Barcelona continued their charge for an ‘Invincible’ season as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday.
The hosts were quick off the blocks and took the lead just ten minutes after Suarez started and finished off a move to score his 24th league goal of the season. But, Real Madrid were soon back in the game as Cristiano Ronaldo found the back of the net after some fantastic work by Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema.
The visitors subsequently took charge of the game, with Ronaldo coming close to doubling his tally twice. But as half-time approached, the game became a feisty affair, with Suarez and Sergio Ramos clashing at one end before Sergi Roberto was sent off for hitting out at Marcelo. But, the focus was back on football post the break.
— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 6, 2018
Lionel Messi put Barcelona ahead once again not long into the second half in typical fashion, but the match would end all square as Gareth Bale curled home a brilliant long-range goal. As far as the hosts were concerned though, they continued their unbeaten run, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Ter Stegen did not have a great deal to do in the Barcelona goal on the night, but he was up to the task whenever called into action, notably making a fine save to stop Ronaldo. There was very little he could have done to stop the two goals by Real Madrid, though.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
Started the game perfectly, giving Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo very little space to work with. Roberto even provided the assist for Suarez’s goal with an inch-perfect cross. But, then, all his good work was undone as he petulantly hit out at Marcelo to be dismissed at the stroke of half-time, leaving his team a man down for 50 minutes.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
Pique was slow off the blocks and looked to be struggling a bit with injury. But, after faring poorly during the sequence that saw Real Madrid score their first goal, he found his feet, keeping Benzema in check for large parts of the game. Impressed the most with his organising of the backline after Roberto’s dismissal.
Samuel Umtiti: 6/10
Still some way off his best, as was evident on Sunday. Umtiti too, was poor in the lead-up to Real Madrid’s first goal as he failed to mark Benzema, allowing him a free header at goal. Post the moment though, he kept things simple, allowing very little past him. Had his personal battle with Bale all night, in which both seemed to have their moments.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Disappointing from Alba, who has been a key player at both ends for Barcelona this season, but made little impact on the night. While he did surge forward regularly, his usual end product was nowhere to be seen. At the back, he was suspect all night, and could count himself fortunate to have not conceded a penalty that could have ended Barcelona’s unbeaten run.
Philippe Coutinho: 5/10
Another game where he was deployed in an unfavourable role on the right side of midfield, which meant that Coutinho just couldn’t make much of an impact. More disappointing was the fact that he was sloppy on the ball, bar a brilliant ball to Messi that couldn’t yield a goal. Sacrificed at half-time for Semedo, who had to be deployed at right-back.
Ivan Rakitic: 7/10
A typically unspectacular evening for Rakitic, who put in a big shift on the night, making a number of recoveries in the middle of the park while distributing the ball quickly and smartly. Especially came to the fore after both Iniesta and Coutinho had been taken off, as he took on the role of being the creator-in-chief from midfield.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
Ernesto Valverde’s go-to man was far from his best on the night, with Modric and Kroos giving him little time to breathe. Had his part to play in Real Madrid’s first goal as he was caught out of position. Much improved in the second half, when he found some sort of control in the middle of the park.
Andres Iniesta: 6/10
Not the sort of Clasico swansong that Iniesta and Barcelona fans would have expected. While he did show flashes of brilliance, he didn’t seem to be fully fit and failed to exert control on the game for sustained periods. Replaced just before the hour mark to a standing ovation.
Lionel Messi: 7.5/10
A game of two halves for the Barcelona talisman. Messi looked far from his best in the first half and was also booked for a poor challenge on Sergio Ramos. But, he was more like his usual self post the break, showing his remarkable abilities as he danced around two players before rifling the ball past Keylor Navas into the back of the net.
He was subsequently a constant threat in and around the Real Madrid box, and even had another chance to put the game to bed, but was denied by a brilliant Navas.
Luis Suarez: 8/10
Luis Suárez in the league since 2013/14:
31 goals ⚽️
12 assist 🅰
16 goals ⚽️
14 assist 🅰
40 goals ⚽️
16 assist 🅰
29 goals ⚽️
13 assist 🅰
24 goals ⚽️
10 assist 🅰
Double figure gang 5 years running. pic.twitter.com/u42j2PlnCh
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 6, 2018
Barcelona’s best player on the night. Suarez scored his 24th league goal of the season after starting the move to release Sergi Roberto on the right flank before volleying home calmly. He was then involved in just about every chance that Barcelona created, even fending off Raphael Varane to tee up Messi for his side’s second.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Semedo brought about a sense of calm at the back for Barcelona, despite the hosts being a man down. Easily his most accomplished defensive performance to date for the Blaugrana, and he can be excused for not creating a huge impact in the final third, bar an inviting cross for Paulinho.
Replaced Iniesta with thirty minutes to go as Valverde sought to solidify his midfield. Got close with a chance, and made some trademark driving runs, but that was about it from Paulinho.