BARCELONA: Ousmane Dembele’s strike, capping an excellent person show, helped Barcelona beat Actual Sociedad 1-0 on Wednesday, and succeed in the Copa del Rey semi-finals. The French ahead struck within the 52nd minute to energy the file 31-time cup-winners thru towards 10-man Los angeles Actual, who had Brais Mendez despatched off past due within the first 1/2.
Barcelona have loved a powerful begin to 2023, successful the Spanish Tremendous Cup and shifting 3 issues transparent of Actual Madrid on the most sensible of Los angeles Liga, and persisted it in a pulsating cup conflict. Imanol Alguacil’s Actual Sociedad have extremely joyful within the league, sitting 3rd, however had been lacking veteran playmaker David Silva and Mikel Merino thru damage.
Barcelona supervisor Xavi Hernandez, on his forty third birthday, guided his group to a nervy victory, because of Dembele. The trainer defended Dembele when taking up at Barcelona in November 2021, announcing that with onerous paintings he might be the most efficient winger on this planet.
“Crucial factor is having the mentality that you are going to make the variation at Barcelona,” Xavi advised journalists on Wednesday. “For me, Dembele remains to be probably the most perfect on this planet in his place. I’m satisfied for him as a result of he’s a just right man and a just right skilled.
“He has became issues round and that’s not simple at Barca.” The Catalans got here out of the blocks temporarily and Robert Lewandowski had an effort blocked after the electrical Dembele discovered him. On the different finish Takefusa Kubo crashed a shot towards the crossbar, as the sport ebbed and flowed in entertaining style.
Barcelona lovers incessantly confirmed their ire in opposition to referee Jesus Gil Manzano within the first half-he used to be the reputable who despatched off Lewandowski towards Osasuna in November, leading to a ban which the Pole remains to be serving in Los angeles Liga. Then again it used to be Actual Sociedad midfielder Mendez who used to be despatched off at Camp Nou on Wednesday, simply earlier than half-time. The Spaniard lunged in on Sergio Busquets, catching his compatriot together with his studs above the ankle.
Early in the second one 1/2, Barcelona broke the impasse when Jules Kounde slid Dembele in down the precise wing and he drove into the field and lashed the ball previous Alex Remiro on the close to submit. It used to be the French ahead’s 3rd function in six video games and every other signal of his very good shape underneath Xavi.
“It’s onerous to forestall a participant at this kind of stage, in shape and having an afternoon like this,” mentioned Alguacil. “We made issues too simple for him within the first 1/2 … I believe we had been afraid. If you happen to give 1/2 a metre to Dembele, you’re screwed.”
Now that Dembele has discovered a trainer who believes in him-and signed a brand new deal remaining summer-he has transform necessary at Barcelona. “(Dembele) had a super sport, we all know what a super participant he’s,” Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo advised Movistar.
“He is helping us with objectives, he’s taking just right selections, that’s crucial factor, one thing that perhaps used to be difficult for him in the beginning.” Actual Sociedad, regardless of their numerical drawback, battled neatly and must have levelled when Alexander Sorloth fired over from handiest a few yards out.
The Norwegian striker had netted 5 objectives in his earlier six video games and regarded aghast at his pass over. Gavi struck the bar after extra just right paintings by way of Dembele as Barcelona attempted and did not seal the win with a 2nd function. “There are a large number of video games that we will be able to put to mattress previous, we will be able to attempt to paintings on that,” mentioned Barcelona defender Alejandro Balde. “We’re in superb shape and we simply must kill off those scenarios.”
Barcelona survived two past due scares after Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave the ball away however then stored from Robert Navarro and produced every other high-quality forestall to disclaim Jon Ander Olasagasti. In different places Osasuna earned a 2-1 win over Sevilla in extra-time to achieve the semis for the primary time since 2005, once they completed as runners-up to Actual Betis. On Thursday Actual Madrid host Atletico Madrid and Valencia welcome Athletic Membership within the different quarter-finals. – AFP