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Barcelona v Deportivo Alavés Live Commentary, 30/10/2021

FT
1 - 1
BAR
ALA
M. Depay (49)
Luis Rioja (52)
Camp Nou

Commentary

That's all from Camp Nou today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
Barcelona hope to fare better when they hit the road during the next week, as they visit Kiev and Vigo to take on Dynamo and Celta respectively, while Alaves will take their three-game unbeaten streak back home to the Basque Country, where they host Levante next Saturday.
A stunning second-half strike by Depay aside, the post-Koeman era starts in forgettable fashion for Barcelona, as they are held to a 1-1 draw by modest but committed opponents. The hosts' lack of penetration continues to haunt them, and a handful of potential injury concerns - with both Aguero and Pique forced off during the match - will trouble temporary boss Sergi ahead of their return to Champions League action next week. Alaves, meanwhile, were worthy of a point for their dogged defensive resistance and clinical finishing when the chance finally presented itself.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 1-1 DEPORTIVO ALAVES
90' + 2' Desperation leads Garcia to raise his foot well above head height in a contest for the ball in the Alaves area. He is lucky to avoid a booking, as surely Barcelona's last chance to win it drifts by.
90' Once again Balde betrays his inexperience, as he excitedly miscontrols a flicked Depay pass on the byline and Alaves gratefully receive a goal kick.
88' Balde is lured into conceding a free-kick deep inside his own half, relieving the pressure on Alaves a little. From the cross, Ter Stegen has to stay alert to field a downward header by Lejeune.
86' A central free-kick from 25 yards by Depay finds only the head of Laguardia, who has remained rock-solid so far for Alaves.
83' Coutinho cannot conjure up his inner Messi, and blazes his free-kick attempt clean over the crossbar.
Rubén Duarte
Yellow Card
Deportivo Alavés
82' For a slight shove on the edge of the area, Duarte goes into the referee's notebook, conceding a dangerously placed free-kick in the process.
Álex Baldé
Nico González
Barcelona
80' The injured Gonzalez finally makes way for his fellow Barcelona youngster Balde.
A. Ezzalzouli
Óscar Mingueza
Barcelona
80' A proud moment for Ezzalzouli, of Barcelona B, as he replaces Mingueza for the final 10 minutes.
Manu García
Toni Moya
Deportivo Alavés
80' Moya also comes off, for Manu Garcia to replace him.
M. Sylla
Joselu
Deportivo Alavés
80' Alaves look to preserve their precious point, as Sylla comes on for Joselu, who has put in quite a shift up front.
77' A forceful punch clear by Sivera inadvertently sets up a brief Alaves counter, but Barcelona snuff it out quickly enough and resume their relentless final-third probing.
75' Incredibly, another player looks to have been struck down by injury, as a struggling Gonzalez is making the universal sign for 'substitute me' to the Barcelona bench.
74' On the break, Alaves have a rare chance to split the Barcelona defence, but Rioja chooses the wrong option in trying to slide an impossible ball through to Joselu 20 yards from goal.
72' Puig, Depay and Coutinho combine just outside the Alaves area, but the final ball is too slow and the visitors can clear. A corner in the aftermath is then firmly headed away by Loum near the penalty spot.
Riqui Puig
Gavi
Barcelona
70' Sergi now plumps for Puig as his next substitution, with young Gavi being withdrawn from the fray.
C. Lenglet
Piqué
Barcelona
70' The injured Pique accepts his fate and makes way for Lenglet in the Barcelona back four.
68' The injuries are mounting up, as Pique appears to be limping a little and his continued participation could be in jeopardy here. 
66' Following today's goal, Rioja has now scored five times in 74 La Liga appearances, including twice against Barcelona last season. He was the only player to score in both games against the Catalans in the 2020-21 campaign and now has three in a row!
64' Laguardia is forced to clear for a throw-in from deep inside the Alaves area, as the home side keep pushing for a second goal to recover their all-too-brief lead.
Pina
Pere Pons
Deportivo Alavés
62' Pons is the second man to be taken off by the visitors, and Pina is brought on to replace him.
F. Pellistri
Edgar Méndez
Deportivo Alavés
62' Alaves have opted to make a couple of changes, and Mendez is withdrawn for Pellistri to join the action in his place.
