Memphis Depay scored a late equaliser to help Barcelona salvage a point against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Matchday 2 of the 2021/22 La Liga.
Barcelona should have been in front just six minutes in after some fine work by Memphis Depay who teed Martin Braithwaite, but the Dane missed a glorious chance, firing over when he had the goal gaping. From that point on the Catalans struggled to impose themselves on the game, with Athletic in the ascendancy, although they too weren’t able to test Neto at the other end.
Barcelona did put the ball into the net on the cusp of half-time through Ronald Araujo, but it was chalked off for a foul in buildup by Braithwaite. The hosts started the second half positively as well and were rewarded just five minutes in as Inigo Martinez directed Iker Muniain’s cross into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Barcelona were sparked into life after conceding as they picked up intensity and sharpness. Frenkie de Jong came close to equalising, only for his effort to hit the crossbar before Depay thundered the ball into the net after some good work by Sergi Roberto to play him in. Both teams had chances late on while there was some drama as well, with Eric Garcia getting sent off in stoppage time, but the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
After a fine display in the opening game against Real Sociedad, this was a bit of a dampener from Ronald Koeman’s side. Here are our player ratings for the Barcelona stars following a disappointing result.
Not a lot he could have done about Martinez’s goal. But his distribution from the back was shoddy which added to Barcelona’s problems on the night. Did not look comfortable with the ball at his feet, especially with Athletic pressing him up intensely.
Sergino Dest: 5.5/10
The USMNT international made a few decent forays forward, but left gaps at the back that a better team could have exploited to a greater extent. Defensive issues in his game still need to be ironed out and it might not be a surprise to see Koeman turn to Emerson Royal in the upcoming matches.
Eric Garcia: 4/10
Looked in trouble each time Inaki Williams came up against him, as the Spaniard found it hard to keep up with the Athletic forward’s pace. Lost Martinez for the opening goal and then was sent off in stoppage time for a foul on Inaki Williams’ younger brother Nico, who also beat him for pace time and again. Should not have started the game after having received the news of his grandfather’s passing just before kickoff.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
🚑 | OFFICIAL | Gerard Piqué has discomfort in his left calf. Further tests are pending to determine the extent of the discomfort. pic.twitter.com/D0KEUVqDRa
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) August 21, 2021
Made a few interventions in the first half, although there was one hairy moment when Oihan Sancet got the better of him. Limped off with an injury just half an hour into the game.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Made some good runs upfield, as is the norm, but the end product was not there from the veteran Barcelona full-back. Left spaces open that Athletic looked to attack, but were not able to make the most of it.
Frenkie de Jong: 7.5/10
Had a rather subdued first half when he was not able to impose himself on the proceedings. Turned the tide around after the half-time break, as he became more incisive with his passing and drove Barcelona forward with purpose. Struck the woodwork in the 73rd minute and then set up a chance for Depay late on which could have won the game. Worked hard off the ball and made a crucial block to deny Inaki Williams in the first half.
📊 | Frenkie de Jong vs. Athletic Bilbao
70 passes (85% accuracy)
2 key passes
2 accurate long balls
1 hit woodwork
4 successful dribbles
9 duels won
2 blocked shots
2 tackles pic.twitter.com/K68kY5jANi
— 🪄🇳🇱 (@FDJChief) August 21, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
The Barcelona captain was well below his best as he was unable to beat Athletic’s press and got caught in possession at times over the course of the game. Did play a role in the equaliser, winning the ball back before Sergi Roberto set Depay up.
Found it hard to get going against a physical Athletic Bilbao outfit, who did well to curtail his influence on the proceedings. Did have a couple of nice moments, but ultimately failed to make an impact. Will now be off to take a much-deserved rest for the next couple of weeks.
Antoine Griezmann: 5/10
An underwhelming performance from the Frenchman, who enjoys a great record against Athletic Bilbao. Starting on the right, he tried to have an impact by veering into the middle but hardly did anything noteworthy. Dropped too deep at times as well. Needs to get things right now that he is Barcelona’s senior forward.
Memphis Depay: 7.5/10
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 21, 2021
Lively throughout, the Dutchman was a menace to the Athletic defence, starting off with a fine run and cutback to set Braithwaite up for a chance. Continued to be a thorn in the side for the hosts and equalised with a brilliant strike after doing well to stay onside and control the ball. Could have won it for Barcelona late on, but his effort went agonisingly wide. Looks like a top signing already.
Martin Braithwaite: 5/10
After the heroics of last weekend, this was a bit of a leveller for the Dane who struggled to get going on Saturday night. Link-up with those around him was not sharp enough while he missed a glorious chance to score early in the game.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
On for Pique in the first half. Put the ball into the back of the net with an acrobatic effort only to see it get chalked off. Made a crucial goal-line clearance to deny Alex Berenguer after the break.
Sergi Roberto: 6.5/10
Replaced Pedri in the 62nd minute. Offered a bit more control in the middle of the park and did very well to set Depay up for the equalising goal.
Yusuf Demir: 6/10
On for Braithwaite in the 64th minute to make his competitive debut for Barcelona. A few bright moments here and there.
Emerson Royal: N/A
Late substitute for Dest.