El Clasico: Sergino Dest's bad miss is turning point in another Barcelona defeat

Sergino Dest's attacking abilities are what convinced Coach Ronald Koeman to give the 20-year-old Dutch-American a prominent role in his second season at Barcelona.

But Dest's finishing let him down on Sunday in El Clasico against Real Madrid and will likely cost Koeman his job.

Before 86,422 fans -- the most at the Camp Nou since fans were allowed back this season -- Barcelona lost to Real Madrid, 2-1, in a match that turned on a Dest miss.

Barcelona was pressing for the opening goal in the 25th minute when Dest, starting his third game in a week in the Barca attack, had an open goal with giant Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois beaten but fired his shot high and over the goal. Seven minutes later, Austrian David Alaba scored to give Real Madrid the lead. Barcelona spent the rest of the game struggling to find an equalizer that never came.

Koeman said the complexion of the game changed when Dest failed to convert the chance that Memphis Depay created for him.

"We had a very clear chance to go 1-0 up and shortly afterwards Madrid took the lead," Koeman said. "It's a totally different game if we go ahead. You simply have to score such a clear opportunity."

Koeman and Dest go back to 2019, before Koeman took over at Barcelona coach. He was the Dutch national team coach and was wooing Dest to join the Oranje. Dest, who played for the USA at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and 2019 Under-20 World Cup, chose to play for the USA at the senior level.

But a year later, Koeman came knocking again as the new head coach at Barcelona, which acquired Dest from Ajax for a transfer fee of about $25 million.

After starting on the right wing alongside 18-year-old Ansu Fati and Depay, Dest was moved to right back after the break when on Philippe Coutinho for Oscar Mingueza and had his moments.

He fired off a shot with his left foot -- almost a carbon copy of the move that produced the USA's opening goal in its 2-1 win over Costa Rica in World Cup 2022 qualifying 11 days earlier -- that skimmed over Courtois' goal. And in stoppage time, he broke free on the right wing and put in a perfect ball for Sergio Aguero in the 6-yard box to put away for the Argentine's first goal since signing with Barcelona from Manchester City.

El Clasico (2020-21)
March 1, 2020. Real Madrid 2-0 in Madrid.
Oct. 24, 2020. Real Madrid 3-1 in Barcelona.
April 10, 2021. Real Madrid 2-1 in Madrid.
Oct. 24, 2021. Real Madrid 2-1 in Barcelona.

"I am disappointed with the result," said Koeman, but the team tried until the last second. We didn't create many clear opportunities. It was an even match, but in the end the small details proved key. It is difficult to find positives from losing at home to Madrid, but I liked the attitude of the players and the fans."

Koeman was speaking before he tried to leave the stadium. A crowd of young supporters spotted the Dutchman trying to leave and surrounded his Audi. Most simply raised their phones to video the Barcelona coach, but some angrily pounded on the car before it sped away.

The incident prompted Barcelona to issue a statement that it "will take security and disciplinary measures so that such unfortunate events do not happen again.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Dest wasn't the only American to fail to convert a big opportunity in for a high-profile team.

In France, Timothy Weah started for Ligue 1 champion Lille in its 1-1 tie with Brest on Saturday and was one its most active players but he failed to convert three chances. Weah, who is one of Lille's most popular players, took responsibility for his performance and thanked Lille fans for their support.

On Sunday, Konrad de la Fuente played in his first "Classique" for Marseille against Paris St. Germain, entering the match in the 70th minute, but missed a late chance from close range and the match ended in a scoreless draw.

Dest Photo: Marc Gonzalez Aloma/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire

9 comments about "El Clasico: Sergino Dest's bad miss is turning point in another Barcelona defeat".
  1. R2 Dad, October 25, 2021 at 3:24 a.m.

    Koeman plays  Dest out of position because of injuries to other squad members, and it's his fault? I'm sorry, the spoiled Spanish fans should save their whistles for Barca management that so badly ruined the club finances. Umtiti is a perfectly serviceable center back but he too isn't good enough, despite winning a World Cup? If la Masia was such a talent generator then why  does Barca keep needing to buy center halves? Perhaps Barca fans were too used to perfection every week.

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, October 25, 2021 at 6:36 a.m.

    It was Painful to Watch; as much as I Cheer for Madrid and against Farça; I would never want to see an American suffer a "Wondoloski" in the Biggest game in the World... I hope he can Recover from it, but you can Bet Farça is looking for his Replacement at Rt.Back already. Not because he is Doing Poorly there, but Because he Missed a "Sitter" as Rt.Forward...A position we have All previously  noted  the Obvious; IF YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO BE A FORWARD AT AJAX, HOW CAN YOU BE EXPECTED TO BE A FORWARD AT FRAÇA.!?!?!?... Blame the Board for giving Koeman such a "Neutered" Roster.

  3. frank schoon, October 25, 2021 at 8:54 a.m.

    Although Barca lost, I think Koeman did the best he could under circumstances. He's not going to get fired...for what? for not having a front line.They have asked Xavi and he is backing off for everyone knows Barca is at its lowest point and no coach wants the job...The game could have been a tie.....but lets face ,I think Real Madrid is the better 'team' for they have a few better key players. But I will say one thing it looked to me there were two teams out there using the names Barcelona and Real Madrid wearing there jerseys. 

    Dest like I said is a defender who has some wing capabilities. Koeman did not place Dest on the right wing because he's a good winger. He placed him there because of his defensive capabilities in order thwart RM build up and most importantly to impede RM's strong side which is their left side.

