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Match Reviews

Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla, Detailed Player Ratings: An incredible comeback

Aaryan Parasnis

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

We take a detailed look at the player ratings in the Barcelona 3-0 Sevilla (3-2 agg.) game in the Copa del Rey 2nd leg of the semi-finals.


Heading into the second leg of the semi-final, Barcelona had a sense of optimism. But a 2-0 deficit against one of the toughest opponents in Spain? Still seemed like a bit of a write-off. But boy did the Blaugrana flip the script in an emphatic fashion. In a remarkable turnaround, the Catalans pulled off a 3-0 win against Sevilla after dragging them to extra time, to reach the Copa del Rey final.

It couldn’t have been more dramatic. A stunner from Ousmane Dembele, a penalty save and a miracle stop from Marc Andre Ter Stegen, the last gasp header from Gerard Pique to force extra time, two red cards for Sevilla and a Martin Braithwaite goal to cap off the win — A sweet victory for Barcelona in a topsy-turvy season.

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Ronald Koeman stuck to his guns with the 3-5-2 setup that won them the La Liga game against Sevilla in midweek. And as the adage says, there wasn’t any need to fix something that wasn’t broken. Barcelona managed to completely dominate the Andalusians and went one better from their league victory to secure a final berth. They will now face either Levante or Athletic Club Bilbao in a bid to win a record 31st Copa del Rey title.

Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

And what better way to do it than tonight’s display. A performance-driven by immense character, talent and unity.

Marc Andre Ter Stegen: 9

The German hardly put a foot wrong in goal. Alert and commanding as ever, Ter Stegen was heroic in the second half. He saved and held on to Lucas Ocampos’ 73rd-minute penalty, not only keeping Barcelona’s lead intact on the night but also preventing the all-important away goal which would have certainly put the tie beyond Barcelona’s reach.

Oscar Mingueza: 7.5

After a superb showing against Sevilla at the weekend, the youngster put in another solid shift playing at the right of Koeman’s back three, making some crucial interceptions and also a few really good line-breaking passes. He was unlucky to give away the penalty when he brought down Ocampos with a dangling leg, but more than made up for it otherwise. Mingueza was assured in possession and completed 69 out of his 72 attempted passes. A stellar 96% completion rate.

Gerard Pique: 9

He has to be without a doubt, one of the most important figures in the club’s recent history. One president scoring in front of the three presidential candidates who were all at the Camp Nou to witness the drama that unfolded in this enthralling match.

His 94th-minute goal will grab the headlines, but he was rock solid at the back as well. He made 21 recoveries and did not lose the ball even once. Constantly covered for his fellow center-backs whenever needed. There was an injury scare as he went down holding his knee in the second half of extra time, but battled on to see out the game. Just a wonderful showing from the veteran.

Clement Lenglet: 7

Lenglet has been struggling for form lately but tonight’s display will do his confidence a lot of good. Nothing remarkable but a strong, silent display on the left side of the defensive three. Covered well for Jordi Alba when he moved upfield and was really solid in the air. Did very well to nullify most of the threat coming from Sevilla’s right flank.

Sergino Dest: 6

The American had a very promising first half but dwindled in the second. Playing higher up in the wingback role, he made a few good passes and was energetic as ever. But failed to provide anything too substantial down the right. Did not do much wrong either, before being replaced by Antoine Griezmann in the 63rd minute.

Jordi Alba: 8

Typically dangerous in attack, Alba was a constant menace from left wingback. Bombed forward and always provided the width needed to stretch out the Sevilla defense. Pressed relentlessly to win the ball high up. He was unlucky not to score himself with a thunderous volley that rattled the bar. He was unfazed though as his terrific cross set up Martin Braithwaite’s header which gave Barcelona the third goal and subsequently the win.

Alba Braithwaite Barcelona Sevilla Player Ratings
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Pedri: 6

After an injury scare at the weekend, his inclusion was surprising. He was typically energetic but failed to produce anything of real substance. Connected well with his teammates and had one look at the goal which he sent wide. Aside from that, not the most noteworthy performance from the youngster.

Frenkie De Jong: 8

His form under Ronald Koeman in this new advanced role just seems to keep improving. De Jong was majestic at times, holding and carrying the ball forward effortlessly. Other than a few sloppy moments, he was indomitable. Covered every area of the pitch with or without the ball and never lost his intensity. He had 121 touches and completed 93% of his passes, never looking like letting up. Another solid, promising showing from the Dutchman.

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Sergio Busquets: 7.5

Assured as ever on the ball and screened the defense very well off it. Busquets played a few wonderful through passes in the first half but then just mostly opted for safety, which was perhaps a wise decision. Got farther forward to provide support quite a few times as well. A safe presence in the midfield and crucial to the result.

Lionel Messi: 8

Not the Argentine’s best outing of late, but even so better than most players in the world even on an average day at the office. The most noteworthy aspect of his performance? His relentless pressing and tracking back. Typically dropped deep to collect the ball and sprayed wonderful passes to his teammates. Completed all 11 dribbles that he attempted.

He had the chances to score a goal or two himself and was unlucky to see an effort cleared off the line. Quieter than usual, but still a key figure for Barcelona. Thankfully they didn’t have to rely solely on him to score in order to progress tonight.

Ousmane Dembele: 8.5

Dembele Sevilla ratings
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The Frenchman is finally looking like he is leaving his troubled past at Barcelona behind. Scored a stunning goal early on in the game, lifting the team’s confidence and setting the bar high. His strike dictated the flow of the game, giving everyone more assurance to go for the win.

