Algeria’s international and right-wing wizard Ryad Mahrez scored a late penalty to save Pep Guardiola from defeat in his return to Camp Nou. The ALS Awareness friendly game ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong, and Memphis Depay on target for FC Barcelona.
The ALS Awareness game was a friendly game to raise money and awareness for the fight against ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The ALS awareness clash between the Premier League champions and the Spanish giants which took place at Camp Nou on Wednesday night, August 24, 2022, attracted 91,000 spectators to the stadium.
Juan Carlos Unzué, the former Barcelona goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach who has the disease and helped promote the friendly, executed the honorary kickoff of the ALS awareness friendly game.
“We want to continue living and enjoying life,” he said before the match.
Barcelona XI: Roberto, Inaki Pena, Kounde, Alba, Pique, Kessie, Busquets, Rahinha, De Jong, Torres, Aubameyang,
Manchester City XI: Ortega Moreno, Walker, Lewis, Dias, Philips, Gomez, Palmer, Bernardo, Mahrez, Foden, Alvarez
Former Barcelona head coach and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola returned to Camp Nou to join his former club in a top-cracker charity match – ALS Awareness
The match began with the two sides making it a battle of the midfield as they struggled to establish dominance—Barcelona with a slight advantage after all.
But the first chance of the match went to the host. Chelsea target, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was in the Manchester City box but nodded right into the hands of a waiting Ortega. It was still an intense and brilliant opening minute for the hosts. Franck Kessie raced past Kalvin Philips and drilled a powerful thunderbolt, but it hit the post.
Barcelona continued to dominate the opening minute of the match, with Raphinha having his own shot on target but was saved by Ortega again. Manchester City was yet to lose any threat to the opponents as the host continued to dominate 7 minutes into the match.
The first clear chance for Manchester came in the 21st minute, and the English giants converted it well with Julian Alvaez’s strike – his first shot on goal, and it was a goal for the visitors.
Barcelona began to force an equalizer as the match heated up. Chelsea target Aubamenyang helped the host tie the game to a 1-1 draw in the 29th minute courtesy of a stunning strike. Without allowing Sergio Busquets’ header to land, Aubamenyang fired into the back post.
It was more of a balanced game from both sides with attempts on target. But the game proved too tight for them as they perfectly countered each other’s stealthy moves at goal. The score remained 1-1, with both sides going into the break with a draw.
Both teams filed back into the field for the final 45 minutes of the showdown. It was a rain of goals. Both sides made changes as the game progressed with Xavi bringing in numerous changes.
They effectively caged each other way down into the 68th minute when the deadlock was broken. A wanton mistake at the Man City back caused the Citizens to concede again. De Jong smashed home a rebound from Ortega to shoot the host into a 2-1 lead.
Manchester awoke from their slumber like wounded lions in search of an equalizer. Just 2 minutes later, it was 2-2. Terrific teamwork from Manchester City has yielded results. It was Cole Parmer who struck to make it 2-2.
Barcelona had another golden chance in the 79th minute, and they converted it well. Memphis Depay with the goal. Sergio Roberto perfectly set the Dutchman up, and he fired right into the net to make it 3-2. Only 10 minutes remained to play with, and it was looking like Xavi was heading for a big morale-boosting win.
However, it didn’t end that way as Norwegian wunderkind Erling Haaland was brought down in the penalty box in the 98th minute, and Manchester City was awarded a penalty. Algerian magician Ryan Mahrez converted to drag the match to a dramatic 3-3 draw after the final whistle.