, but there is no doubting the forward’s quality. The 28-year-old has not played since the start of June, however, when he featured for France against Andorra, and will likely be looking to use this match to get back up to pace.
10' Though Ernesto Valverde led Barca to a second successive LaLiga title last term, 2018-19 came to a rather disastrous end for the Catalan giants, who succumbed in remarkable fashion to Liverpool in the Champions League before losing to Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, and the pressure could will certainly be on the former Athletic Bilbao boss to improve in the coming campaign, especially with Griezmann now among the ranks.
8' Chelsea have taken the initiative now, and Emerson just drilled in a wonderful cross that Barca’s defence could only turn away for a corner. The Blues are unable to make the set-piece count, though, with Dembele then drawing a foul from Jorginho in order to ease the pressure.
6' Great work from Abraham, who has been handed a chance to impress by Lampard. Given Chelsea are currently serving a transfer ban, the striker could be in line to be a key figure this season, and he very nearly pressed Pique into a mistake. Barca’s centre-back, however, recovered by laying the ball off to Ter Stegen.
4' Kovacic may have switched off defensively moments ago, though he has just shown what he can offer going forward by picking out Azpilicueta with a searching cross. The full-back won the header, but sent it wide.
2' A first chance for Barca! Griezmann beats Kovacic to the corner, and flicks a header to the back post, where Oriol Busquets – wearing the same number 16 that his namesake Sergio used to occupy – meets it. However, the youngster cannot keep his effort down, and Kepa is not tested.
1' Already, Barca are on the front foot as they press high to win possession, with Puig threading a neat pass wide to Alba. Griezmann made a darting run to the near post, but the cross is cut out and deflected for a corner.
1' KICK-OFF! Chelsea, playing in their all-white away strip, get proceedings up and running.
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch at Saitama Stadium. There is an actual piece of silverware at stake for Barca's tour – which also includes a clash with Vissel Kobe, who count Camp Nou legend Andres Iniesta within their ranks. But, it is all really about fitness and gearing up for the season proper, with all eyes set to be on Griezmann.
While Barca’s last match was the Copa del Rey final defeat to Valencia, Lampard has overseen three Chelsea fixtures so far. The Blues lost 1-0 to Kawasaki Frontale last time out, and there are five changes in total, with Pulisic – signed from Borussia Dortmund in January but loaned back to the Bundesliga club for the rest of last season – handed his first start.
CHELSEA SUBS: Marcos Alonso, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley, Willy Caballero, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kurt Zouma, Kenedy, Olivier Giroud, Davide Zappacosta, Michy Batshuayi, Fikayo Tomori, Kasey Palmer, Jamie Cumming.
CHELSEA (4-2-3-1): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson; Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic; Pedro, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic; Tammy Abraham.
The big news is, Griezmann starts! The France star leads the line for Barca, in what would seem to be a 4-3-3 system. He is joined up top by compatriot Dembele. Barca players involved in the Copa America final will not take part in this match, with Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho still on break, while Luis Suarez is also yet to come back to training. There is no full debut for De Jong, though he is sure to come on from the bench at some point.
BARCELONA SUBS: Jeanclair Todibo, Inaki Pena, Clement Lenglet, Carles Perez, Guillem Jaime, Neto, Rafinha, Nelson Semedo, Frenkie de Jong, Carles Alena, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Ronald Araujo, Malcom.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Oriol Busquets, Riqui Puig; Alex Collado, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele.
After plenty of speculation, Griezmann joined Barca for a huge fee of €120million. The World Cup winner spent five seasons playing under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, becoming a global superstar in the process, and now has the chance to go onto become a great at Camp Nou.
Today’s Rakuten Cup meeting takes place at the Saitama Stadium, in Japan, with both of these sides taking part in a tour of the country. While Chelsea’s pre-season preparations are already well underway, this is the first match for LaLiga holders Barca, and the first chance for fans to cast their eyes over Frenkie de Jong and, of course, Antoine Griezmann in the famous Blaugrana jersey.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of this pre-season friendly between Barcelona and Chelsea!