February 24, 2024

Maxsports

All Sports To The Max

Leandro Trossard scores twice as Arsenal defeats Barcelona 5-3 in a thrilling game at SoFi Stadium.

 

Leandro Trossard showed his indisputable quality on a field with more stars than the constellations, putting an exclamation mark on a eight-goal game for soccer purists.

Arsenal’s 5-3 victory over the Spanish champions was orchestrated by a quick-fire brace from the Belgian. His opener – a left-footed laser which skidded along the SoFi surface and into the far post – gave Arsenal a 3-2 lead, its first, on 55 minutes.

Before Barcelona could answer, the Belgian had added a second by way of a piercing cross from Kieran Tierney. Once celebrations had been and gone, Trossard was substituted signaling an end to his night.

While his 78th minute strike could have vanquished hopes of a Barcelona comeback, Ferran Torres made sure to set up a finish befitting of the passionate 70,223 packed into the house that Stan built.

Fittingly, in front of its occasionally-beloved owner – depending which continent he  may be on — Arsenal sealed the game behind the sheer force of a Gabriel Martinelli rocket in the final seconds.

The 5-3 score did not flatter Arsenal but Barca had its chances to change matters long before the final whistle. Ousmane Dembele looked Barcelona’s biggest threat of the second half and came within a post of making it 3-3.

Arsenal were victorious against the Spanish champions in a breathtaking eight-goal game

Arsenal were victorious against the Spanish champions in a breathtaking eight-goal game

Leandro Trossard was the difference for Arsenal; his two clinical finishes helping them to a win

Leandro Trossard was the difference for Arsenal; his two clinical finishes helping them to a win

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke watched his team play in-person at the home of his NFL franchise

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke watched his team play in-person at the home of his NFL franchise

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the chaotic friendly played at SoFi Stadium in L.A.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the chaotic friendly played at SoFi Stadium in L.A.

The woodwork got in the way of Barcelona just several minutes later, as Balde thrashed an effort against the opposite post to Dembele.

England’s runners-up and the Spanish champs went toe-to-toe in two action-packed halves, totaling four goals in each.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in a chaotic first 45, with a typically predatory tap-in at the expense of Gunners keeper, Aaron Ramsdale, in the seventh minute.

Raphinha profited from a bursting, mazy run from Abde Ezzalzouli but his shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper. No matter, with the Polish fox-in-the-box there to poke home nonchalantly.

Six minutes later, parity was restored thanks to Bukayo Saka. The England dynamo kept his feet moving to pounce on a sloppy touch from Andreas Christensen – who looked like he had concrete inside his Adidas’ – before lifting it above Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Saka then had the chance to double his total after Arsenal received a 21st minute penalty following a handball foul from Ronald Araujo. Though, his effort went wide right, leaving the Londoner curled over in dismay.

His anguish would’ve been further felt when Raphinha who received some help from the Arsenal wall en route to wrongfooting Ramsdale. The Brazilian’s whipped cross was sent in the opposing direction after cannoning off Odegaard, who had turned his body amid the threat of contact.

A level of spice beyond the attacking flurry was born out of Araujo’s frustration toward the end of the first. The already somewhat-physical friendly was intensified with a full-blooded challenge on Havertz, before blasting the ball away in anger.

The Arsenal academy product did start the Gunners' scoring spree with a well-timed finish

The Arsenal academy product did start the Gunners’ scoring spree with a well-timed finish

Raphinha gave Barcelona a 2-1 lead after his speculative free kick took a wicked deflection

Raphinha gave Barcelona a 2-1 lead after his speculative free kick took a wicked deflection

Despite a dazzling game, Saka had an opportunity to bury a penalty kick - but badly missed

Despite a dazzling game, Saka had an opportunity to bury a penalty kick – but badly missed

He made up with it by supplying Martin Odeegard who assisted Kai Havertz (C) before HT

He made up with it by supplying Martin Odeegard who assisted Kai Havertz (C) before HT

For the second time on the night, Barca could only hold its lead for a matter of minutes, nine specifically.

Saka was found in space down the right thanks to the rapid thinking of Thomas Partey, where he then ran at Christensen sending the Dane tumbling before a lofted ball to Odegaard inside the area.

The Norwegian’s flicked header was met by the attentive shin of Kai Havertz on 43 minutes — making it multiple goals on his debut summer tour with the North London club.

Despite it being 2-2 at half-time, Arsenal would have been justified in feeling aggrieved at the score-line equality. In the end, Mikel Arteta’s side made it right.

Pitch problems and notorious L.A. traffic delayed the game by 36 minutes but by the end, time was an irrelevance; 90 minutes which felt like a matter of moments. For Arsenal fans, at the very least.