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Barcelona v Huesca Live Commentary, 15/03/2021

4 - 1
L. Messi (13)
A. Griezmann (35)
Óscar Mingueza (53)
L. Messi (90)
Rafa Mir (45+4 pen)
Camp Nou


There's just the one more game for both sides before the spring international break gets underway then. For Huesca, they return home to face Osasuna. For Barcelona, a trip to Real Sociedad awaits. Until then however, thank you for joining us - and have a great week!
Another word of appreciation for Lionel Messi? Go on then. He'll be in Qatar next year, surely, with Argentina, in what will be his final shot at the one major honour to elude him in the game. After the disappointment of Russia, he'll be determined to make amends - and if he conducts his side like this, he'll have a great chance.
Ronald Koeman will have much to be pleased about. That strange penalty at the end of the first half is effectively the only blemish his side have to show - and after the frustrations of Europe, it is a much needed tonic for the troops. Pacheta still has his work cut out for him.
A Lionel Messi double, a delightful Antoine Griezmann strike and a lovely header from Oscar Mingueza do the damage for Barcelona - and keep them firmly in the title hunt in La Liga as they run out comfortable victors over lowly Huesca at Camp Nou. At full-time, it has finished Barcelona 4-1 Huesca.
90' + 1' With that strike - the icing on the cake as such now - we're into the first of three added minutes.
90' It is Trincao who does the work, cutting a path through the middle of a tired Huesca defence before playing Messi on outside him on the right - but the Argentine's step back into the middle to tee up his shot is lovely too.
L. Messi
90' GOAL! LIONEL MESSI BAGS A DOUBLE TO SEAL THE DEAL FOR BARCELONA! 4-1! The Argentine curls a sweet strike past Fernandez from outside the box, off his left boot and into the bottom corresponding corner. Game, set and match to the Blaugrana.
89' Messi continues to make some evergreen strides down that wing right now. Huesca just look ragged, trying to keep him from breaking forward.
87' If they can have a fourth, Barcelona will. Jordi Alba is caught offside now as he tries to slip through downfield, chasing a Moriba ball.
Riqui Puig
85' Ricard Puig meanwhile replaces Pedri for the hosts too. It's all about running down the clock intelligently for Ronald Koeman's side.
M. Braithwaite
O. Dembélé
85' Martin Braithwaite is on for the final few minutes in place of Dembele for Barcelona here.
84' Huesca have just switched off now. They're out of ideas, exhausted. They've thrown a lot in this half without it ever quite coming off and Barca have never been too stretched by their attempts, save the odd occasion.
82' Mir pops a solid delivery into the Barca box, but the ball catches too much height and drifts over the crossbar.
80' Into the final 10 minutes now and Barca look set to keep that impressive unbeaten streak intact. It's another three points for Ronald Koeman - and keeps them breathing down the neck of Diego Simeone.
Pedro López
Pablo Maffeo
78' Pedro Lopez is the last of the latest spate of Huesca changes, on in place of Maffeo.
D. Vavro
Pablo Ínsua
78' Insua also makes way for Huesca, who bring on Denis Vavro.
Javi Ontiveros
David Ferreiro
78' The visitors introduce Javier Ontiveros in place of Ferreiro.
77' Huesca look poised to make a few more changes as they attempt to steal something in the final quarter-hour of this game.
75' Now the visitors do have a pair of opportunities, Mir brushing a header wide to the left and Ferreiro crashing an off-target strike in at the right. It's just not breaking their way right now.
73' There's more purchase on the wings for Huesca right now but since that last near-miss for Mir, they haven't quite got their eye in again. Time is running out for them to salvage something.
71' Messi! Even by his standards, that would have been a skilled finish, after he draws Fernandez out to the left edge of the 18-yard area and beats him, before attempting to lop a tight finish back across and only finding the roof of the net.
A. Griezmann
69' Griezmann is also off for the Blaugrana, with Trincao on in his place.
Ilaix Moriba
S. Dest
69' Further changes from Barca now as Ilaix Moriba replaces Dest.
