Barcelona got their third consecutive La Liga victory, with a difficult yet deserved 3-1 home win over Sporting Gijon. Despite Lionel Messi’s absence and Gerard’s Piqué sending off early in the second half, Barcelona were thoroughly dominant during the 90 minutes and fully deserved their victory.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
Victor Valdés – 7
Couldn’t have done much to prevent Gijon’s goal, and was otherwise a mere spectator in this match.
Adriano Correia – 7.5
Was easily beaten in the build-up to Sporting’s equalizer but, apart from that, he had an excellent game. He was a constant threat down his flank and assisted Iniesta’s goal.
Gerard Piqué – 5
Had a solid first half, but got needlessly sent off early in the second half and could have cost Barcelona the match.
Javier Mascherano – 7
Perhaps could have done more to stop Gijon’s goal, by tracking Barral’s run, but he was very good otherwise, making of lot of important interceptions and tackles.
Daniel Alves – 7.5
Was very active as usual, covering the entire flank with limitless energy and combining well with the forwards to create scoring chances. He could have drawn a penalty had the referee seen Galvez’s foul.
Seydou Keita – 8.5
Broke up play many times, showed impeccable passing and distribution and scored a stunning goal to give Barcelona the three points. A brilliant performance overall, one that drew immense praise from Guardiola.
Xavi Hernandez – 8
Pulled the strings along with Iniesta in midfield as usual, showing great passing and vision, and scored Barcelona’s third goal with a classy, Messi-like chip.
Andrés Iniesta – 9
Had an absolutely sensational performance, fully displaying his impeccable technique and breathtaking skill. He scored the opening goal with an easy tap-in and took over the game after Sporting equalized, leading the team to victory. Even Javier Clemente recognized that Iniesta’s genius was the deciding factor in the match.
Isaac Cuenca – 6.5
Beat his man quite a few times, but his final ball was lacking, and while he made a couple of shots, they were easily stopped by the keeper. He looked the most dangerous player out of Barcelona’s front trio, but failed to materialize that into goals or scoring chances.
Pedro Rodriguez – 6
Had a very quiet game; he ran a lot as usual, but rarely managed to beat his man and never looked very threatening. He was subbed after 60 minutes.
Cesc Fabregas – 6
Had the burden of replacing Messi (playing in the latter’s usual position) and, just like Pedro, couldn’t assert his influence on the match and was subbed early in the second half.
Christian Tello – 7
Made a great impact from the bench as usual; Gijon’s defense couldn’t handle his tremendous pace, and he helped Barcelona pile on the pressure and eventually win.
Alexis Sanchez – 6.5
Missed a great chance minutes after coming into the game and had to leave the pitch injured before he had the time to make a very significant impact on the match, although he was involved in the build-up to Keita’s goal.
Carles Puyol – N/A
Came into the match in the final minutes and had very little to do, as Sporting’s attack was pretty much non-existent in the final stages of the match.
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
Image credit: LLUIS GENE – AFP