It felt like centuries for the Catalan fans when their beloved side romped over a watchful Atletico Madrid in an emphatic show of forgotten dominance. It needed guts, it needed hope, it needed belief and most importantly it needed a Barcelona of the prime days.
In less than seven minutes Atletico surged ahead as Carrasco latched onto a clinical delivery from El Pistolero to put fire to Camp Nou. Barcelona patiently waited, took their time and struck back. It took them 180 long seconds to remind Simeone and his wards that once upon a time they were the kings. Just because they tasted a few defeats and a fall from grace, it doesn’t signify their death.
That equalizer from Jordi Alba was a scathing ode to their historic brilliance and would be a mighty fine ballad in the ages to come that may act as a wake-up call to a sleeping giant. For the first time in the latest edition of La Liga, Barcelona crawled into the top four that may grant them access to the following Champions League if they manage to continue with last night’s blistering form.
A glimpse at the wondrous combination of Jordi Alba and Dani Alves
The first goal that saw the Catalans coming back to the game after a thumping wait of 180 seconds, was symbolic for the fans. Two seasoned campaigners, whose physiques are ideally supposed to fade away from their footballing lucidity, combined in the perfect chemistry to leave the world starstruck at their sizzling brilliance.
If you would put together the collective age of the two involved in this iconic finish, the number would read 70. One of them has been at the receiving end of severe flak ever since the club has got itself entangled in a downward spiral while the other was plucked back from anonymity to add quality to a fallen hero. The man who bound them together and put them in a heap of an ever-churning blender was someone who led the midfield in exemplary fashion, Xavi.
If we take a look at the genesis of that wonder-strike, it was a famished Barcelona, desperate for an equalizer. Traore was bombing down that right wing with the Catalan attackers converging into the box. Given the defensive mastermind that Simeone has always been, there were plenty of players in the Atletico box to rattle the attacking formations of the Catalans.
WHAT A GOAL BY JORDI ALBA!!! pic.twitter.com/T7vvB8WdHE
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 6, 2022
It needed something extraordinary to inject sting to that special moment. A 38-year-old Dani Alves whipped a curling ball across the face of a crowded penalty box that initially seemed to curl away into oblivion. However, with every passing freeze-frame, the delivery seemed a lot more relevant. The curl initially seemed to be away from goal but it had an insidious bend that the Atleti defenders would realize later.
The ball curled with a perfect subtlety and its flight path seemed clinically destined to a marauding Alba’s feet. However, that was just 50 percent of the iconic enterprise that Barcelona would be forging in the following 30-odd seconds. Another veteran of the Camp Nou, Alba rushed at the end of this peach, setting himself for what was supposed to be a desperate attempt at a classic.
Oblak got out of his line as he was pretty confident of Barcelona’s growing decadence and his insolence, opened up a window of retribution to the Catalans. Alba met the curler substantially and met it exactly where the entire world would have gone for a spin in the lulling arms of prosperity, where all the troubles of the world would have been erased, where there would have only been peace and most emphatically where Atletico knew that a catastrophe was coming.
As soon as the ball connected with a mind-bending strike from Alba, it took an uncustomary flight path. It started veering off its actual route and flew. There was an insidious curl that would leave Atleti undermined for the remaining 80 minutes. Oblak stood as a mere spectator as if the world has come to a standstill.
Imagine a world where everyone has become a freezeframe and the ball keeps on flying. When the ball was done with the flight of its life, it embarked upon a ballet with destiny as its partner and soon the duo met their fated end, the acute corner of the net that sent Camp Nou into an explosion of delirious frenzy.
There was no end to the joys, there was no end to the exhilarations and it was just the beginning of a historic comeback that would haunt Simeone and his men for ages to come. The Catalan loyalists would probably forget the remaining victories of the season but this goal was straight from the last decade where Barcelona was more than just a middling contender. They were a force at the heart of Spain and the world.