    Furthermore you can tell how often Dest tracked back to play defense, seeing him sometimes in the penalty box. you'll find Dest situated  behind Gavi the right midfielder.....how often do you see that happen in soccer....Note the lack of wing capability Dest has in the first half against the RM leftback who was tall and fast.  In other words Barca really played with 2up front attackers, a young Fati and Depay..WOW , what an offense!!! when you compare it to when Barca had Messi and Suarez and Griezman... The saving grace is that they only lost 2-1.... Anyone who blames Koeman for Barca' problems is a fool and doesn't know anything...

    Note the lack of wing capability Dest has in the first half against the RM leftback who was tall and fast. So whenever Dest got the ball before you get into opponent's defensive third, Dest could do nothing for he had no moves no speed to get by the leftback. He basically became a station to pass to....So now you know why Ajax played Dest at Right back, he isn't good enough to play WING as a wing.  But Dest has more creativeness as a wing on the USMNT, which only accents or points out the poor quality of wings we have that suppose to play as wings....

    If you want to watch real wing play than watch Ajax's rightwing Antony. You saw him against Dortmund where the Germans didn't know what to do against him...Or for that matter watch this wing at 13min 51seconds in video .
    Pele: The Master & His Method, Soccer Training Program - YouTube

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  4. frank schoon, October 25, 2021 at 9:47 a.m.

    Dest didn't or couldn't do anything as a wing in the first half because when he received the ball it was outside the opponents defensive third. But he got an assist as a wing when he got into their third.
    The secret of wing play is not to use speed and Dest as wing never had speed (TURBO). You ONLY need a STEP on the defender as a wing, which can give a chance to cross ,to go or shoot and that is what Dest had or was given....Here is what Dest did, a began to dribble and THEN he feinted ,taking one dribble ,pushing to his left which forced the defender to stop his going backward and turn a little to the right to follow Dest....Are you with me!!! This was the crux!!! With the ball at Dest back foot ,he immediately pushed the ball straight to the endline. Remember, the defender had turn initially a little to his right ,well after Dest pushed the ball toward the endline the defender had to make a 120 degree turn, a larger turn to his left to follow Dest. That gave Dest 2 steps on the defender for the cross. BINGO!!!!.  

    What I'm saying is that a slower player is much more effective when he's closer to the endline than when he's around midfield. And furthermore as a wing you should try to reach the endline because then you draw backwards the opponents backline all the way back in front of the goalie giving your frontline space in front of the goal. In addition, the backwards momentum of the backline makes it more difficult to reverse their momentum to go toward to go at the attackers and they also get into the goalie's way....IT'S A WIN WIN EITHER WAY.... But WHAT do we  see in the games, the wings cut inside creating more of rush hour in the middle ,clogging things up along with the opponents likewise moving into the center. But instead, you should remain where there is more space ,down the flanks. But everybody wants to do what  Arjan Robben does ,cut in and curve it far post....well good luck with that for teams are getting more and more prepared for that eventuality for it becoming too predictable for the few times it works.
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  5. beautiful game replied, October 25, 2021 at 1:35 p.m.

    Frank, good points about Dest and wing play. But what about DePay coughing up the ball over a dozen times. His decision-making process in the last several games is rolling down hill.

  6. frank schoon replied, October 25, 2021 at 1:43 p.m.

    BG, of course I"m not defending Depay. He shouldn't not even be at Barcelona, he's not a Barcelona type of player...It only shows how low in the barrel Barca is scraping for players....Look at who scored the goal for Barca....he came out of retired ,Barca can't even pay a transer fee.....

    Depay has his uses like on the Dutch national team where there are a lot of other good players. Depay has something unique, he's very individualistic but he does stupid things. The problem is that there is no one else to take his place...he's it....

    Also , Frenkie de Jong is going through doldrums who will be out for a while due to hamstring problem...Frenkie is an excellent player but he's not used right because of Busquets who is good....It is just a big mess there. We'll see

  7. frank schoon, October 25, 2021 at 9:53 a.m.

    At Ajax you are taught two aspects of wing play and that is taking the man on or crossing or curving it around the opponent. I've yet to anyone around here make a nice cross curving around the opponent and at the same time bending away from the goalie....Geez , have you seen the crosses in todays pro's, or for that matter in college. If it weren't for the stadium  surrounding the field, you'd end up searching for the ball underneath cars in the parking lot.

    The skills of todays players are pathetic!!!  I laugh whenever I see a pass, switching the field, well-intended to an open man but unfortunately ending up on the other side of the moon....As a result the intended receiver raises his hand and gives a well-meaning thumbs up. In my days when you did a thumbs up like it would meant to be sarcastic( 'like pass much') and expect a fight in the locker room during halftime from the one who made the pass. But guess what, in today's soccer, it is meant as a compliment, GOOD TRY!!! I mean, how bad the skills have gotten ...

    I think every MLS team needs to set up a school for WiNGERS...pick player beginning the age of 13 to start teaching wing play. That means you will have to hire former wingers from South America of Europe..I can name a few right now, off hand... The wing position does so much for the game. The crosses, bending away makes goalie uneasy; the one on one (or for those licensed 1v1 jargon) ability which in defensive opening up and having to shift to counter the beaten defender; by beating a defender the wing can create a 2v1 , as well as a shot on goal....It is where all the space and we don't use it , instead everyone follows and copies of going inwards. Only go inwards to change the patter but not follow the trend..

  8. frank schoon, October 25, 2021 at 10:08 a.m.

    LATEST NEWS ON DEST...Barcelona is not happy with Dest, apparently, and consider him a lightweight, not good enough for Barcelona. He's only functional decent 1 out of 3 games...They placed him on the wing only because he has than backsupport thereby reducing his defensive weaknesses...And as attacker he just doesn't have the abilities...Koeman is finally agreeing with the technical of Barcelona that Dest comes up short as a player......

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, October 28, 2021 at 12:05 a.m.

    Sad, as usual management needs a scapegoat.

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