Barcelona now also badly beaten at Benfica in the Champions League: the humiliation too much for Koeman?

©  AFP

© AP



©  AFP

© AP

Played two games, lost two. Zero goals scored, six against. Benfica-Barcelona 3-0. After a new optater in the Champions League, they are convinced in Spain that coach Ronald Koeman can pack his things.

see and die Lisbon. It happened to Quique Setien after that dramatic 2-8 defeat against Bayern Munich, and if we are to believe the Spanish press, Ronald Koeman will now also find his grave in the Portuguese capital. “You can’t say that he doesn’t go down with his own ideas,” they laugh in their own newspaper Sport. Koeman again drove his team into the 3-5-2 line-up against Bayern, which had already come under criticism from his board last time. On the half hour he also removed club icon Gerard Pique because he flirted with a second yellow card. He could just as well have resigned himself, they must have thought in Catalonia.

Koeman was already in trouble then. After the 0-3 defeat to Bayern on the opening day, Barcelona was obliged to win on the Benfica field, where Jan Vertonghen would complete the entire match. But after just three minutes, the Uruguayan top talent Darwin Núñez showed that the defense of Barcelona is no longer so difficult to outwit. He could easily make the 1-0.

Barcelona did respond. But compatriot Luuk de Jong, the striker who had come to Camp Nou on the intercession of Koeman, demonstrated the offensive impotence. Twice he missed only for an open goal. First he gave a defender the chance to tackle the ball from the line, then he worked the ball rather clumsily against the post. Executioner Núñez laughed once and was involved in Rafa Silva’s 2-0 on the other side and kicked the 3-0 from the spot itself against the nets. Eric Garcia completed the tragicomedy with his second yellow card. Barcelona is desolately last in its group.

No decision in the emotions immediately after the match

Immediately after the game, Barcelona president Joan Laporta dove into the catacombs to have a word with the players in the dressing room. “We are in a critical situation,” said Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets. “The easiest thing would be to fire Koeman, but we all have a responsibility in this.” The Dutchman said afterwards that his future was not in his hands, but in that of the board. “I still feel supported by the players,” he said. “But you can’t compare this Barcelona with the Barcelona of a few years ago. For me the big difference with Benfica today was that they finished their chances and we didn’t. I can’t ask my players much more than this.”

Late last night it was said that they did not want to make a decision about Koeman at Barcelona in the emotions just after the defeat. Next Saturday, the Blaugrana is already waiting for the top match against Atlético in the Wanda Metropolitano. With or without Koeman?

(Wim Conings)


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