Barcelona’s 100 per cent record in the new season came to an end on Sunday, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Girona at Camp Nou.
Reigning champions Barcelona dropped points for the first time in the 2018-19 La Liga season, as they came back from a goal down to draw 2-2 at home against Girona.
Club captain Lionel Messi gave Barca the lead in the first half but Clement Lenglet’s sending off in the 35th minute changed the complexion of the game. Buoyed by the numerical advantage, the visitors kept coming at the Catalans and Cristhian Stuani struck on the stroke of half-time to draw Girona level.
The Uruguayan striker then netted his second just six minutes into the second period to put his team ahead at Camp Nou and set the game up for a shock finish. But, Gerard Pique, who was at fault for both of Girona’s goals, made amends by heading home the equalizer a little after the hour-mark.
The draw put Barcelona back on top of the La Liga standings, level on points with arch-rivals Real Madrid, who occupy the second spot.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 23, 2018
And here’s how Ernesto Valverde’s players fared on the night at Camp Nou.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5/10
Made an uncharacteristic error that allowed Portu to get around him, but Pique was alert to make a vital clearance off the line, with the scoreline at 1-0. Not a lot he could do about either of Girona’s goals as he was left exposed by his defenders. Made a good save from Portu, but couldn’t stop Stuani from converting the rebound.
Nelson Semedo: 5/10
Coming into the starting XI for Sergi Roberto at right-back, the Portuguese did not do himself any favours as he picked up a booking just 12 minutes into the game. Created one or two decent opportunities going forward, but more is expected of him.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
A mixed night for the former Spanish international. Pulled off a brilliant goal-line clearance to thwart Portu in the first period, but was outmuscled by Stuani for the goal and was once again beaten by the Uruguayan for Girona’s second. Redeemed himself with the equalising goal soon after.
Clement Lenglet: 3/10
Making his first start for his new club, the summer arrival had started off well, helping his partner in a tricky situation early on. But an elbow on Girona’s Pere Pons’ face saw him being sent off in the 35th minute, after the intervention of VAR.
Jordi Alba: 5/10
Not the best of games for the Spanish full-back, as he struggled to make an impact going forward like he usually does, while he was exposed defensively on a few occasions. Made a few decent forays in the second period, but the end product was lacking.
Arturo Vidal: 6/10
The Chilean was handed his first La Liga start on Sunday night and he started off well, setting up Messi for the opening goal, after showing good energy and physicality. Worked hard in the middle without really influencing the proceedings a great deal. Withdrawn as Barcelona went behind early in the second-half.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
As is the case more often than not, most of Barcelona’s play went through him. Busquets showed quick thinking and was precise with his passing, while being aggressive in pressing the opposition. Filled in at centre-half till half-time after Lenglet’s sending off, but could not stop Stuani from scoring the first goal.
Arthur Melo: 5/10
A nervy full debut for the Brazilian midfielder. Dubbed as the new Xavi, Arthur struggled to get going on the night. Booked just 15 minutes into the game for a poor challenge on Aday Benitez and kept losing possession time and again, which invited pressure on his team. Replaced early in the second period as Barcelona chased the game.
Lionel Messi: 7.5/10
Messi made a brilliant run inside early in the game, taking on three defenders and beating them, before being denied by a fine save by Bono in the Girona goal. Beat the keeper soon after though, with an expert finish. Continued to threaten the goal and hit the woodwork on one occasion, but couldn’t fire his team to a victory.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
May have failed to find the back of the net, but Barcelona’s marksman looked sharp in attack. Showed excellent link-up play, creating opportunities for his teammates and kept battling against the defenders. Had a hand in Pique’s equaliser.
Ousmane Dembele: 5.5/10
The Frenchman’s pace had caused a few problems for the Girona defence in the first period. But, he was sacrificed at half-time for a centre-back, following Lenglet’s early sending off.
Samuel Umtiti: 6/10
Replaced Dembele at half-time and took Lenglet’s vacant spot in the backline alongside Pique. Defended well, although he could have done a bit better for Girona’s second. Had an effort blocked as Barcelona chased the winner.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
Came on for Vidal in the 58th minute as Valverde looked to regain control of the match. Rakitic helped Barcelona pin the visitors in their own half as they pushed for a way back into the game.
Philippe Coutinho: 6/10
On for Arthur soon after Girona’s second goal. Lacked his usual quality, but was more of a threat in comparison to Arthur and Vidal. A late effort drifted just wide off the mark.