Salzburg beat Barcelona on late Aaronson winner

United States international Brenden Aaronson struck a late winner as FC Salzburg beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Red Bull Arena in an entertaining preseason friendly on Wednesday.

Aaronson, who joined Salzburg from the Philadelphia Union in January, turned home from close range in the last minute after Chukwubuike Adamu had hit the post.

Martin Braithwaite‘s fortunate goal five minutes earlier looked to have rescued a draw for Barca following Luka Sucic‘s deflected opener just before the break.

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Salzburg’s winning margin might have been greater if not for a string of glaring misses from Switzerland forward Noah Okafor in the first half.

This was Barca’s fourth game of preseason and the first they have failed to win. They’re still without Lionel Messi, who’s not yet signed his new deal with the Catalan club and remains a free agent.

Barca were also missing several other players due to injuries, the Olympic Games and players returning late from international tournaments this summer.

However, Ronald Koeman was still able to name a strong side in Austria, with Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Antoine Griezmann among those slotting into a 3-5-2 formation.

It was the home side who roared out of the blocks in a front of a ferocious crowd, though, and they should have been 2-0 up before Sucic’s 43rd-minute opener.

Okafor missed two gilt-edged chances, blazing over with the goal gaping after a Jordi Alba mistake and sliding wide later when one on one with Neto.

At the other end, Memphis curled wide for Barca and Griezmann hit the roof of the net but Nico Mantl was never really troubled.

Salzburg finally opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time when Sucic’s long-range effort took a touch off De Jong to deceive Neto.

Multiple substitutions disrupted the second half, but Salzburg remained on top and there was still time for Okafor to miss another opening, firing straight at Neto when well placed, before he was finally replaced.

The game opened up late on, with Alejandro Balde and Memphis both testing substitute goalkeeper Philipp Kohn from distance before Braithwaite’s leveller.

The Denmark striker didn’t know much about it, though, with the ball ricocheting off him and beating Kohn after Sergino Dest‘s shot was only half-cleared.

Salzburg pushed hard in the final five minutes to restore their lead. Some last-ditch defending from Dest kept Benajamin Sesko out on the line but the home side kept going.

Adamu shook the post but Aaronson, who scored seven goals in his debut season in Salzburg last term, was quickest to react to the loose ball.