67' There's brief cause for concern for Barca here after Messi is felled by Siovas and stays down on his haunches again. The Argentine is ultimately good to continue but that was a nervy moment for Ronald Koeman there.
65' Seoane wins a corner off a deflected cut-back effort but there's little sticking from it for Huesca, with an Insua header speared wide.
R. Araujo
F. de Jong
63' Barcelona respond with their first change now as Ronald Araujo replaces De Jong.
62' What's left in the tank for Huesca as this game enters the final half-hour? They're still looking more willy than Barca would hope when they get on the counter-attack. There could yet be an unlikely twist in this game.
Pablo Ínsua
Yellow Card
60' Ínsua picks up a booking for a cynical challenge to cut off a Barcelona breakaway through the middle. He'll have to watch himself now.
Sergio Gómez
Dani Escriche
60' Sergio Gomez is also on for the visitors, replacing Escriche.
Jaime Seoane
I. Doumbia
60' Huesca bring on the one man to lose his place this week now, in Jaime Seoane who takes the spot of Doumbia.
59' There's bibs being stripped on the sidelines; Huesca look like they are about to make the first changes of the game.
57' Mir! Oh, that would have been sublime! A smart Huesca counter down the right wing catches Barca out and a long, looping delivery to Escriche is headed back in for the striker, unmarked inside the six-yard area - and he just can't bring the ball back down to earth. So close.
55' Pacheta has been pacing around his box, arms going like a windmill, as he barks out instructions to his side. Huesca have pulled a goal back once before but it's surely a tall order now.
L. Messi
53' It's some smart application of the basics there from Messi, turning the ball around to curl that delivery in just the way he wanted to. Once again, he's pulling the strings up front for the hosts.
Óscar Mingueza
53' OSCAR MINGUEZA WITH THE HEADER FOR BARCELONA! 3-1! The Blaugrana play the corner short and Messi executes a neat one-two to switch his angle before spearing the delivery in - and it is the defender who rises in the crowded box to steer a clean finish past Fernandez at the far post. Normal service is firmly resumed.
53' Both sides already have players warming up on the sidelines but there have been no new faces at the break. For the Blaugrana, it is simply more of the same. For the visitors, it is time to hurl the kitchen sink. Dembele wins a corner.
51' This time, Messi's set-piece hits the wall and Huesca tear away on a counter attack. Barca mass numbers back quickly enough and any linger threat is tamped down in short order.
50' The delivery is pretty tepid by the Argentine's standards and the visitors are able to clear their lines without too much difficulty, before the former is felled in shooting range just outside the box by Mir.
Dani Escriche
Yellow Card
48' Escriche snaps up the first yellow card of the game for a clattering challenge on Griezmann, one that hands Messi a great free-kick opportunity out on the right wing in line with Huesca's box.
46' We are back underway for the second half at Camp Nou. Will Barcelona run away to a rout here? Or can Huesca pull off a major comeback and snatch a crucial result?
Messi and his fellow Blaugrana players were not happy with that call, but Ronald Koeman was absolutely furious. The manager seemed to have to be held back from attempting to confront the referee as the teams trudged off there. What a bizarre shift of the scales we've just seen.
It's Barcelona who are in the driving seat in La Liga after two superb finishes from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann - but a Hail Mary penalty for Huesca means this game still, remarkably, hangs in the balance at Camp Nou. At half-time, it is Barcelona 2-1 Huesca.
Rafa Mir
Penalty Goal
45' + 4' GOAL! RAFA MIR PULLS ONE BACK FROM THE PENALTY SPOT FOR HUESCA! 2-1! What a crazy final twist of the first half! The striker steps up and absolutely leathers it into the bottom-right corner past Ter Stegen. Against the odds, Barcelona go into the break with just a one-goal lead to show for their efforts.
45' + 3' VAR is having a look to confirm that there is no offside - and there is not. Mir is fine and the foul is adjudged to be worthy of a spot-kick. The number nine will take...
