On week 2 of La Liga, Barcelona got a narrow, yet crucial 2-1 win at the Reyno de Navarra, with Lionel Messi once again the hero as he turned the match around with his two goals in five minutes. The performance was very far from great, but the three points are worth gold especially considering that Osasuna are one of the toughest hosts to play against in La Liga.
Here are the ratings for last night’s match:
Victor Valdés – 7.5
Made a brilliant save in the first minute of the match and kept Barcelona in the match with some good saves all throughout the match. Also showed great calm and composure on the ball, which was especially reassuring given that the events of last Thursday could have affected his confidence.
Jordi Alba – 7
Was partially responsible for Osasuna’s goal, as he should have been marking Llorente, but made up for it on the other end of the pitch, providing great width during the second half and sending a brilliant assist for Messi’s winning goal.
Carles Puyol – 5.5
Didn’t have a good match today at all. Was beaten for pace many times and almost offered Sisi Osasuna’s second goal with a sloppy pass. He helped sustain Osasuna’s final assault, but overall it was not a good night for the captain.
Gerard Piqué – 7.5
Was the best Barcelona defender on the pitch, putting an end to quite a few potentially dangerous situations with excellent blocks and interceptions.
Daniel Alves – 7
Struggled to deal with Lamah’s pace at the start, but improved as the match went on and was a key member in Barcelona’s final attacking assault that led to the comeback, providing width down the right flank.
Sergio Busquets – 6
Didn’t have a good match. He wasn’t as shrewd reading the game and recycling possession as he usually is and almost gave Osasuna the second goal with a sloppy pass, had it not been for the post denying the goal.
Cesc Fabregas – 5
His mission was to replace Xavi and it failed completely. His passing and distribution was sloppy, he didn’t make himself available in space often enough and was generally too slow. It was a match to forget for Cesc.
Andrés Iniesta – 6.5
He was the most active among Barcelona’s midfielders, trying to make things happen but still had a poor performance for his standards, missing a sitter in the first half and misplacing many passes he’d usually make in his sleep.
Christian Tello – 6
Worked hard and tried to use his pace to break down Osasuna’s defense but was mostly inconsequential today, with his dribble or final pass inevitably coming up short.
Alexis Sanchez – 7
He was very active, coming close to score on a few occasions after great runs behind the Osasuna defense, and he assisted Messi’s opening goal. His failure to beat his man one-on-one with any regularity is the only blemish in his performance.
Lionel Messi – 8
Didn’t have a good performance by his own lofty standards, but saved the day yet again with a brace in the space of 5 minutes, despite not having done much before that. That is why he’s the best player on the planet, after all.
Xavi Hernandez – 8.5
Came in for Andrés Iniesta and gave so much needed calm and assurance to Barcelona’s midfield. His fantastic distribution made the team’s level of play increase tenfold and was essential to the late comeback.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7
Brought some much needed energy and width to Barcelona’s attack and was essential for the comeback, pretty much inventing the play that led to the equalizer.
David Villa – 6
Came into the match late and wasn’t particularly active, but helped put pressure on the Osasuna defense and attracted defenders towards him to give Messi more space to do his magic.
Editor’s note: These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. He is a lifelong FC Barcelona supporter and a freelance football writer who shares his thoughts @Manueltraquete
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