Lionel Messi was the star of the show for Barcelona as they thrashed bottom feeders Huesca 4-1 at Camp Nou in La Liga on Monday night.
It took just 13 minutes for Lionel Messi to make his mark on the game as his superb bending effort nestled into the top corner to put Barcelona in front. Twenty minutes later, Antoine Griezmann made it 2-0 with another sensational strike from outside the box that left the Huesca goalkeeper with absolutely no chance.
But the visitors were able to halve the deficit just before half-time as Rafa Mir converted a spot-kick after having been awarded a penalty for an infringement by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, although there was very little in it. Eight minutes into the second half, though, Barcelona were able to restore their two-goal cushion with Oscar Mingueza steering home a Messi cross to make it 3-1.
In the dying embers of the game, Messi hit another sweet, curling finish that found its way into the net to add more sheen to the scoreline. The result means Ronald Koeman’s men are back in second place, four points off of leaders Atletico Madrid. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars on the night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Needed to be alert to Mir’s strike just two minutes in and made another good save to deny Pablo Maffeo. Gave away the penalty and could not stop it as Huesca pulled a goal back. Not called into action much after the break.
Oscar Mingueza: 8/10
30 Matches / 14 clean sheets / 2 Assists / 1 Goal / has killed so many twitter pUnDiTs.
Òscar Mingueza. Believe in him. pic.twitter.com/f8f24mCuOO
— Táyéf 🐺 (@toufikurrr) March 15, 2021
Another solid effort from the academy graduate, whose growth into an important first-team member continues at a rapid rate. Hardly let anything past him at the back, making three tackles, interceptions and clearances each while also being sharp on the ball. Started the move for the first goal after winning possession back and got himself on the scoresheet with a fine header in the second half.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Another game at the heart of the three-man defence and another strong display from the Dutchman. Covered well for both his centre-back partners and also looked a menace when he drove forward. Came close to scoring in the first half only to be denied by the woodwork. Misplaced just one of his 86 attempted passes on the night before being taken off.
Clement Lenglet: 6.5/10
Fairly comfortable for the most part, but the Frenchman looked a tad bit nervy when Mir or some other Huesca players broke at pace and faced him in 1v1 situations. No major errors though.
Sergino Dest: 6/10
Got forward with purpose from the right wing-back slot and forced the Huesca goalkeeper into action very early in the game with a powerful hit. Provided an outlet but needs polishing on his end product.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Busquets has been so good recently. Incredibly underrated, he'll be extremely hard to replace when he's gone. pic.twitter.com/gR6sZMWEuw
— Rudra (@culerudy) March 15, 2021
Played a bit higher than he usually does and kept Barcelona ticking with his precise distribution. Completed 93% of his passes on the night and got the assist for Messi’s opening goal. Did his bit off the ball as well, making three interceptions and a tackle.
Really aggressive when on the ball as he always tried to push forward and get into dangerous positions or play teammates into goalscoring areas. Made two key passes, one of which ended up being the assist for Griezmann’s goal. Worked hard when not in possession as well, contributing with a couple of tackles and three interceptions.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
A fine attacking display from the Spanish international, who made his trademark marauding forward runs with utmost regularity and caused problems to the visitors. Set de Jong up for a chance, who hit the woodwork, before Alba himself struck the crossbar. Completed 97% of his passes.
Lionel Messi: 10/10
Lionel Messi’s game by numbers vs. Huesca:
11 penalty area entries
9 duels won
4 fouls won
3 chances created
2 shots on target
He now has 20 goal involvements in 11 La Liga games in 2021. pic.twitter.com/TMsDkzumSM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 15, 2021
A perfect display from the Barcelona captain and talisman on what was a historic occasion for him as he went level with Xavi for most appearances by a Barcelona player (767). Opened the scoring with a sumptuous strike early in the game, then set Mingueza up for a goal with a well-hit cross.
Got his second of the night with another delectable finish. Completed most dribbles on the night (5) and made a game-high 3 key passes as well. Top-notch.
Antoine Griezmann: 7.5/10
Doubled Barcelona’s lead in the first half with a finish as magnificent as Messi’s for the opening goal. Showed some good movement and neat inter-play, but was not able to add to his tally on the night. Made one key pass before making way for Ilaix Moriba in the second period.
Griezmann doing the Messi outside the box golazo challenge 🤯
— ً (@fcbxxxs) March 15, 2021
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
Showed good energy at the top and made some dangerous runs. But, he was not able to contribute with a goal or an assist on the night, with Huesca managing to shackle him. Still, managed a couple of dribbles and a key pass.
Ronald Araujo: 6/10
Replaced de Jong in the 63rd minute to mark his return from injury. Not troubled a great deal.
Ilaix Moriba: 6/10
Came on to replace Dest for the final twenty minutes or so. Showed some quality on the ball.
Francisco Trincao: 6/10
Came on for Griezmann in the 69th minute and slotted in on the right wing. Made a couple of good runs and got the assist for Messi’s second of the night.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
Replaced Dembele for the final five minutes.
Riqui Puig: N/A
On for Pedri in the 85th minute.