Riqui Puig was once again on the Barcelona bench on Thursday as the Catalan giants took on Cadiz in La Liga but still managed to catch the eye during the clash.
The midfielder was captured directing a very cold stare at his manager in the first half with the image quickly going viral on social media as supporters reacted to the youngster’s look.
Puig has struggled for game time under Koeman and had only managed 16 minutes of La Liga action in 2021-22 before Thursday’s match. There was a moment in the first half when it looked as though Koeman was about to ask him to warm up. However, it was Sergi Roberto who got the nod instead and came on at half-time for Yusuf Demir.
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Barcelona’s Struggles Continue
Barcelona struggled in attack once again at Cadiz but did have to cope once again without injured attackers Sergi Aguero, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, and Sergio Aguero who remain on the sidelines.
Coach Ronald Koeman opted to start Yusuf Demir, Memphis Depay, and Luuk de Jong in attack but the trio found it tough going against Cadiz’s low block and offered very little threat in the first half.
The Barca boss opted to change things at half-time and sent on Roberto in place of Demir. Yet things became even tougher for Barca on 64 minutes when Frenkie de Jong was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.
Another change swiftly followed for Barcelona with Philippe Coutinho coming on for Luuk de Jong. while 19-year-old midfielder Nico Gonzalez followed afterwards and replaced Gavi for the final 20 minutes of the match.
Gavi had started the game in midfield and made his full debut for Barcelona. The 17-year-old is the second youngest player to make his full debut for the Catalans
in the 21st century in all competitions, according to Opta.
Puig Given Late Chance
Puig did finally make it off the bench for the final 10 minutes of the encounter. The midfielder replaced left-back Sergino Dest. The switch saw Roberto drop back into the defense in place of the USMNT star.
However, Puig almost gifted Cadiz a winner with his first involvement in the match. The midfielder lost possession in midfield which allowed the hosts to break. Fortunately for Puig, Salvi’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and the follow up from Sobrino flew wide.
Both teams had chances to win the game in the closing stages as the game opened up completely. Memphis Depay missed two fine chances for the visitors who had to settle for a draw. It’s not the result the visitors would have wanted but does maintain the team’s unbeaten start to the season in La Liga.
The draw will also do little to relieve the pressure on Koeman with speculation persisting that his days at the Camp Nou are numbered. The Dutchman’s misery was also compounded in stoppage time as he was sent off.