FC Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-2 in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup and the first Clásico of new manager Tito Vilanova. While the result could have been much better if not for Valdés’s inexplicable blunder, it could also have been far worse considering Real Madrid opened the score in the second half. As it stands, everything has been left to be decided next week at the Bernabeu.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
Victor Valdés – 4
He’s undoubtedly the flop of today’s match. His mistake that led to Di Maria’s goal was bizarre to put it mildly and might potentially cost the club the Super Cup. Didn’t have much work to do otherwise.
Adriano – 6
Had a very discreet performance; had little to do defensively and didn’t make a big impact on the attacking end of the pitch either.
Gerard Piqué – 6.5
Also had little to do defensively. His distribution was good as usual, as he was the starter of many of the team’s attacking moves.
Javier Mascherano – 7.5
Did well in the rare occasions he had work to do defensively, but his most important contribution was his inch perfect pass to Pedro, made even more crucial by the fact Real Madrid had just opened the score. If Barcelona win this title, that pass will have been the game changing moment for sure.
Daniel Alves – 7
Dealt with Ronaldo well and was very active in attack, even coming close to scoring on one occasion in the second half.
Sergio Busquets – 8
His positioning was impeccable and he recovered a lot of balls, recycling possession time and again; he was also on the end of many bad challenges from Madrid players. The only blight in his performance was that he could have done better to prevent Ronaldo’s opener.
Xavi Hernandez – 8.5
Orchestrated almost every attacking move, especially during the second half and scored the third goal with an exquisite finish. He keeps delivering great performances with the same metronomic consistency as ever.
Andrés Iniesta – 9
Different class. The best player on the pitch today. Opened up gaps in the Madrid defense all match long with his insane dribbling and nimble footwork, got the penalty and pretty much invented Xavi’s goal. A brilliant performance overall.
Alexis Sanchez – 6
Was very active, but was mostly ineffective in his actions and failed to beat his man often. He also let himself down by constantly looking for fouls inside the penalty area.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7.5
He was very active and looked dangerous all match long, and also swayed the tie in favor of Barca with his all important equalizing – a clever run behind Coentrão and an excellent finish.
Lionel Messi – 7.5
Was not as inspired as usual, missing some chances he’d usually bury easily and not making as big an impact as expected from him. He was still very cool from the penalty spot, giving Barcelona the lead and taking his El Clásico tally up to 14, one step closer to Di Stefano’s all-time record of 18.
Christian Tello – 6.5
His pace created some problems to Real Madrid’s defense, but ultimately nothing came of it. He didn’t have much time to make an impact.
Cesc Fabregas – N/A
Came into the match too late to make an impact.
Jordi Alba – N/A
Merely made a late cameo.
Image: Eduard Omedes – [MD]