Barcelona have lost the first trophy of the season with a 2-1 away defeat to Real Madrid, after a 3-2 home win; away goals ended up being the deciding factor. Barcelona played a horrible first half today at the Bernabeu and ended up paying the price. The team fought back admirably after Messi’s stunning goal, but with only 10 men on the pitch they weren’t able to score the tie winning goal.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
Victor Valdés – 7.5
Should have done better to prevent Ronaldo’s goal, but had a good performance otherwise, saving Barcelona from going further behind in the score time and again. His first leg blunder ended up costing Barcelona the tie though.
Jordi Alba – 7
Was caught out of position a few times in the first half, but was a crucial part of Barcelona’s second half rally, and even came really close to scoring after a brilliant Messi pass.
Gerard Piqué – 6.5
Was tricked by Ronaldo in the second Madrid goal and never looked calm and assured at the back today. Was booked for a blatant handball in the second half.
Javier Mascherano – 6
Had a nightmare first half, being directly responsible for Higuain’s opener, seeing a yellow card short after and looking lost the whole time. Improved in the second half, but he won’t soon forget his shocking first 45 minutes.
Adriano – 2
Just a horrible night. He was a mess during his time on the pitch and then got himself sent off by fouling Ronaldo. Surely his worst match with the blaugrana jersey.
Sergio Busquets – 6
He was as lost as the rest of the team in the first half, but improved in the second, recovering some balls and distributing well.
Xavi Hernandez – 7
Also almost absent from the match in the first half, but excellent in the second half with his quick and crisp passing and distribution key to Barcelona’s domination of the second half even with only 10 men.
Andrés Iniesta – 7
Also had trouble asserting his influence in the first half, although he had some excellent bits of skill albeit in non dangerous areas of the pitch, but did far better in the second half with great passing and some penetrating runs that could have led to the winning goal.
Alexis Sanchez – 5
Was sacrificed for Montoya in the first half when Adriano got sent off, but had been virtually anonymous in the match prior to that point.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7.5
Had a very good performance overall, giving Real Madrid’s defense all they could handle with his excellent dribbling and runs behind the defense. He was a bit unlucky not to have scored, as he came close on quite a few occasions.
Lionel Messi – 8
He got Barcelona back into the tie with a sublime free kick out of nowhere and would have brought victory had his sublime assists in the second half been converted into goals.
Martin Montoya – 7.5
In hindsight, should have started instead of Adriano. He had no problem dealing with Ronaldo and was great on the offensive end of the pitch too, coming very close to scoring in the dying minutes.
Alex Song – 6.5
Played well in his Barca debut, as he settled in well with the team’s passing rhythm, but didn’t bring much offensively.
Christian Tello – N/A
Came into the match too late to make any sort of impact.
Image: PEDRO ARMESTRE – AFP