Abde Ezzalzouli and Gavi impressed, but Frenkie de Jong struggled as Barcelona played out a 2-2 draw against Osasuna at Estadio El Sadar on Sunday.
Barcelona started the game well and were in front just 12 minutes in when Gavi played Nico Gonzalez in with a lovely pass, and the 19-year-old fired past Sergio Herrera. However, Osasuna struck back almost immediately, with an unmarked David Garcia powering home a header from a set-piece to reinstate parity.
Barcelona were back in front early in the second half, albeit in controversial circumstances. Osasuna had a huge penalty shout for a handball by Sergio Busquets, but the referee waved play on, and Ousmane Dembele went on a quick run before lifting the ball to Abde Ezzalzouli, who buried a volley into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
Osasuna put the visitors under pressure from that point on and pushed hard to find an equaliser. And, Barca’s inability to deal with set-pieces came to haunt them again as Chimy Avila rifled home an effort from the edge of the area in the 86th minute to make it 2-2 and deny Xavi Hernandez & co. a much-needed victory.
The result means Barcelona stay in eighth place in the La Liga standings, 18 points off of leaders Real Madrid and five below Atletico Madrid in fourth. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Blaugrana stars on the evening at El Sadar.
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5/10
The German has been under pressure of late, and more questions will be asked after Sunday’s display. Ter Stegen seemed a bit slow to react to Garcia’s header but had no chance to stop Avila’s strike. In between, he was not entirely convincing when coming out to deal with crosses and long balls either.
Ronald Araujo: 6.5/10
Started as the right-sided centre-back, the Uruguayan had a decent game after a slightly nervy start. He was involved in a constant battle against Manu Sanchez and was able to shut down attacks more often than not.
Gerard Pique: 7.5/10
Like Araujo, Pique also began in a nervy fashion and looked edgy early in the game. However, the veteran defender grew into the contest with time and was a monstrous presence at the back. He affected nine clearances and six interceptions and made six ball recoveries.
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) December 12, 2021
Samuel Umtiti: 5/10
Making his first appearance of the season, the Frenchman looked rusty as one would expect, playing heavy passes from the back, while some of his passes to his goalkeeper were fraught with risk as well. Unfortunate to see Avila’s strike deflect off him and into the net for the equaliser. Did show some fight in physical duels, but not good enough.
Nico Gonzalez: 7.5/10
The teenage midfielder made a fine run to get on the end of Gavi’s cross and showed great composure to make it 1-0 early on in the game. Nico offered control in the middle of the park and was always willing to get on the ball and look to make things happen. He made way for Oscar Mingueza late on.
✍️ 𝟭𝟮/𝟭𝟮/𝟮𝟭: Nico Gonzalez's first goal in #LaLigaSantander.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 12, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 5.5/10
A slow and stodgy performance from the Barcelona skipper who could not keep up with his opposition counterparts for most parts of the game. There were a few decent passes forward, but the veteran star largely failed to make his presence felt. He could have given away a penalty for a handball right before Barcelona scored their second.
The teenage sensation was involved in almost everything positive that Barcelona conjured up on the evening. Gavi played a stunning pass to find Nico for the opening goal and was always on the lookout to try and open up the Osasuna defence. Off the ball, he was everywhere, getting stuck in challenges. He was booked for a rather strong tackle in the second half.
This assist by Gavi 😍 pic.twitter.com/d8HMefyQpr
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 12, 2021
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
The Frenchman looked bright in his second start of the week, with his pace causing problems. However, his decision-making in the final third was a letdown. He did help create the second goal for Barcelona on the evening but needs to up his game in a big way.
Frenkie de Jong: 4/10
The Dutchman started in a higher role than usual, playing just in behind the main striker, but struggled to make any sort of notable impact. Frenkie de Jong was largely uninvolved, and even after he dropped back into a deeper position, he was unable to make things happen.
Abde Ezzalzouli: 8/10
Barcelona’s best player on the evening, along with Gavi, the youngster gave the Osasuna defence a rough time with his speed, direct running and energy on the left flank. Won several free-kicks in dangerous areas and always posed a threat when cutting in from the left before scoring his first senior goal for the Catalans with a fine volleyed effort. Bright.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 12, 2021
Luuk de Jong: 4/10
Handed a rare opportunity due to the number of injuries that Barca have had, the Dutch striker looked poor throughout his stay on the pitch. He failed to link up with his teammates, misplaced passes, lost the ball with heavy touches leading to moves breaking down.
Oscar Mingueza: 5/10
Replaced came in for Nico in the 73rd minute and slotted in on the left side of the defence. He couldn’t stop Osasuna from equalising.
Philippe Coutinho: N/A
On for Dembele in the 81st minute. He failed to clear the ball in the lead-up to the second equaliser for Osasuna.
Ferran Jutgla: N/A
The youngster made his first appearance for Barcelona, replacing Abde in stoppage time.