Philippe Coutinho was handed his first league start for Barcelona last night, as the Brazilian lined up in front of an expectant Nou Camp.
But Coutinho did not have a great outing on his league debut, as Alaves took a shock lead to stun the Nou Camp. The club’s record signing was not very effective for the home team, as Coutinho failed to carry his Liverpool form into his new club.
The Catalan side eventually got the three points, as Luis Saurez and then Lionel Messi scored in the final fifteen minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
John Guidetti gave the visitors a shock lead, as Alaves went ahead after 23 minutes. The Spanish side showed a lot of guts as they held Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
Luis Suarez though pulled one back, as the striker scored in the 72 minute to set up a barnstorming finale.
Eventually it was back to Lionel Messi to rescue Barcelona, as the great man scored a superb free-kick to win the match in the 84th minute.
At the edge of the box, Messi curled in a brilliant goal as the goal keeper was rooted to the spot. Messi wheeled away in celebration, as all his team mates engulfed the incredible Argentine.
After the match, people were quick to criticize the midfielder, as he was deemed ineffective through out the match. Deployed on the right side of midfield, Coutinho was withdrawn after 66 minutes to sporadic applause from the home crowd.
Luis Suarez though, jumped to his team mate’s aid, and defended Coutinho.
“It’s difficult to debut in the Camp Nou in the league,”Suarez said.
“Philippe did very well trying in the game and the team are happy with his contribution.”
“We are achieving our objectives as a team and at an individual level I am very happy,” he added.
“In the second half we knew what we had to do and we got three points.
Barcelona regained their nine-point league at the top of the table, as they will now slowly turn their attention towards their big round of 16 clash against Chelsea in the Champions league.
Coutinho will return to England and will be expected to be a huge influence on that tie in particular. Let’s hope he does well for Barcelona’s sake!