45' + 1' Oh my word, it is a penalty - to Huesca! The visitors clear the Barcelona corner and counter with a desperate last roll of the dice. Mir comes crashing through the middle, with just Ter Stegen to beat as the ball is drifted deep from the right wing into the box - and he misses it before clattering into the goalkeeper. The referee says it's a foul and points straight to the spot! This is a bonker passage of play!
45' Huesca are surely just gagging for the interval but they're going to have see off a corner here. There's not going to be any added minutes by the looks of things.
42' Cripes alive, the woodwork has saved Huesca's blushes again! This time it is a speculative ball tossed in from the left wing. Pulido overstretches going for it and De Jong almost has a tap-in - except his touch arcs over Fernandez and back off the crossbar, where the visitors lash it away. Mad stuff.
41' I'm not saying we're headed to these heights, but Barca have scored eight goals in two different matches against Huesca in the last decade: 8-1 in the Copa del Rey in December 2014 and 8-2 in the league in September 2018.
39' A pair of consecutive corners now for Barca, which ultimately come to nothing but does allow them to tighten the screw a little bit more on their opponents, who have shifted to a fixed if bunched back-five.
37' That top-left corner of the Huesca net has taken a pounding so far, hasn't it? It's like it's gone a dozen rounds with Lennox Lewis in his prime. If that Alba strike had gone in, Huesca really would be out of this one. They're barely in it now as it is.
35' Pedri slipped a lovely ball through midfield there for Griezmann to collect and he cashed his chips with a corker of a finish. It is a long way back for Huesca now.
A. Griezmann
35' GOAL! ANTOINE GRIEZMANN WITH AN ABSOLUTE THUNDERBOLT FOR BARCELONA! 2-0! That may well be the game and it's perilously close to a carbon copy of Messi's opener. The Frenchman steps up, slips around a defender and launches a masterful finish from outside the box into the top-left corner past the outstretched Fernandez. Double delight for the Blaugrana so far.
33' That is very nearly the second for the Blaugrana too! Jordi Alba cuts in on the left edge of the box and smashes a finish over Fernandez, only to be denied by the crossbar, the ball rattling back into open play. That was close.
32' Barcelona haven't delivered many performances this season where you get the niggling sense that they are toying with their opponent. But this has shades of that about it; they could have probably mustered a second by now.
30' Griezmann's first effort is repelled for a repeat set-piece and Barcelona then see a subsequent looping cross sail away for a goal-kick on the far side after playing it initially short.
28' Barca win themselves their second corner of the game out on the left edge and Blaugrana shirts pile into the box. A second goal here this early may well kill off any hopes of a result for Huesca.
26' Maffeo! That's a lovely move from Huesca, who hammer a long ball to cut out the Barca midfield and then cut back around two defenders to dink into the box from the right. The finish requires Ter Stegen to get low and palm it away from the left post.
24' Messi appears to have shaken off whatever little niggle he was sporting around his ankle earlier, which will be of some relief to Ronald Koeman. Barca feel in cruise control here.
22' Barcelona ably see off the set-piece and Huesca immediately back-pedal to prevent any breakaway from the hosts. Messi appears to be fiddling with his right ankle, adjusting his sock with a slight grimace. He'll hope he's not got a knock.
20' Mir twists a delivery now into the Barcelona box following a well-worked counter and wins a corner after a poor touch from Mingueza who attempts to reel it in.
18' Barcelona have only lost one of their last 13 league games at Camp Nou against newly-promoted rivals with the exception in this run being a 1-2 defeat in July 2020 against Osasuna.
16' Messi comes close to doubling his tally inside the first quarter of this game now, cutting back in upon himself after he's slipped into the box. The finish is over the crossbar as he faces the pressure of two defenders.
15' It's remarkable to think of the number of great strikers who would be delighted with a finish of that quality a few times per season. Messi just seems to throw them around like confetti; almost effortlessly pretty.
Sergio Busquets
13' Busquets gets the assist for that initial ball, but Messi had to recover it from a potentially dangerous tackle before he could set up the shot. The Argentine remains evergreen - it'll be sad to see him go when he hangs up his boots.
