Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by a resolute Slavia Praha side in their fourth Group F encounter of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.
Captain Lionel Messi came the closest for Barcelona in the first half, but one of his efforts from the edge of the box bounced off the woodwork, while the other was saved by the brilliant Ondrej Kolar, who also kept out an effort from Nelson Semedo. Slavia thought they had opened the scoring on the verge of half-time, but Lukas Masopust’s strike was chalked off for offside.
Substitute Sergi Roberto was also denied by the Slavia goalkeeper ten minutes after the break, while Arturo Vidal’s goal a few minutes later was ruled out as Messi was adjudged to have been marginally offside in the buildup. The Argentine came close again in the 78th minute, once again to be stopped by Kolar as Slavia held on for a famous point at Camp Nou.
Pressure will continue to mount on manager Ernesto Valverde after another unsatisfactory result. And here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars on Tuesday night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
The German international wasn’t called into action a great deal on the night, but was up to the task whenever he was needed. Saved a deflected effort early on and stopped Masopust’s header on the verge of half-time, but could not stop the rebound. However, he and Barcelona were saved by the offside flag. Proactive in coming out and collecting crosses all game long.
Nelson Semedo: 5/10
The Portuguese full-back was a dangerous outlet going forward for Barcelona in the first period and drew a save from the Slavia goalkeeper early in the game. Defensively, he was made to work hard by the visitors, who posed a threat on the counter. Shifted to left-back after the break, Semedo struggled in both attacking and defensive facets of his game, offering little of value.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
Another shaky display from the veteran Barcelona defender, who was given a tough time by Peter Olayinka. Was caught out by the Slavia man’s clever turn in the first period, forcing him into conceding a cynical foul which earned him a booking. Will now miss the Borussia Dortmund game as a result.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
Slightly more assured than his defensive partner, the Frenchman looked less likely of the two to commit any mistake on the night, which isn’t to say he was at the top of his game. Lacked calmness and composure at times, although he did pull out a fine recovery challenge in the first half.
Jordi Alba: 5/10
Provided the usual outlet on the left side for Barcelona, but did not look at his 100% on the night. Hooked off at half-time with another supposed hamstring injury.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
Constantly tried to make things happen from the middle of the park, but the Dutchman had little support from some of his teammates. Kept things moving with solid, accurate passing and tried to press forward at every possible opportunity, but could not make a decisive impact on the game.
Sergio Busquets: 4/10
The veteran midfielder struggled to cope against the intensity and high pressing from Slavia on the night. Had a hard time fending off the visitors’ counter-attacks, while he offered little in terms of a link-up between the Barcelona defence and attack. Sacrificed late on in search of a goal.
Ousmane Dembele: 5/10
Bright and frustrating in equal measures. The Frenchman caused a lot of problems to the visitors defence with his pace and movement, but was time and again let down by his poor decision-making. Did create a great chance for Roberto in the second period with a brilliant lobbed pass, but to no avail. Subbed off for Ansu Fati in the latter stages.
Arturo Vidal: 5.5/10
Handed a start in an advanced midfield role, the Chilean brought his usual energy and bustle to the field as he tried to make things happen in the attacking third. Created the chance for Messi in the first half that was saved and found the net after the break, only to see it get ruled out for offside. Busy but ineffective.
Antoine Griezmann: 3/10
Another game, another listless performance from Barcelona’s marquee summer signing. Shunted out to the left flank again despite Luis Suarez’s absence, Griezmann struggled to get into the game all night.
Poor touches, misplaced passes, lack of understanding with those surrounding him summed up another miserable outing for the Frenchman. Did work hard off the ball though, but that’s not why Barcelona stumped up huge sums of money to sign him.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
As usual, the Barcelona captain looked the most likely player on the field to breach the Slavia goal on the night. But, found Kolar in his way, who made two fine stops to deny Messi on either side of half-time, while the Argentine also struck the woodwork with a sublime effort in the first half. Created the chance from which Vidal scored but was fractionally offside in the buildup.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
Replaced Alba at half-time and slotted in at right-back, with Semedo moving to the left. Had an effort saved by Kolar after being set up by Dembele, although he should have done better from that distance. Did little else of note.
Ansu Fati: 6/10
Came on for Dembele in the 65th minute. Lively from the get-go, the 17-year-old dazzled with some fine skills, winning a free-kick in a dangerous area and creating a chance for Messi with some sensational work on the left. Could not inspire a win, however.
Ivan Rakitic: 4/10
Thrown on in place of Busquets for the final twenty minutes or so. Looked off pace while his passing also wasn’t crisp and accurate as usual.