Lionel Messi and Sergino Dest scored braces while Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann were also on target as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 6-1.
Barcelona controlled the game in the early stages, but it was Real Sociedad who had the first big chance with Alexander Isak being denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. However, the Catalans were back on top not long after as Antoine Griezmann put them in front against his former club in the 37th minute, pouncing on a rebound after Ousmane Dembele’s initial effort was saved.
Real Sociedad hit back almost immediately through Isak, with ter Stegen making another save to deny the Swede before Barcelona doubled their advantage in the 43rd minute through Sergino Dest, who was played in by Lionel Messi. Eight minutes into the second half, the USMNT international doubled his tally on the night, to make it 3-0 for Barcelona.
Minutes later, Messi got into the goalscoring act getting on the end of a sublime pass from Sergio Busquets before poking the ball past Alex Remiro. And after having had a shot saved and a goal disallowed for offside, Dembele found the back of the net in the 71st minute with a fine left-footed strike.
Real Sociedad managed to score a consolation goal with a magnificent effort from Ander Barrenetxea but Messi was on target again after a flowing team move to seal a resounding 6-1 win for Barcelona on Sunday night, taking them back to second place and within four points of leaders Atletico Madrid. Here’s how we rated Ronald Koeman’s players on the night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7.5/10
Made a couple of top-notch stops in the first half to deny Isak and keep Barcelona’s noses in front in the contest. A couple more straightforward saves in the second period from Adnan Januzaj and Carlos Fernandez. Not a lot he could have done about Barrenetxea’s goal, however.
Oscar Mingueza: 7/10
Solid in defence, calm and composed when on the ball, the Barcelona youngster once again enjoyed an impressive outing on Sunday. Was not troubled a whole lot but was alert when he needed to be. Made four tackles and completed 90% of his passes.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
How has Frenkie de Jong made 184 passes in the last two games & only misplaced 5 of them 🤯
Dictating things from the middle of Koeman’s back three 🔥 pic.twitter.com/JY1dR0j4zb
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) March 21, 2021
Extremely vital to Barcelona’s build-up play from the back with his ability to stride out with the ball and play precise passes for the forwards. Attempted (97) and completed the most number of passes (93) on the night, while not being stretched defensively, apart from one occasion when Isak stole the ball off him.
Clement Lenglet: 7/10
A professional display from the Frenchman, who seems to be growing in confidence with each passing game. Kept things tight at the back and was tidy when on the ball, playing a role in Barcelona’s dominance on the proceedings.
Sergino Dest: 9/10
The change in the system, with him playing as a wing-back has unleashed Dest’s best qualities. Looked a major threat each time he was on the prowl forward. Had a cross-cum-shot tipped onto the bar before he made it 2-1 for Barcelona with a powerful strike close to half-time. Added another goal in the second half to kill the game off. Completed three dribbles and a key pass.
Sergino Dest is living the dream 😍 pic.twitter.com/iRZ9jtAOQw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 21, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 7.5/10
Seems to be enjoying playing with the security of three defenders behind him as he tried to be aggressive in trying to win the ball back in the middle. On the ball, he was neat and tidy as always and kept the team ticking before unleashing a sensational pass for Messi to score his first of the night. Finished with a 93% pass success rate, while also playing a couple of key passes.
Was not directly involved in any of the goals Barcelona scored on the night but played a role in his team having control over the proceedings for the most part. Accurate with his distribution, misplacing just one of his 41 attempted passes, the youngster also worked hard off the ball and pressed with great intensity before being taken off.
Jordi Alba: 8.5/10
Another player whose attacking output seems to have improved a great deal after the switch of formation, the Spaniard was flying down the left flank with utmost regularity and was a constant thorn in the side for Sociedad. Made a game-high four key passes and created both Dest and Messi’s second goals.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Lionel Messi has now scored or assisted in each of his last 14 LaLiga games.
The last time he did not was December 16th in the reverse fixture against Real Sociedad. 😳 pic.twitter.com/I0vmzi1Cb9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 21, 2021
A record-breaking night for the little magician as he became the Barcelona player with the highest number of appearances in the history of the club. And he marked the occasion with a trademark stunning display. Got the ball rolling as he was involved in the build-up to the first goal and then, with a nice pass he set Dest up for his first of the night.
Post the break, Messi got himself on the scoresheet twice with two well-taken finishes. Two goals, one assist, two key passes and three dribbles completed – Messi well and truly stamped his authority on the game.
Ousmane Dembele: 8/10
A livewire in the final third, the Frenchman’s pace was a problem for the Sociedad defenders on the night. Had a shot saved in the first half allowing Griezmann to react and score from the rebound. Had an effort saved in the second period and a goal chalked off for a marginal offside call before he got his goal following a fine run to make it 5-1. Getting back to his best.
Antoine Griezmann: 8/10
On his 30th birthday, the Frenchman got the show started for Barcelona by reacting quickly to pounce on the rebound and score the all-important opening goal against his former club. Involved in a lot of positive moments in and around the box and did his bit off the ball as well.
Griezmann: "I did not celebrate out of respect for my former team. I wouldn't have been here without them."
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 21, 2021
Ronald Araujo: 6/10
On for Busquets in the 67th minute. Slotted in defence, allowing de Jong to play in midfield. Solid for the most part.
Ilaix Moriba: 6/10
Sent on in place of Pedri, the youngster continued his impressive run with the first-team, setting Dembele up for Barcelona’s fifth of the night.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
Came on for Dembele in the 79th minute. Booked.
Francisco Trincao: N/A
Replaced Dest in the 84th minute. Played a part in Messi’s second goal.
Riqui Puig: N/A
On for Griezmann with five minutes left to be played.