FC Barcelona salvaged their Champions League campaign with a vintage performance and 4-0 win over AC Milan after a 2-0 defeat in Italy. It wasn’t easy to turn the tie around, but an almost perfect collective performance ended up being enough to pull it off and send Barça to the quarterfinals.
Here are the ratings for last night’s match:
Victor Valdés – 7
A mere spectator for the most part, although he almost conceded when Niang’s shot hit the post.
Jordi Alba – 8.5
Excellent performance on both ends of the pitch, capped off with a goal in the final minute. He was extremely active and combined very well with the attacking players up front.
Gerard Piqué – 8
Rarely called upon, but did quite well when needed, namely with a key interception to a Boateng cross that could have been very dangerous otherwise.
Javier Mascherano – 7.5
Solid for the most part, but he was lucky not to offer Milan the tie-deciding goal as Niang’s shot hit the post after Mascherano’s horrendous mistake put him through on goal.
Daniel Alves – 8
His delivery rarely found its target, but he provided great width and pace down the right flank, stretching Milan’s defense. It was a very good performance overall.
Sergio Busquets – 9.5
Almost flawless performance. Mopped up every single Milan attacking attempt and extinguished the Rossoneri fire in its tracks. Quick and accurate with his distribution as well.
Xavi Hernandez – 9
Returned to action in style, assisting Messi’s first goal and Villa’s goal, while being as spectacular in possession as usual, with perfect distribution and movement in midfield.
Andrés Iniesta – 9
Also had an excellent performance, showing his usual tremendous skill and great link-up play, wreaking havoc in the Milan defense all match long. Assisted Messi’s goal after a clever interception and came very close to scoring himself.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7
Below the level of his teammates, but still had a good performance, especially off the ball – he was a key member in the way Barcelona pressured their opponents far higher and more effectively than they have in a long time.
David Villa – 7.5
Wasn’t very involved overall, but he found the net as soon as he had a scoring chance, putting Barcelona ahead in the tie.
Lionel Messi – 9.5
Scored two extraordinary (but quite normal by his standard) goals to equalize the tie and was his usual dominant self during the rest of the match as well. Once again, Messi dragged Barcelona through a tough match/tie, showing why he is the best player of this generation by such a distance.
Carles Puyol – N/A
Only played 15 minutes and didn’t really have anything to do.
Alexis Sanchez – 7.5
Also came into the match late but left his mark. Had a goal disallowed for offside but ended up assisting Alba for the deciding goal.
Adriano Correia – N/A
Like Puyol, didn’t really have a chance to make a mark in this match during his short time on the pitch.
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: David Ramos/Getty Images