The second match day in Group C of Champions League play sees FC Barcelona secure a late win two to one away to Borussia Mönchengladbach. Thorgan Hazard gave the home team an early lead in the first half, but second half goals from Arda Turan and Gerard Piqué gave the blaugrana all three points to keep the side top of their group table.
Marc-André ter Stegen – 6.5
Marc had very little to do in the match other than pick the ball out of his net once and make two easy stops. He wasn’t at fault for the goal and his distribution was decent. A quiet night for a keeper is always preferable even a homecoming like this one for the German.
Jordi Alba – 5.5
Along with Javier Mascherano Jordi was given a torrid time down the opposing right flank by Hazard and Raffael. His overlapping wasn’t as strong as we are used to seeing and his crosses lacked accuracy. Surprisingly the Spaniard was beaten for pace on the only goal of the night for Mönchengladbach.
Javier Mascherano – 6.5
Javier looked a lot stronger during this match than pervious ones. He made six commanding tackles but gave up one professional yellow in the 63rd. Hopefully this match improves his confidence as Barcelona will need his continued good play during the upcoming weeks of the season.
Gerard Piqué – 7.5
Gerard made a few decent tackles throughout the match and like his center back partner gave up an yellow in the 70th. His rebounded goal from a Luis Suárez shot and Neymar corner won the match for Barcelona. The Spaniard did what was needed by the club on the night.
Sergi Roberto – 6.5
After weeks of world class performances, Sergi put in a decent shift against the German opposition. He made a strong tackle in the 22nd and constantly looked to make runs into the opposing third which went unrewarded. Roberto suffered from Paco Alcácer playing on his wing and Neymar constantly dropping deeper to receive possession.
Andrés Iniesta – 6.5
The name of the game for Andrés on the night was trying to unlock the defense of Gladbach. Overall unsuccessful yet he tried a wide array of chips, through and long balls in the hopes of penetrating the strong German defense. There will be better nights for the World Cup winner.
Sergio Busquets – 6.0
Rather than pressuring the back four as most teams try to against FC Barcelona, Gladbach sat back trying to deny the ball to Sergio. He was strong in the tackle and distribution but wasn’t as comfortable as normal. He gave away the ball that led to the goal for the Germans but redeemed himself somewhat by finding Neymar before he assisted Turan.
Ivan Rakitić – 6.0
Ivan ran tirelessly throughout the 59 minutes he was on the pitch. He won a corner in 23rd and fired a tame shot into the opposing keeper hands in the 58th. Unfortunately for the Croatian the club looked much stronger when he was withdrawn for Arda Turan.
Neymar – 7.0
The Brazilian tried to do his best Lionel Messi impression on the night but failed in the execution. He dropped deep, switched flanks, and tried to dictate play with dribbling and passing. In the first half he looked too hard for free kicks. The highlight on the night for him was his chipped ball assist for the opening goal for the club.
Luis Suárez – 6.5
Luis had a frustrating night in front of the goal for the club. He missed a great chance in the 11th that he fired way wide. In the 39th he had a great shot saved. In the 79th he volleyed a shot after a Neymar cross that rebounded to Piqué for the second and winning goal for Barcelona. He was constantly in the mix but didn’t provide much for the club.
Paco Alcácer – 5.0
Paco was invisible during the first half. He was withdrawn in the 54th minute but should have been withdrawn at the half. The young Spaniard wasted his second start for the club.
Rafinha – 6.0
The Brazilian didn’t provide the influence that he has for the club in previous weeks. He didn’t make any errors but didn’t offer anything of influence either.
Arda Turan – 8.0
Arda gave a man of the match performance off the bench for FC Barcelona. He fired a devastating shot into the back of the net for the first goal of the match for Barça. He won the corner that led to the second and wininng goal. The Turk almost bagged a brace with a nice chip shot in the 77th. A strong 30 minute showing from the man so many wanted to sell in the off season.
Arda was your man of the match and Piqué also played well but the three points was the most important part of the night. Who were your favorites?