28th September, 2019
It has surely been a while since a goalkeeper provided an assist for a striker to score a goal especially in the Spanish LaLiga.
However, that is exactly what happened on Saturday in the game between Getafe and Barcelona as Marc-Andre ter Stegen against the run of play provided an assist for Luis Suarez to score Barca’s first goal of the match.
The Barcelona goalkeeper told newsmen that everything was perfectly aligned to allow him to become the first Barcelona goalkeeper to claim an assist in LaLiga this century.
As we all know, Barca’s tiki-taka playing style, established in Johan Cruyff’s time as manager, has meant goalkeepers have not been typically encouraged to kick the ball long to the strikers.
The policy has always been such that the players are expected to play out from the back, and Barcelona have built great success by doing just that.
In this game against Getafe however, German shot-stopper Ter Stegen was in a hurry to clear as he raced off his line and outside the penalty area to intercept the ball against Getafe on Saturday, with the game goalless.
In that process as he looked up, noticed that Luis Suarez was beginning a sprint into the Getafe half, and launched the ball long. Suarez did the rest, shaking off the attentions of a defender before lobbing David Soria, grabbing the first goal in a 2-0 victory.
“It was a bit strange because it doesn’t happen to you much in your career,” Ter Stegen admitted.
“And it’s something I hadn’t done, but I’m happy. It was a perfect moment, for Luis to take off and then the pass… and the pass was good. I saw him there but the pass had to be perfect. Luis was perfectly positioned and we took advantage of it.”
This win meant that Barcelona were able to celebrate a first away win in the league this season, even if not all aspects of the performance were that good.
The hosts were well in the game and would have been encouraged by some haphazard Barcelona defending before Suarez’s goal changed the contest.
The Barcelona goalkeeper went on to say: “I think it was a step we needed this season. To win games away from home is tricky, so it was a good day for us and for the fans, I think. To keep a clean sheet is always important so I’m happy with that.”
The team coach Ernesto Valverde offered his approval, saying of his goalkeeper: “Obviously we want him to be very aware of long passes because the goalkeeper can do that with defences which are pushed up, and [it was] a great assist.”
Valverde, whose position will be under less scrutiny than it has been following the three points, said the decision to leave Ousmane Dembele out of his team was “mainly a precaution” because of a minor thigh problem.
Barcelona play Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow we’ll do more tests,” Valverde said in quotes published by Marca.
Valverde was of course, pleased to see Barcelona show some form away from Camp Nou, saying: “After the recent results away from home we needed to win and it was a good away trip because Getafe asked a lot of questions of us.”