The Canary Islander couldn’t have hoped for a better first team debut, scoring the only goal of the game to take three points from the trip to Villarreal
Last week everyone was talking about Munir after his amazing first team debut performance, and seven days later it’s another product of the B team that’s grabbing all the headlines. 19 year old Sandro Ramírez was sent on by Luis Enrique as a late replacement for Pedro in a tense game with Villarreal that looked to be heading for a stalemate. His eleven minutes on the field were enough for him to score what would be the only goal of the game and clinch three vital points for his team.
He and Munir, who got on the scoresheet last week at home to Elche, are the two youngest players to have scored in La Liga this season.[[CITA_1]]
Sandro was naturally delighted with the way he had played, but preferred to comment on “the hard work done by the team as a whole. We had so many chances and none of them went in. But we got there in the end after a great move by Leo Messi … The goal was the result of the job we all did and we can leave El Madrigal feeling very happy with the win.” He also revealed that he’s dedicated the goal to his family, adding that “Luis Enrique is a great manager. He uses the youth players and we are trying to make the most of those opportunities. The game was good all round for us”.
This wasn’t actually Sandro’s first goal for the Barça first team, as he was also on target against Club Leon in the Joan Gamper Trophy match. But this was his first in a competitive fixture, and there’s little doubt that the last day of August 2014 is one he’s never going to forget.
The goal was the result of the job we all did and we can leave El Madrigal feeling very happy with the win
Youngster scores late winner to ensure a 100% start for the team
A late goal from B team youngster Sandro gave Barça the three points at El Madrigal in a hard fought game that Luis Enrique’s side dominated, though they found it tough going at times against a determined Villarreal defence.
Messi leads from the start
From the off, Leo Messi, wearing the captain’s armband in Iniesta’s absence, again looked sharp as he combined well down the right with Dani Alves and the Argentinean and Pedro had the best of the early chances, as Villarreal were forced into some desperate defending. It was Villarreal’s Victor Ruiz who had the half’s best opportunity though, when with an open goal at the back post from a corner, he somehow put the ball wide on 24 minutes. Messi continued to provide the threat for Barça and it took a reflex save from Asenjo to keep out his deflected free kick minutes later. Luis Enrique’s side were having plenty of ball and continued to probe, but as the half time whistle blew, the game remained goalless.
Late winner from Sandro
It looked only a matter of time before the boss called on his bench and on the hour Neymar was sent on, as the game began to open up. Before that, Mathieu had a fright when he deflected a cross onto the post, with Villarreal beginning to attack more. Although Neymar lifted the pace for Barça, it was Luis Enrique’s next sub, Sandro, who finally broke the deadlock, when he poked home from close after Messi had wriggled into the area on the right to get his first league goal and ensure Barça go into the international break with two league wins out of two.
Villarreal will provide a tough challenge for Luis Enrique’s FC Barcelona
The visitors have recovered Neymar, but Iniesta is out with knee trouble
Luis Enrique recognised in his pre-match press conference that the game at El Madrigal will be a great chance to show just where Barça stand as he goes into his first season in charge. A convincing 3-0 win against Elche on the opening day put the Catalans into an early lead in La Liga. Despite playing much of the game with only ten men, they were able to demonstrate how tactically and physically ready they are. And now they need to consolidate that performance with a good showing on their first away trip of the campaign, but El Madrigal is never an easy place to go.
Luis Enrique has named Neymar in his 18-strong squad after the Brazilian was declared fully recovered from his ankle problem, while Piqué returns from suspension. However, Andrés Iniesta will miss the trip after picking up knee trouble, while this time it’s Mascherano who’s suspended. None of Adriano, Ter Stegen or Vermaelen are in the side either, and new recruit Douglas also stays in Barcelona, meaning there are places for Munir and Sandro of Barça B.
The win would set Barça up nicely for the international break that immediately follows. And at a ground where they have not lost since 2007/08, there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic.
Villarreal’s squad is almost the same as it was last season. Marcelino García Toral is in charge, and the team includes players of such quality as Musacchio, Cani, Bruno and Giovani dos Santos. The new additions are Cheryshev, Rukavina and two former FCB men in Espinosa and Jonathan dos Santos. The ‘Yellow Submarine’ got their Liga campaign off to a fine start with a 2-0 win at Levante, and they also qualified for the group stage of the Europa League by beating Astana of Kazakhstan.
Video highlights of a hectic but unforgettable Friday for the Brazilian full-back
On August 29, 2014, Douglas Pereira officially became an FC Barcelona player. Our camera crew followed him from start to end, and the result is this 12 minute video of a frenetic day for the Brazilian full back.
It begins with his arrival at El Prat airport, followed by his introduction to the Ciutat Esportiva and the Camp Nou, including his medical test and his meeting with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, where he finally our pen to paper.
Douglas then donned his new jersey and appeared on the pitch before answering the media’s questions in the pressroom.
Eleven first team players will be away on international duty this week
There’s a busy schedule ahead for the Barça internationals. Busquets, Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Pedro and Bartra are all off to play for Spain, while Neymar, Mascherano, Messi, Claudio Bravo, Rakitic and Rafinha will all be playing for their countries too.
The following is a list of the upcoming games with Barça involvement:
Germany v Argentina (friendly): Messi, Mascherano
Brazil v Qatar (friendly) U21: Rafinha
France v Spain (friendly): Iniesta, Sergio, Jordi Alba, Pedro, Bartra
Hungary v Spain U21: Munir, Sergi Roberto
Chile v Mexico (friendly): Claudio Bravo
Croatia v Cyprus (friendly): Rakitic
Brazil v Palestine U21
Spain v Macedonia (Euro 2016 qualifier)
Spain v Austria U21
Brazil v Ecuador (friendly): Neymar
Haiti v Chile (friendly)
Croatia v Malta (Euro 2016 qualifier)