Barcelona continued their strong start to the La Liga campaign, as they claimed a 2-0 win over Deportivo Alaves, on Saturday, thanks to a double from talisman Lionel Messi.
The Argentine had a penalty saved in the first-half, as the tie remained goalless despite the Catalans dominating proceedings for large parts. Ten minutes into the second period, however, Messi finally found the breakthrough with a deflected strike. The 30-year old doubled his team’s advantage in the 66th minute, to seal three points for Ernesto Valverde’s men on the day.
Here’s how the Barcelona players fared on the day;
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 7/10
Made a vital save to deny Sobrino in the first period and was alert to situations when needed.
Sergi Roberto – 6/10
Returned to the right-back position. Booked in the first period. Did very little wrong, but looks much better when utilized in midfield.
Gerard Pique – 5/10
Booked for a blatant hand ball in the first-half. Beaten for pace on a few occasions by Sobrino in the first-half. Has started the season poorly.
Samuel Umtiti – 7/10
Once again Barcelona’s best defender on the field. Used his pace well to track back on a number of occasions.
Jordi Alba – 7/10
Got forward well with great intent and was involved in the build-up to the opener. Did miss an opportunity to get himself on the scoresheet.
Ivan Rakitic – 6/10
Could not influence the game going forward, but did the dirty work in the middle of the game.
Sergio Busquets – 6.5/10
Broke up play and recycled possession. Played a number of teasing balls forward for his teammates.
Andres Iniesta – 7/10
Dictated the tempo in the game and linked up well with Messi through the middle. Not his best, but a good enough display.
Aleix Vidal – 6/10
Playing in an advanced role, the Spaniard showed good energy and intent and made some piercing runs down the right-flank.
Lionel Messi – 8/10
Looked up for it, buzzing around at the top. Saw a penalty brilliantly saved, but pounced upon the opportunities to score his 350th and 351st La Liga goals in the second period.
Gerard Deulofeu – 6/10
Wasn’t afforded a lot of space down the left-side, but worked hard. Seems to lack the quality and the consistency.
Paco Alcacer – 6.5/10
Replaced Vidal in the 57th minute. Played a role in the second goal for Barcelona.
Denis Suarez – 6/10
Came on for Deulofeu with 20 minutes left. Nothing spectacular, but solid.
Paulinho – NA
Made his debut for his new club with two minutes left.