Chelsea clinch 2-1 win over Barcelona in Japan friendly
Goals from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley saw Chelsea grab a 2-1 victory against Barcelona on Tuesday in an exhibition match in Japan.
Chelsea striker Abraham opened the scoring in the 34th minute by pouncing on a mistake by Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets who attempted to clear the ball.
But with Chelsea midfielder Jorginho applying pressure, the ball rolled towards Abraham who only had to step past rushing goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and gently send it into the net.
Four minutes later, Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic showed off his speed and footwork to infiltrate the Barca defence, but his left footer went just wide.
Barcelona went on the offensive in the second half, with substitute striker Carles Perez leading the way.
But superb saves by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga repeatedly denied Barca any attempt to equalise.
In the 55th minute Perez zipped past three Chelsea defenders but his left toe kick finish was not good enough to get past Arrizabalaga.
A few minutes later, he dashed deep into the left side to feed a high-speed cross to striker Malcom, but Arrizabalaga again denied them.
Chelsea made it 2-0 with less than 10 minutes left as midfielder Barkley picked up a cross in front of the box and curled it into the net, with substitute 'keeper Neto getting a touch it but unable to block it.
Just before injury time, Barcelona got a free kick just outside the box but midfielder Ivan Rakitic's shot went above the bar.
Rakitic however quickly redeemed himself in injury time, picking up a cross and firing a lightning right footer that went deep into the net for a consolation goal for Barcelona.
Barca's Rakitic unmoved by transfer rumours
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic accepts his days at the Nou Camp may be numbered, but for now he is concentrating on preparing for next season with the Spanish champions.
After the arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax and 31-year-old Sergio Busquets signing a new five-year deal last year, Barcelona’s midfield is looking a little crowded and the Croat could be the man shipped out this summer.
Speaking ahead of his side’s pre-season match against Chelsea in Japan on Tuesday, Rakitic admitted it was awkward talking about his future but he was used to the rumours.
"Does it bother me? No it doesn’t, I have to understand soccer in general works like that,” Rakitic said at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday when asked about any impending move.
"In some way it also fills me with pride because if other teams ask about me it is because I am doing things really well."
Rakitic said he is simply trying to enjoy his soccer at Barca as they seek to put disapointments of recent seasons behind them.
"I think the club has other things to do right now other than speak about my issues,” the 31-year-old said.
Coach Enesto Valverde has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to attacking midfielders at his disposal after the arrival of Antoine Griezmann from La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid this month.
Griezmann joins a loaded attacking group that also includes Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
French international Griezmann, who is likely to play his first game in a Barcelona shirt on Tuesday, accepts that Barca play a different brand of football to Atletico but he is confident he can adjust.
"They are two different ways of attacking,” Griezmann said. "At Atletico it’s very quick and the other way is with lots of patience. I will adapt like I did at Atletico.”
"It’s a style I like. I know I can contribute in many ways and, as you know, it’s not a problem for me to run in front or in the back.”
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