The friendly clash between Manchester City and Barcelona ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw, thanks to a successful spot kick from Riyad Mahrez in injury time. Attended by over 90,000 fans in Camp Nou, the game was organised to raise funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a nervous system disease.

Juan Carlos Unzué, the former goalkeeper of Barcelona, was diagnosed with this neurodegenerative ailment two years ago. Unzué has won two La Liga and one Champions League title before joining the head coach Luis Enrique as a deputy in 2020. He watched the action unfold from the sidelines, sitting beside the current manager Xavi.

Julian Alvarez capitalised on the mistake of Iñaki Pena to give an early lead to the visitors. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was playing perhaps his last match at Camp Nou, cancelled the lead before Frenkie de Jong gave Barca a 2-1 lead. Cole Palmer pulled back for the City in the 66th minute, but they surrendered the lead again to a strike from Memphis Depay.

In stoppage time, Erling Haaland tripped inside the box to earn a penalty for his team, which was duly converted by the Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. But the highlights confirmed that Mahrez shouldn’t have got the penalty in the first place. It was a feeble touch from Barca’s defender Andreas Christensen, but Haaland made the most of it by diving to the ground.

Fans were disappointed with his antics, with many grilling him for using such tactics in an inconsequential game. One fan wrote, “Btw, that penalty Haaland won is one of the softest penalties I’ve ever seen. He genuinely took two strides before going down after the lightest touch from Christensen. If this was a competitive match, I’d be fuming.”

Another wrote, “Haaland literally took an entire stride, looked back, looked down and smiled before eventually going down. Old mate had enough time to make a cuppa tea and it would’ve still been given.”

Later on, Pep Guardiola dropped a major hint about Bernardo Silva’s future, stating that the Portuguese really likes Barcelona. “We want Bernardo Silva with us but I don’t want anyone to be unhappy here. The first thing would be for the two clubs to come to an agreement – then of course, I want him in my team,” he said. “It’s true that Bernardo Silva really likes FC Barcelona,” he said.

Lead image: Erling Haaland/Twitter