Barcelona were prevented from getting on the scoresheet in a Champions League game Group stage for the first time in five years, by Olympiacos at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece.
Had it not been for Chelsea’s trashing by AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico the very same night, these result would’ve probably grabbed the kind of headlines it deserved. It was expected that they would have most of the possession, and they did – 70% of it.
They attempted an insane 19 shots, out of which only 6 were on target and they had 12 corners to try and make something out of, but astoundingly, could make nothing of them. Olympiacos, who are fifth on the SuperLeague Greece table, had stopped Barcelona for the first time this season.
The Greeks were putting in an inspired shift, defending like their lives depended on it. They maintained a 71% tackle accuracy, blocked 8 shots and were better tackling in the ground and in the air. 22 interception, 25 clearances and strangely, the exact same number of fouls as Barcelona – 9.
Proto, Botia, Tachtsidis and Elabdellaoui, all put in stunning defensive performances to keep the Barcelona attack at bay. This is undoubtedly their biggest result this season, and one that they can use to kickstart their campaign and resurgence.
Marc Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Was called upon once and saved from, other wise he was reduced to a mere spectator for most of the game. Olympiacos did only have one shot on target, so the German had an easy day at the office as Barcelona dominated proceedings.
Nelson Semedo: 6/10
Threatened going forward and even attempted 2 shots at goal, of which only 1 was on target. The Portuguese full-back defended well, making a number of key tackles and contributed going forward, but as the game progressed, there was a dip in the level of intensity.
Samuel Umtiti: 7/10
Didn’t have much to do in the center of defence as his side were barely troubled. Showed off his good range of passing, recovered the ball well and it was a good showing from the Frenchman. A positive, confident display. Didn’t put a foot wrong the entire night.
Javier Mascherano: 7/10
The Argentine was reinstated into the starting XI after being out sick, and had a good return. He distributed the ball well and like Umtiti, was never really troubled in the center of defence. Mascherano has had a difficult season so far, but this performance will undoubtedly help get his spirits up.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
The Spaniard wasn’t too troubled defensively and as a result, was free to foray forward. He linked up with Messi in attack and made some some good tackles. However, couldn’t make much his chances going forward.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
Did well in the first half in midfield and was getting into the game, but his match was unfortunately over after he was taken off with an injury in extra time in the first half. Wasn’t able to make a huge impact during his time on the pitch.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Ran the show from the middle of the park for the Catalan giants and ensured that the pressure remained on Olympiacos’ defence. A superb outing from the 29-year-old, who exuded calm and was also his side’s most prolific passer.
Screened his defence well and ensured that Olympiacos were never able to build any sort of momentum from midfield. Made a number of key tackles as well, and was one of Barcelona’s better players on the night.
The Brazilian was industrious, but couldn’t contribute much going forward. Was good in the air and maintained a good passing accuracy in the final third, but he wasn’t able to get his side on the scoresheet. Was taken off in the 62nd minute in favour of the more creative Ivan Rakitic.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
The Argentine, who more often than not is their saviour in these kind of occasions were halted by the Greeks. He took shots, created chance after chances and took on players with the kind of ease that we’ve come to expect, but not even his individual brilliance could break down Takis Lemonis’ men.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
The Uruguayan striker’s disappointing season continues. Clearly lacking in confidence, missed a chance early on in the game and was even denied by the bar in the latter stages of the game. He is yet to score in a Champions League game this season and his last goal came over 2 weeks ago.
Denis Suarez: 6/10
Handed a rare start ahead of Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Deulofeu, but couldn’t make the most of his chance. Nearly set up Luis Suarez for the opener with a nice pass, but that was it. Faded later in the game and found it difficult to try and impose himself. Taken off for Andre Gomes in the 75th minute.
Gerard Deulofeu: 5/10
Brought on for Sergi Roberto just before half time. However, couldn’t make any sort of impact. Lacked end product and couldn’t make good use of his pace. It was a frustrating night for the Spaniard and perhaps his worst game in what has been a fairly promising season so far.