Aside from a wonderful goal, also tracked back without any hesitation and was generally a constant menace out wide. His second goal against Sevilla in as many games, but this one even more beautiful and significant than the last.

Substitutes:

Antoine Griezmann: 7.5. Came on and rejuvenated the team with his impeccable work-rate. Provided a moment of magic as he set up Pique’s header with a wonderful turn and pinpoint cross.

Ilaix Moriba: 6.5

Martin Braithwaite: 7. Did exactly what he was brought on to do. Scored the crucial winner in extra time and handed Barcelona the win and the tie.

Francisco Trincao: 6

It was the great César Luis Menotti who once said that "to be a footballer means being a privileged interpreter of the feelings and dreams of many, many people". This quote has stuck with me since my childhood when football first caught my attention. My interest in football developed from a hobby to an emotion embedded into every fibre of my being. Football and Barça became my life. I spend every waking moment thinking about football and my sentimentality towards FC Barcelona is a catalyst. The world's most popular sport is a universal language that unites everyone who loves it and, to me, writing about football is being able to transmit that language in my own way.

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Match Reviews

Three talking points from Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona

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Photo by PRESSINPHOTO/Shutterstock via Imago

In the final edition of El Clásico in the 2020/21 domestic campaign, Barcelona incurred their fifth defeat of the league campaign. It was end-to-end stuff in the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, as an exceptional first-half performance from the hosts was followed up by a tantalizing second from Barça.

This game had everything someone could ask for in a Clásico. There was controversy, passion, goals and for the first time in a few years, a red card was the cherry on the top. These are Barca Universal’s takeaways from the game in the capital.

Real Madrid’s efficiency on show

With four shots on target, 1.58 Expected Goals, and two goals to their name, Real Madrid put to show their sheer efficacy in front of goal, as well as in defence. For the first half at least, Zinédine Zidane’s men were always at the right place, at the right time making all the right movements and to devastating effect.

Los Blancos‘ philosophy is one of winning, and doing so regardless of how the victory is earned. Contrary to the Catalans, who not only need to win, but also do it a certain way, Los Merengues are more than capable of abandoning their usually proactive approach to games in favour of a more reactive one. The fact that they are not bound to a specific ideology makes winning matches one of the simplest of tasks.

karim benzema goal barcelona
Karim Benzema celebrating his opener goal in the Clasico (Photo by Oscar J Barroso via Imago)

They held the ball for only 32% of the game, which goes completely against what a majority would expect them to. At the end of the day, however, possession matters significantly less than what one does with it. With every lapse in concentration from the Garnet and Blue, Madrid had enough men forward, and well enough positioned, to hit them where it hurt.

Despite the relatively low xG, they had enough big chances to even lead 4-0 come the halftime whistle. When it came to defending, their tight-knit defence, in stark contrast to that of their rivals, barely broke a sweat. They imposed an impenetrable low block, and applied a collective press to force as many errors as they could.

In addition to this, Zidane has the luxury of having a starting eleven of devastatingly versatile footballers in his arsenal. Fede Valverde for instance was as much a right-back as he was a central midfielder and a winger. He executed each role to pristine perfection, and so did his peers to ensure all 3 points, and bragging rights stayed in Madrid.

Excellent mentality shift

Following such a harrowing performance in the first half, few, if any, could have expected Barcelona to mount a comeback. Had this been any other team, that would have been possible, but given Real Madrid’s first-half performance, this was all but envisageable.

Indeed, the Catalans did fail to get any points from the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, however, the sheer mentality they showed in the second half was a sight for sore eyes. Ronald Koeman made the necessary adjustments to the side, reverting to the 4-3-3 and with it, they wrought trouble in the Madrid backline.

If in the first half Barça seemed caged in endless cycles of worthless possession, then in the second they made thorough use of it. The Blaugrana created eleven chances for themselves in the second period, and while doing this, they in turn limited Los Blancos to just a single shot on goal for the entirety of the half; a complete turnover from their performance in the opening 45 minutes.

It was nail-biting stuff up until the final second of the game, as Ilaix Moriba’s volleyed effort struck the underside of the crossbar. Given the overall performance from both sides, a draw would have been a considerably fairer result, but even in defeat with this version of Barça, the players and fans know that they can keep their heads held high.

A game of fine margins

Games of the magnitude of El Clásico will forever be decided by the most minute of details and the same was the case here.

The first significant one was the frame of the goal. In the first half, following the umpteenth counter attack from Real Madrid, Fede Valverde, who up until then was having yet another phenomenal showing against Barcelona, struck the frame of the post with a shot that crucially bounced underneath Sergio Busquets.

In the second half, Ronald Araújo nearly scored an own goal, but with Ter Stegen rooted to the spot, the ball rolled delicately onto the post and out for a corner. In the final minute of the match, and with Madrid fighting for their lives, Ilaix Moriba struck the underside of the crossbar to end this sensational tie on an emotional high.

Jordi Alba has often been criticized for being just as much a blessing offensively as he is a curse defensively. In the build-up to the hosts’ opener, he had one task to fulfill: mark his opposing fullback. This is one he absolutely failed, as he drifted too far inside, and by the time he had noticed his error, Lucas Vázquez already had Karim Benzema in his sights. Too little, too late.

The final significant detail was in the goal that won Los Blancos the game. After what many consider a poorly given free-kick from the referee’s standpoint, Toni Kroos surely could not believe his eyes when he saw the sheer state of Barça’s wall. Marc André Ter Stegen’s poor leadership of his defenders left him utterly vulnerable, and his German counterpart spared him no blushes, slotting it home to seal the victory for his side.

Read also: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: El Clásico Player Ratings

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