Barcelona managed a narrow 1-0 victory against Sporting Lisbon last night, thanks to an own goal from Sebastian Coates
Barcelona may have maintained their their 100 per cent record this season after securing a 1-0 win away at Sporting, but the win hardly seemed convincing. An own goal from defender Sebastian Coates was what sealed three points for the Catalan giants.
Although they top their group in the Champions League right now, fans were furious with their lacklustre performance. Time and again, Barcelona have proven that they are heavily reliant on the services of Lionel Messi. When he’s not at his best or restricted by the opposition, there is nobody who can step up and take responsibility.
Add to that Luis Suarez’s poor run of form and you have a hapless Barcelona side struggling to rake in a victory. One might say that their performances in the La Liga were convincing, but those were all games wherein Messi had performed well.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc Andre Ter Stegen – 7/10
For the second consecutive match, Ter Stegen was one of Barcelona’s better performers. Arguably, he was not tested much except for when he denied Bruno Fernandez right before the final whistle. Besides that, he went about his job and made a couple of routine saves.
Gerard Pique – 6.5/10
Pique put up a decent performance on the field. While he made some crucial blocks and clearances, he was easily beaten in one-on-one situations, especially in the first half, which could have costed Barcelona dearly. The club still managed to maintain a clean sheet but Pique needs to be more consistent.
Nelson Semedo – 7.5/10
Semedo never tires from rushing up and down the flank. Certainly one of Barcelona’s better players last night, Semedo was in his right-back role after being rested earlier. He made several penetrating runs to aid the attack while ensuring he was defensively solid as well. He restricted the opposition from cutting in.
Samuel Umtiti – 7.5/10
Umiti was quite aggressive last night and seemed ever-willing to take on a tackle. He kept the opposition at bay anytime they looked threatening, and is probably Barca’s best central defender right now. He contributed further with one brilliant block in the first half.
Jordi Alba – 6.5/10
Gradually, Alba appears to be hitting top form. While he could do with some space in front of him on the left, Alba seems like he is enjoying playing under Valverde. He ensured there was a certain amount of tightness in the Barca defence and never conceded space to the home side.
Sergio Busquets – 7/10
Busquets was his usual self last night. He provided ample support and cover to the back four, and even made some touches and turns, even if they did seem risky at times. He did quite well as a deep-lying playmaker and should be expecting more starts in the future since he can control the game quite well.
Andres Iniesta – 7.5/10
Iniesta looked extremely sharp as he established control in the midfield for Barcelona but he did seem a tad bit tired. This is his ninth successive start and it is quite evident that the player could do with some rest. However, Valverde has always maintained that he is a fundamental member of the squad, and he certainly did play like that.
Ivan Rakitic – 5/10
Rakitic was the single name on the lips of every furious Barcelona fan. Although he created a chance for Paulinho late on, he was extremely poor for the majority of the game. He was quite wasteful and misplaced passes, which gave the ball away to the opposition on several occasions.
Sergi Roberto – 6/10
Roberto started as a right-winger but he could hardly do much in the first half. However, as he got more comfortable, he added a directness to the attack with incisive runs from midfield area, which did add a nice dimension to the attack on a whole but was did not make an impact whatsoever.
Luis Suarez – 5/10
Suarez’s start to the new season has been quite forgettable, and last night was pretty much the same. He simply lacked creativity on the field and did not benefit the team in any form. Moreover, his touch was way off, even though he did make one good pass to Messi. The player needs to regain his old form pronto.
Lionel Messi – 6/10
The last match saw Messi being restricted by Maffeo, and a similar outcome ensued against Sporting Lisbon as Fabio Coentrao and Jeremy Mathieu ensured he got nowhere near the goal. Messi failed to exert any sort of control on the match. He did try a lot but things simply did not click due to the lack of support he received from his teammates.
Paulinho – 6/10
Paulinho came in at a time when Sporting were close to scoring an equalizer. The Brazilian did help in switching the game back to favour Barcelona. In fact, he also almost scored but was ultimately denied by Rui Patricio.
Andre Gomes – N/A
Aleix Vidal – N/A