Barcelona eeked out a valuable 2-1 victory over Scottish champions Celtic to almost secure qualification to the knockout stages. It was a very hard fought win, only secured in the very last minute of extra time through an improbable Jordi Alba goal.
Here are the ratings for the Champions League match…
Victor Valdés – 7
Had nothing to do all match and had no chance to prevent Mascherano’s own goal.
Jordi Alba – 8
Was an ever present threat down the left flank and scored the all important winner in the final minutes with a brilliant goal.
Javier Mascherano – 7
Scored a very unfortunate own goal, and had very little work to do apart from that, was more active in ball distribution tasks than defensive ones.
Marc Bartra – 7
Was mostly untroubled, but provided invaluable help in set pieces with his height. Also showed great calm and composure on the ball.
Adriano – 8
Was free to charge through the right flank the entire match and had some mildly dangerous attempts on goal, which didn’t lead to anything. He was one of the team’s engines today though.
Alex Song – 7
He wasn’t quite as dynamic as Busquets, but he did a solid job breaking up play and getting the ball to Barcelona’s creative players up front.
Xavi Hernandez – 8
Displayed his usual passing mastery, pulling the strings in Barcelona’s midfield and finding gaps in Celtic’s defense, including the one that helped lead to the equalizer late in the first half.
Andrés Iniesta – 8.5
Was at the end of the brilliant Messi-Xavi-Iniesta move that led to the equalizer and constantly tormented Celtic’s defense with his amazing dribbling and footwork, as well as eye for a pass.
Alexis Sanchez – 6
Had a quite subdued performance, rarely being able to beat his man or create anything remotely dangerous. Ended up being replaced by Villa.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7
Gave his marker a very hard time and always looked dangerous, but his final ball let him down many times.
Lionel Messi – 7.5
Tried hard to find a way through the Celtic defense, but often saw his efforts foiled either by the keeper or the Celtic defensive wall. Didn’t produce as much magic as usual, but still a good performance.
David Villa – 7.5
Came in for Sanchez late in the game and hit the post in the dying minutes, also noticeably adding fluidity to the team’s attacking game.
Christian Tello – 7
Came in for Pedro and injected some pace up front. Didn’t have much time to shine, but did help stretch the Celtic defense to its limits.