La Liga: Barcelona Held By Cadiz As Pressure Mounts On Ronald Koeman


On Thursday, Barcelona went three games without a win, as a goalless draw with Cadiz damaged Ronald Koeman’s position as coach. At the Ramon de Carranza stadium, Frenkie de Jong was sent off in the 65th minute, but Koeman, who was also issued a red card in injury-time, will get little credit for holding on for a draw. It’s unclear whether Koeman will be in charge for Barcelona’s match against Levante on Sunday, but it looks to be more a question of when the club can find a replacement than if he will stay.

Source: AFP

“You have to always try to win each game, but you have to be realistic, you have to see the squad we have, the people we’re missing,” said Koeman.

Barcelona is seven points behind La Liga’s early leaders Real Madrid, despite having played one game fewer, and has had a dismal start in the Champions League following a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich last week.

The team’s mood was not helped by a 1-1 draw with Granada on Monday, with Koeman facing harsh criticism for completing the game with central defenders Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo up forward.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Koeman responded defiantly to disappointment with the team’s style and worries about his future.

Instead of answering questions, he issued a statement in which he begged for patience and stated that the team’s rebuilding process “needed unwavering support.”

That sent a clear message to club president Joan Laporta, who had been hesitant to comment on Koeman’s future before the match against Cadiz.

Laporta told reporters that nothing would be determined solely on the basis of the outcome, but that “if we have to make judgments at a certain moment, we will.”

After the match, Koeman said: “He was in the hotel and we said hello before the match. I’m sure there will be more days to talk if the club wants to talk.”

Gavi, 17, and Yusuf Demir, 18, were the starting midfielders and front three, respectively, for Koeman, although the much-maligned Luuk de Jong continued down the middle.

The first half was almost utterly forgettable, with neither club managing to create a real chance and Barcelona’s closest approach to a goal being a poor attempt from Memphis Depay.

Early in the second quarter, Alvaro Negredo’s shot with the outside of his foot was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, while Luuk de Jong curved a magnificent cross to the back post, but Depay miskicked his finish.

Barcelona were gaining confidence, but Frenkie de Jong’s two yellow cards in four minutes halted their progress.

De Jong was booked twice, once in the 61st minute for throwing back an arm into Alberto Perea and again in the 65th minute for a poor touch that led him to slip on the stretch, despite the fact that he had initially flicked the ball away from Alfonso Espino.

De Jong would almost certainly have been spared if VAR had intervened, but it was unable to do so due to a second booking.

Cadiz saw an opening and should have scored with ten minutes remaining when Espino slipped in Salvi, but Ter Stegen saved the day by blocking the finish with his legs.

In the last minutes, the game became frantic as the ball flew from one end to the other.

Philippe Coutinho missed a late free-kick, Salvi’s close-range strike was blocked, and Depay blasted just wide of the far post as the clock ticked into the 94th minute.

In the midst of the chaos, Koeman was also issued a red card, the Dutchman smiled in surprise as the final whistle blew.

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