Riqui Puig and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen both had a message for Barcelona supporters after the team’s epic comeback win over Granada in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
Barca were 2-0 down with two minutes of normal time remaining but managed to force extra-time with two late goals. The visitors then scored three more to go on and win a rollercoaster game 5-3 and move into the semi-finals.
Puig took to social media after the game to thank supporters and is clearly hoping his team can go on and lift the trophy this year. He tweeted, “We are a great team on and off the field! Let’s go for more! Thanks to everyone for the messages, Força Barça!”
Meanwhile, Ter Stegen hailed Barca’s team spirit after the team pulled off an unlikely victory with some style.
Barca will discover their semi-final opponents on Friday but will face either Levante, Sevilla or the winners of the last quarter-final between Real Betis and Athletic. The semi-finals will take place over two legs.
The Catalan giants are the most successful team in the competition’s history, having lifted the title 30 times, but have not been crowned champions since 2018.
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Puig Makes An Impact
Puig certainly made an impact in Wednesday’s win after arriving as a replacement for Sergio Busquets in the 76th minute. The youngster completed 97 percent of his 70 passes during his 44 minutes on the pitch, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The midfielder found Jordi Alba 17 times, Sergino Dest 13 times, and Frenkie de Jong 12 times. Puig also recovered the ball on four occasions, created one chance, and blocked a shot from Granada.
Puig was not the only substitute to help turn the game around. French forward Ousmane Dembele also put in a lively showing and brought an additional threat down the right flank.
Riqui Right to Stay?
Puig’s latest appearance was his seventh for Barcelona in 2021 which suggests he was right to stay at the club and is beginning to earn the trust of coach Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman advised the youngster to go out on loan at the start of the campaign in order to play regularly and continue his development, but Puig opted to stay and fight for his place.
Puig only played five times before Christmas but is now enjoying more regular game time and is slowly making an impact. He scored a decisive penalty at the Spanish Super Cup and netted his first La Liga goal against Elche.
The youngster still has his work cut out to force his way into the starting XI but is certainly heading in the right direction and should get more chances to impress with Barca’s hectic schedule set to continue.
The Catalan giants now face two semi-final games in the Copa del Rey and also resume their Champions League campaign in February against French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.
Puig has shown he’s willing to be patient and is able to offer something different off the bench for Barca, and his latest performance offered more evidence that he deserves more game time at the Camp Nou.