Barcelona remain unbeaten in the 2022 preseason but failed to win their fourth in a row as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Juventus at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday night. Under extreme temperatures the two teams struggled to play at a high level for most of the evening, but we still had some good moments and four goals in what ended up being a fun night in the Lone Star State.
The first 30 minutes were played at a very slow pace thanks to the crazy high temperatures and neither team was able to establish a good rhythm, except for a few moments by Juve on the counter. Barça had most of the possession as expected but lacked the dynamic passing and movement from the previous games, and resorted to a few efforts from outside the box by Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang to create their best attacking moments.
After a short water break, the game finally came to life in the final 15 minutes: Barça looked more intense and quicker in possession and Ousmane Dembélé started to work his magic. The Frenchman scored a phenomenal opening goal with an incredible solo run and finish, and after Moise Kean equalized for Juve with a tap-in Dembélé needed less than a minute to make it 2-1 with another amazing dribbling sequence and a perfect finish.
Franck Kessie then missed a huge chance to make it 3-1 to the Catalans, and at halftime a boring came suddenly became a lot of fun going into the break. Could the second half be more fun?
Juventus had a strong start to the second half pressing high up the pitch and forcing mistakes in the Barça buildup, which got them a goal when Frenkie De Jong, once again playing center-back, lost a ball at the edge of the box which gave Moise Kean another big chance in front of goal that he didn’t waste.
The score was 2-2 and Barça finally woke up in the 60th minute, and despite plenty of substitutions the team managed to play some good attacking stuff and come close on multiple occasions, including a double chance when Raphinha hit the crossbar from a free- kick and Ansu Fati hit the same spot with an amazing curling effort just seconds later.
The game finished with no other goals and the final whistle came to end Barça’s perfect run in preseason. But the results don’t really matter at this stage, and with how insane the conditions were at times it’s honestly hard to judge the team at all. So many players had to come in just to avoid injuries due to the heat, so this was really just about improving fitness levels and nothing else.
The final match of the US tour is against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night, and the team continues to take shape ahead of what could be a very special season.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (Peña 46′); Roberto (Dest 32′ (Casadó 77′)), Christensen (Piqué 62′), Eric (De Jong 46′), Alba (Balde 62′); Nico (Gavi 46′), Busquets (Pjanic 46′), Kessie (Torre 62′); Dembele (Raphinha 46′ (Ez Abde 77′)), Lewandowski (Memphis 62′), Aubameyang (Ansu Fati 46′ (Collado 77′))
Goals: Dembele (34′, 40′)
Juventus: Szczesny (Perin 46′); Danilo (Compagnon 61′), Bonucci (Gatti 46′), Bremer (Rugani 59′), Sandro (Pellegrini 61′); Zakaria, Locatelli (Fagiolo 61′); Di María (Soulé 77′), Rovella, Cuadrado (Barbieri 77′); Kean (Cudrig 77′)
Goals: Kean (39′, 52′)