La Liga

Lopez Shines As Barca Move Closer To 2nd Place Finish

Barcelona have already lost the La Liga title to arch-rivals Real Madrid, but their fight for pride continues. The pressure is palpable on the Blaugrana to finish second in the La Liga rankings, and on Thursday night (May 16), they took a big step toward it. By picking up a comfortable 2-0 victory over already-relegated Almeria, they opened up a four-point lead over third-placed Girona. With only two games left to play this season, Barca should be able to keep their Catalan rivals at bay and clinch the second spot.

Heavyweights Barcelona Claim Hard-Fought Win Over Underdogs Almeria

La Liga powerhouse Barcelona were massive favorites against 20th-placed Almeria on Thursday night. However, Xavi refused to take chances and fielded his best available XI, featuring the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, Lamine Yamal, and Pau Cubrasi.

The visitors enjoyed a bright start to the game, and got their noses in front through Fermin Lopez in the 14th minute. The move started at the back as Inigo Martinez sprayed the ball out to 17-year-old left-back Hector Fort down the left channel. He penetrated the final third, shifted onto his right foot, and sent an inviting cross toward the back post. Midfielder Fermin Lopez read Fort’s intention before any of the Almeria defenders and snuck into the box to head the ball in.

In the 23rd minute, Almeria created a golden opportunity to equalize, thanks to Leo Baptistao’s sublime flick over the Barcelona defensive line. However, the Brazilian could not keep his composure during the one-on-one duel with the goalkeeper and steered his effort wide of the goal. A couple of minutes before half time, Jonathan Viera played a clever lobbed ball behind the Barca defense, allowing Adrian Embarba to have a go at goal. The left-winger aimed for the bottom-right corner but the post denied him and Almeria a much-deserved equalizer.

Three minutes into the second half, Anthony Lozano missed a sitter mere 12 yards from goal, failing to hit the mark with only Marc-Andre ter Stegan to beat. Having survived a surprising Almeria onslaught, Barcelona landed the killer blow in the 67th minute. Sergi Roberto burst past the Almeria defense to pull the ball back for Lopez, who applied a cool finish to make it a brace. Barca’s second took the wind out of Almeria, and they reluctantly accepted their fate.

Fermin Lopez Dazzles Away At Almeria

Barcelona’s 21-year-old gifted central midfielder Lopez had a field day at Almeria. He knocked the ball around with ease, carried the ball effortlessly, created chances, tested the goalkeeper frequently, and, of course, scored both of Barcelona’s goals.

Throughout the 90, Lopez completed 38 passes with 95 accuracy, created three chances, lodged four shots on target, completed two dribbles, delivered three accurate long balls, and played four passes into the final third. He also made four recoveries and won five of nine ground duels. All in all, it was easily Lopez’s most impactful performance for his boyhood club.



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