We twice came from behind to ensure a winning end to our summer US tour.
Inside the magnificent, sold out SoFi Stadium in LA, Barcelona took the lead early on through Robert Lewandowski, before Bukayo Saka drew us level. Saka then missed a penalty in an eventful first-half, before the Spaniards retook the lead through a deflected Raphinha free-kick.
Kai Havertz was in the right place at the far post to turn home Martin Odegaard’s header to level things up again before the break and we deservedly went ahead when Leandro Trossard arrowed home his shot from just inside the area. Trossard scored his second, finishing from Kieran Tierney's cross, before Ferran Torres briefly brought Barcelona back into it.
But Fabio Vieira ensured the scoreline had the gloss we deserved with a stunner late on.
We started brightly after the delayed kick-off in the impressive SoFi Stadium, but it was Barcelona who struck first, on their first attack of the game. Aaron Ramsdale initially saved well from Raphinha, but the rebound fell nicely for Robert Lewandowski to tuck home.
The lead lasted just five minutes. Ben White’s pass into the box was cut out, but Saka was alive to the opportunity, stole the ball off Andreas Christensen, and finished well inside the near post.
We continued taking the game to Barcelona, who were flying in with the challenges to disrupt our rhythm.
Gabriel Jesus was in the mood though, and carved out a great chance for himself with some nifty footwork inside the box. He elected to pass when through on goal, and it was just ahead of Saka.
Havertz on target
We were on top now, and should have gone ahead. We won a penalty when Leandro Trossard’s shot struck a Barcelona arm in the box, but Saka dragged his spot kick wide of the upright.
Barcelona punished the mistake when they retook the lead late in the half. They won a debatable free-kick out wide, and Raphinha’s effort deflected off the wall, leaving Ramsdale scrambling as the ball squeezed inside the far post.
The La Liga side continued with their physical approach, and Araujo finally went into the book for a reckless challenge on Jesus.
We deservedly drew level again, and once again Saka was involved. He deceived then outmuscled Marcos Alonso to get to the byline, stood up a cross to the far post and Martin Odegaard’s header was diverted home by the lurking Kai Havertz.
Leandro Trossard and Jesus both had late efforts tipped over as we finished the first-half on top.
Trossard at the double
Barcelona changed all 11 players at half-time, while Mikel Arteta sent on Emile Smith Rowe in place of Havertz, and we continued to dictate the game. Saka volleyed over from close range after being set up by Jesus’s lifted pass.
At last the goal came. Jesus superbly chested down a long pass into the path of Trossard. He took the ball on before rifling a low left-footed shot inside the corner from just inside the area.
Smith Rowe thumped a shot goalwards, that Inaki Pena turned over as we looked to capitalise on our dominance.
At the other end Ousmane Dembele struck the post after breaking into the box, but we put the game to bed when Trossard grabbed his second.
Kieran Tierney – not long on the pitch – fired in a cross which the Belgian met first time to thump past Pena. It was no more than we deserved.
Barcelona struck the woodwork again through Alejandro Balde, and pulled one back late on when Ferran Torres pounced on a Rob Holding slip and smashed home past Ramsdale.
But Fabio Vieira would have the final say, he curled home left-footed from outside the area to seal a resounding win.
The team flew back to London straight after the final whistle, and next up it’s Monaco back at home in the Emirates Cup on Wednesday night with a 6pm kick off (UK time).
That’s followed by the Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday, and the Premier League campaign starts at home to Nottingham Forest the following weekend.
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