Barcelona earned a penalty inside the first ten minutes, a great opportunity to take an early lead. Martin Braithwaite stepped up to the plate but sent his effort wide left of the target.
Koeman himself was an expert penalty taker, taking 52 in La Liga and missing just six of them, a record of 88.4%. This historically puts him amongst the top three penalty takers in Barcelona’s history alongside Laszlo Kubala and Lionel Messi.
Braithwaite has been a diligent performer for Barcelona since he joined the club but he’s always been viewed as a stopgap, an emergency signing brought in after successive injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.
The decision – or absence of decision – is for the piece a symptom of a wider problem at Camp Nou, that of Koeman consistently making the wrong calls.
Other examples cited are his decision to persist with the three-at-the-back system debuted at Valladolid – branded “an attack on Barcelona’s historical identity” – as well as allowing Messi to sit in the stands for the game for dubious reasons.