Barcelona defeat Tottenham on penalties as Arthur scores on debut

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Tottenham battled back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Barcelona before falling in a penalty shootout in Los Angeles.

Munir headed Barcelona ahead after 15 minutes before Arthur drilled home a second to put the Spaniards 2-0 up in the 30th minute.

Christian Eriksen rattled the post with a 30-yard free-kick before Tottenham got back into the game 16 minutes from time when Son Heung-Min scored from close range after Eriksen’s initial shot was blocked.

Georges-Kevin N’Koudou then levelled a minute later in a goalmouth scramble after Anthony Georgiou had a shot blocked and Son backheeled the ball to N’Koudou who converted.

The game then wait straight to penalties but Georgiou saw his effort saved by Jasper Cillessen and Barcelona converted all five penalties to secure a 5-3 victory.

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Watch Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta make his first start in Japan for Vissel Kobe

David Cooper 29/07/2018
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Barcelona and Spain icon Andres Iniesta made his first start for new club Vissel Kobe as they beat Kashiwa Reysol 1-0 in J1 League.

Iniesta, who came off the bench in Kobe’s 3-0 loss to Shonan Bellmare a week ago, shot wide in the 15th minute from the edge of the penalty box.

His legendary creative skills saw a chance for a team-mate served up seven minutes later. But it was left to Asahi Masuyama to score the winner in the 66th as Kobe moved up to fourth in the table.

Watch Iniesta’s highlights below.

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Carles Alena among Barcelona youngsters set for first team action

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Barcelona pride themselves on the development of their youth products and are always keen to give La Masia graduates opportunities in the first team.

The upcoming season should be no different and with manager Ernesto Valverde getting rid of a few fringe players, there are opportunities for some of the club’s youngsters to make the step up.

CARLES ALENA

Having already made seven appearances for the senior team, scoring one goal, Carles Alena is nailed on to see more playing time this season. Such is the faith in the central midfielder’s potential that the club tied him down with a three-year contract last season which includes a buyout clause of €75 million.

Philippe Coutinho and new signing Arthur will be tasked with filling the void left by Andres Iniesta’s departure but Alena is more than capable of supporting them. The Spaniard joined La Masia at the age of seven and made his debut for the senior team in November 2016 during a Copa del Rey clash against Hercules, marking the occasion with a goal.

The creative midfielder who is known for his supreme technique and eye for goal is primed to take the next step.

Carles Alena

Carles Alena

MARC CUCURELLA

Jordi Alba has been a mainstay in the first XI since 2012 and at 29, the marauding full-back’s shuttling up and down that left flank is bound to catch up to him. The Spaniard needs to be afforded more of a break over the course of the season and with Barcelona on the brink of selling Lucas Digne to Everton, it opens the door for Marc Cucurella to get more first team opportunities.

Incidentally, the 20-year-old also moved to Barcelona in 2012, switching from Espanyol’s youth team. He’s been long considered Alba’s natural successor, boasting the same turn of pace and attacking instincts as his compatriot. Cucurella made his debut for the first team last October when he replaced the injured Digne during a Copa del Rey win against Real Murcia.

MUNIR

Munir first appeared in the first team back in 2014 and made 26 appearances during the 2015/16 season, scoring eight goals. However, he has struggled to establish himself as a first team regular and was sent out on loan in the previous two campaigns.

A healthy return of 14 goals in 36 appearances for Alaves last season though has put him back in contention for more opportunities in the first team.

The 22-year-old can play anywhere across the forward line and with Paco Alcacer appearing to have one foot out the door, Munir could well prove to be a key player off the bench as he is reportedly staying at the Nou Camp.

Munir

Munir

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