60' GOOD SAVE! Once again Depay is at the cutting edge of a Barcelona attack, and Sivera is called upon to block his well-struck shot from just inside the area. That was some proactive keeping, as he did well to narrow the angle.
58' OFF THE POST! Gavi does brilliantly to slalom through the Alaves defence, finding Depay with a short pass, but the Dutchman dinks his effort against the left-hand post from around 10 yards out. Nearly, but not quite!
56' A hopeful 25-yarder from Alba arrows over the crossbar, leaving Sivera glancing helplessly at the ball as it zips over head.
54' Sivera saves an attempt from Coutinho, whose right-footed shot from the left side of the box is straight at the Alaves goalkeeper.
Joselu
Assist
Deportivo Alavés
52' Joselu was involved in the build-up, as he got a touch on the ball for Rioja to latch on to and finish in fine style.
Luis Rioja
Goal
Deportivo Alavés
52' ALAVES EQUALISE! Rioja hits the net for the Basque underdogs, as the resistance of both Busquets and Pique melts on the edge of the area, and the forward fires past a stranded Ter Stegen. 1-1 at Camp Nou!
Jordi Alba
Assist
Barcelona
49' Alba played the ball inside to Depay deep inside the Alaves half, but it was the former Lyon man who did all the hard work to go on and score.
M. Depay
Goal
Barcelona
49' WHAT A GOAL! A truly wonderful curling strike from Depay finds the top corner, after the Dutch striker cut inside with a drop of the shoulder and took aim from 20 yards. Barcelona have a lead to match their dominance: 1-0 to the Blaugrana!
47' To start the second half, Barcelona are moving the ball with a little more urgency. An injection of pace has been sorely needed.
46' Barcelona get us back under way at Camp Nou!
Not all that surprisingly, Barcelona's dominance of the ball has translated into a whopping 80 per cent of first-half possession, but they have managed only three shots on goal. Meanwhile, battling Alaves have won a greater number of duels than their more illustrious rivals, as they look forward to another 45 minutes of rearguard action.
A briefly bright start by Barcelona has failed to mask the Catalans' deficiencies so far, as they settled into a familiar rhythm of midfield dominance without any incisive attacking play. Their forwards look like strangers, while Alaves have defended quite comfortably, apart from Garcia's headed opportunity which could have given Sergi's men the lead. Unless the interim coach comes up with something radical during the break, it seems we're set for for more of the same in the second half. 
45' + 6' HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 0-0 DEPORTIVO ALAVES
Sivera
Yellow Card
Deportivo Alavés
45' + 5' Remarkably, it seems Sivera has been booked for time-wasting just before the interval. He was particularly slow to get the game restarted.
45' + 4' An overhit Depay free-kick from the right almost finds Busquets free at the back post, but the veteran's slide cannot keep the ball alive.
45' + 3' It is aimless stuff at Camp Nou, the crowd are already starting to sound restless as Barcelona toil fruitlessly in the space between the halfway line and their visitors' box.
45' + 1' We are entering five minutes of stoppage time, due to the unfortunate injuries which have afflicted either side. 
44' Depay opens his body out on the right side of the box and stings the palms of Sivera with a firmly hit shot, which is struck too centrally to cause serious bother to the Alaves goalkeeper. 
Philippe Coutinho
S. Agüero
Barcelona
42' After an on-field assessment, the tearful Aguero is considered unfit to continue and is replaced by Coutinho.
42' It has been a fairly fought affair so far, but both sides losing a man through injury has only added to the disjointed feel of this first half.
38' Following an awkward clash in the area, Aguero lies prone on the pristine Camp Nou turf. This could be serious, as he needs help to reach the touchline and appears in some pain.
36' Depay wins a free-kick high up on the left, though - once more - the set-piece opportunity is frittered away casually by Barcelona.
33' As Laguardia's interception spins up onto Gavi's hand, the young midfielder is penalised. Alaves use the opportunity to advance a few yards up the pitch, but cannot force an opening. 
31' An over-eager Dest concedes a free-kick close to the byline, as he tries to latch onto a loose ball. For all their dominance in midfield, Barcelona are lacking some cohesion in the final third.
29' Mendez sneaks in at the back post to get his head on a long, looping free-kick from the left, but steers his attempt well wide of Ter Stegen's goal.
28' Some cool defending by Lejeune averts danger just inside the Alaves box, as the Frenchman stands firm to block out the advancing Gonzalez.
