Barcelona began Qique Setien’s first game in charge with a late 1-0 win achieved by a classic free-flowing Blaugrana goal.
The La Liga champions had to wait until the 76th minute to open the scoring through who else but Lionel Messi, but it was absolutely worth the wait.
It was vintage Barca. 20-year old La Masia graduate Riqui Puig pressed relentlessly and won the ball back before playing it to Sergio Busquets.
The midfield metronome then fed Messi, who played a first-time forward pass to Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman flicked onto Vidal, who returned the ball into the path of Messi to score the first goal of the Setien.
One fan tweeted, “Ridiculous #Barca goal. Started by Puig winning the ball high up the pitch, great play from Messi, Griezmann, and Vidal before Messi finishes right-footed”.
The speed of passing and movement was eerily reminiscent of the ‘tiki-taka’ football Barcelona would play on a weekly basis when at the peak of their powers under Pep Guardiola, a protege of the legendary Johan Cruyff.
Incredibly, Barca had 82% of possession in the game – just shy of the all-time La Liga record of 84% when Guardiola’s troops dominated the ball back in 2011.
They also attempted 1,005 passes, 217 more than their previous top tally of the season against Real Betis earlier this term.
Commenting on his side’s use of the ball, Setien said: “The fact that we made so many passes? The only thing I need is to have control.
“We we had talked about being brave and going forward to recover the ball in their territory and that helped us to created danger after recovering the ball.”
Setien’s second game in charge is a Copa Del Rey trip to Ibiza on Wednesday, where Barca will be hoping the party continues.