L. Messi
13' GOAL! LIONEL MESSI WITH THE USUAL BIT OF MAGIC FOR BARCELONA! 1-0! This old solider continues to fight for the Blaugrana, even after all the off-field pain of the past year. This is a top-drawer left-footed finish, bent around Fernandez and in at the near top-corner after shrugging off Pulido. Superb.
12' A wicked deflection sends the ball arcing off from the Barcelona danger zone as Dembele and Griezmann looked to combine around the visitors' 18-yard area. The hosts are pressing hard.
10' Dest! Fernandez does well to get across and parry away the midfielder's fast strike, launched in from the right with the velocity of a rocket-ship. Huesca muscle the subsequent corner away too.
9' Pacheta hasn't seen his side have a real sniff since that strike though. He'll be aware that it is a tall order to take a win at Camp Nou but a win would be an essential shot in the arm for their survival hopes.
7' Jordi Alba is looking a lively presence for the hosts as they slip in on the opposite side of the Huesca penalty area now. A lob cross skims away for a goal-kick but Barca are pretty comfortable so far.
5' Barcelona encroach into the final third for the first time but Huesca's defence led by Siovas does a good job to dig themselves out of any serious potential danger.
4' Ronald Koeman already looks deep in thought. That was an early test of his side's defensive frailties and a better finish could have seen them unlocked early on here.
2' Close to the golden start for the visitors! Mir cuts a path down the right wing, nips back around two Barcelona defenders and drills a low finish to Ter Stegen, who almost dangerously spills.
1' We are underway in La Liga between Barcelona and Huesca!
The teams are poised to emerge at Camp Nou and we are moments away from kick-off.
Rafa Mir though will be the danger man for their opponents today; he has scored seven goals in La Liga this season, becoming Huesca's second all-time top-scorer in the top-flight.
Barcelona have gone 16 games without losing in La Liga heading into today; that's the best current unbeaten streak of any team in the five major leagues in Europe.
Subs: Pedro Mosquera. Javier Ontiveros, Jaime Seoane, Sandro Ramirez, Sergio Gomez, Juan Carlos Real, Denis Vavro, Andres Fernandez, Pedro Lopez, Borja Garcia, Shinji Okazaki.
HUESCA (3-4-3): Alvaro Fernandez; Jorge Pulido, Dimitrios Siovas, Pablo Insua; Pablo Maffeo, Idrissa Doumbia, Mikel Rico, Javi Galan; David Ferreiro, Dani Escriche, Rafa Mir.
Subs: Samuel Umtiti, Martin Braithwaite, Ronald Araujo, Arnau Tenas, Trincao, Matheus Fernandes, Miralem Pjanic, Ilaix Moriba, Neto, Junior Firpo.
BARCELONA (3-4-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Mingueza, Frenkie de Jong, Clement Lenglet; Sergino Dest, Sergio Busquets; Pedri, Jordi Alba; Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele.
Barca then keep faith with the same XI that drew last time out against Paris Saint-Germain in Europe almost a week ago. Huesca make just one change from their last game, with Jaime Seoane replaced by Idrissa Doumbia in midfield.
On paper, they'll hope to nab three points against a side who look increasingly nailed on for the drop - but they will still be wary of Pacheta's side. The visitors were only downed by a Frenkie de Jong goal in the reverse clash in January, and have taken four points in their last three games.
Couple that with the recent collapse of Atletico Madrid - who have notched only three wins since the start of February when they were apparently romping to the crown - and this game is a perfect chance to keep the gap small for the hosts as they pursue surprise success.
But despite that, and a Supercopa de Espana defeat to Athletic Bilbao, Ronald Koeman and Lionel Messi have helped reignite an unlikely charge for the summit, aided in no small part by an unbeaten top-flight run since mid-December.
It doesn't seem too long ago that the Blaugrana were flailing in pursuit of silverware - and indeed, last week's Champions League exit served a reminder that they are far from better days in the eyes of their expectant faithful.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of La Liga's 2020-21 season, as Barcelona aim to keep their remarkable title challenge firing on all cylinders against rock-bottom Huesca at Camp Nou.