26' Another enforced Alaves change is in the offing, as a grim-faced Duarte receives treatment from the medics.
24' With more than two-thirds of the possession so far, Barcelona are controlling this encounter entirely. Their opponents have yet to offer a serious threat on the break, so it could be a case of attack versus defence for the rest of the game.
22' A slightly wild slash at the ball from the edge of the area sends an ambitious Aguero effort spiralling wide of the right-hand post.
Martín Aguirregabiria
Ximo Navarro
Deportivo Alavés
19' Navarro has pulled up with an apparent muscular injury, so Aguirregabiria is prematurely brought into the action in his place.
18' GOOD SAVE! Pressure from Depay earns a third Barcelona corner, as Lejeune is forced to clear behind. A fourth then results, from which Garcia's header is blocked at close range by Sivera. That was a sharp stop!
15' Barcelona have scored only 15 goals so far this season in La Liga. This represents their lowest figure at this stage since the 2003-04 campaign under Frank Rijkaard.
13' Barcelona's second corner fails to reach the area, and is then headed clear by Joselu at the near post at the second attempt.
11' Alaves concede a corner as a volleyed Alba cross is cut out near the byline. However, the set-piece is effectively wasted, and Barcelona must build again from midfield. 
10' Depay jinks his way into the left side of the area and stands up an inviting cross, but Aguero's nod-down fails to find a teammate.
8' Before today's game, Barcelona had not lost any of their 20 last games at home to Basque opponents in La Liga. Incidentally, their last such loss came against Alaves in September 2016.
6' A persistent Aguero forces his way onto the ball in the box, but his cutback is just too high for any of his colleagues to make contact with and Alaves manage to clear.
4' A crunching challenge by Busquets on Mendez sees Barcelona concede a free-kick near the halfway line, but nothing comes of it for the visitors.
2' As expected, Alaves have camped themselves within their own half so far, with Barcelona calmly probing in search of an opening.
1' We are under way in Barcelona!
The players are out at Camp Nou, with kick-off fast approaching!
While Barcelona fans will be expecting a fresh approach to yield quick results in today's game, the omens are not good for stand-in coach Sergi, who has failed to win any of his three managerial games against Alaves - with both Almeria and Recreativo de Huelva.
Interim Barcelona coach Sergi has recalled Mingueza and Gavi to the hosts' starting XI today, after they were consigned to the bench in the defeat at Rayo Vallecano which ended Koeman’s doomed reign. Sergi Roberto is out of action due to a muscle strain, while Ousmane Dembele is not considered fit enough to feature despite recently returning to training. Meanwhile, Sergi includes two players from his Barcelona B team in the matchday squad: Abde Ezzalzouli and Alvaro Sanz. Alaves bring Moya into midfield, with Mendez selected ahead of Facundo Pellistri in attack.
SUBS: Jesus Owono, Javi Lopez, Manu Garcia, Facundo Pellistri, Tachi, Tomas Pina, Mamadou Sylla, John Guidetti, Martin Aguirregabiria, Matt Miazga, Ivan Martin, Saul Garcia.
DEPORTIVO ALAVES (4-2-3-1): Antonio Sivera; Ximo Navarro, Victor Laguardia, Florian Lejeune, Ruben Duarte; Mamadou Loum, Toni Moya; Edgar Mendez, Pere Pons, Luis Rioja; Joselu.
SUBS: Neto, Inaki Pena, Philippe Coutinho, Luuk de Jong, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Yusuf Demir, Alvaro Sanz, Alejandro Balde, Riqui Puig.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Nicolas Gonzalez, Pablo Gaviria; Sergino Dest, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay.
Meanwhile Alaves arrive in Catalonia full of confidence, as they have picked up maximum points from their last two outings without conceding a goal: winning 2-0 at Cadiz last weekend before posting a 1-0 victory over Elche on Tuesday. However, the Basque side suffered a 5-1 defeat when they last visited Camp Nou back in February and have only once kept a clean sheet away to Barcelona in La Liga.
Between managers and languishing in a mid-table spot in the La Liga standings, Barcelona have - almost unthinkably - lost four of their last six matches in all competitions. The Catalan giants sacked much-derided manager Ronald Koeman following Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano, and Barcelona B boss Sergi Barjuan is his interim replacement in the Camp Nou dugout. 
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou!