A Frenkie de Jong goal gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over Huesca, lifting Ronald Koeman’s side up into fifth place in La Liga.
Koeman reverted to a back four having used a back three in Barcelona’s last two league fixtures, with Sergio Busquets returning to the starting lineup and Antoine Griezmann omitted once again.
Barca started the match on the front foot and took the lead after 27 minutes when Frenkie de Jong got on the end of a Lionel Messi cross into the box to convert on the cushioned volley past Alvaro Fernandez in the Huesca goal.
Ousmane Dembele had opportunities to put the game to bed, but was thwarted more than once by Fernandez before Huesca mounted a late fightback, failing to find an equaliser. The result saw Barca return to winning ways after their underwhelming draw at home to Eibar.
TALKING POINT - Barcelona almost made to pay for their wastefulness
Dembele, Messi and Pedri all had chances to find the back of the net against Huesca, with Barcelona utterly dominant in the first half. They were almost made to pay for their wastefulness as the Catalans ran out of steam in the final 10 minutes. This allowed Huesca to mount a late fightback. The hosts failed to find an equaliser, but Koeman must instill a ruthlessness in his players that is currently lacking. They have to kill off games quicker.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
It’s certainly true that Dembele might have made more of the opportunities he was presented with against Huesca. Indeed, the Frenchman must work on his decision-making in the final third of the pitch, but his natural talent was showcased here for all to see. This was a demonstration of what Dembele offers Barcelona when he is fit and in form. He gives the Catalans something different and caused Huesca problems throughout. On another night, Dembele would have notched a couple goals and assists.
Huesca - Fernandez 6, Pulido 6, Insua 5, Siovas 5, Galan 5, Mosquera 5, Mikel Rico 5, Seoane 5, Gomez 5, Mir 6, Ontiveros 6. Subs - Doumbia 4, Okazaki 4, Carlos 6, Ferreiro 5.
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 7, Dest 6, Araujo 5, Lenglet 6, Alba 7, Busquets 5, De Jong 7, Dembele 8, Messi 8, Pedri 7, Braithwaite 6. Subs - Pjanic 5, Griezmann 4, Mingueza 3.
27’ GOAL! Huesca 0-1 Barcelona: That goal had been coming for a while! Messi swings the cross into the box from the left side, de Jong timed his run well and the Dutchman guides a finish into the back of the Huesca net! Barcelona have the lead their dominance warrants.
41’ What a save! Messi must have thought he'd found the back of the net with a freekick strike heading for the top corner, but Fernandez gets across to make a diving save. What a stop!
58’ Big chance for a second! Dembele got on the end of a ball into the left channel and lifted a clipped shot over Fernandez, but Siovas was back inside his own six-yard box to make a clearance.
63’ Ter Stegen forced into a save! Good opportunity for Huesca to restore parity, but the Barcelona goalkeeper gets down well to make the stop from Mir. He saw that really late as well!
Lionel Messi made his 500th La Liga appearance for Barcelona, becoming the first non-Spanish player to reach the milestone.
Frenkie de Jong has had a direct hand in three goals in his last five Barcelona appearances, only one fewer than his tally for his last 34 games.