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Frenkie de Jong scored the only goal when Barcelona beat LaLiga’s Huesca 1-0 at El Alcoraz.
Barcelona moved into the top five in LaLiga after Frenkie de Jong’s goal clinched a 1-0 win over bottom Huesca in Lionel Messi’s 500th appearance with the club.
Blaugrana manager Ronald Koeman, who warned before the game that defeat would end his team’s title fight, saw a much improved performance at Barcelona as he claimed back-to-back LaLiga wins away for the first time in his tenure.
Messi returned to the squad after missing Barca’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Eibar due to an ankle injury and was in his prime, ably assisting De Jong’s volley goal just before half an hour.
Huesca opened up to the visitors at times and it remains to be seen if Koeman can bring some consistency and style back to this team, but they did enough here to top Sevilla on the table.
How appropriate! Our first goal of 2021 is scored … No. 21! pic.twitter.com/oGwPCwAa8M
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 3, 2021
Barcelona’s initial pressure paid off after 27 minutes, when Messi made an exquisite pass into the area, where De Jong evaded two defenders and guided the ball to the corner of the net from a six-meter volley.
Messi would have capped off a good first-half performance with a magnificent goal five minutes before the break had Álvaro Fernández not made a spectacular save, launching his 20-yard free kick over the crossbar.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner launched a fierce effort from the edge of the penalty area early in the second period, before Marc-Andre ter Stegen went down well to prevent Rafa Mir’s close-range shot from becoming the equalizer.
Ousmane Dembélé should have put the match out of the question when he went one-on-one with Fernández 13 minutes from time, but the Huesca goalkeeper saved his feet and then again denied Messi before full time.