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Match Reviews

Player Ratings: Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Barcelona



Photo via FC Barcelona twitter

FC Barcelona continued their largely impressive run of form since the turn of the new year, edging past Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. The win saw the Blaugrana qualify for the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey in a bid to win the trophy for a record 31st time. The Catalans’ schedule has been heavily laden with cup games of late, the past three of which had all gone to extra time.

This time, however, Barcelona managed to pull through in regulation time thanks to strikes from Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong. Barcelona left it late but managed to pick up their seventh away win in their last eight away matches. Credit to Ronald Koeman where it’s due; Barça Universal runs the rule over his men.

Neto: 5

The Brazilian goalkeeper didn’t have plenty to do in the first half. He fluffed his lines as he palmed Alvaro Garcia’s cross into Francisco Garcia’s path for Rayo’s opener, but then made a few routine saves. A fairly unremarkable outing for the 31-year-old.

Oscar Mingueza: 6

The La Masia youngster was fairly reliable defensively in the absence of Sergino Dest. However, he clearly looked out of place offensively, misplacing crosses and showing very little threat while carrying the ball. Not his best night in recent weeks, but there is scope for improvement.

Ronald Araujo: 8

READ: Ronald Araujo: The clutch defender Barcelona have been longing for

Undisputedly Barça’s best defender on the night. Araujo had yet another solid display, winning 7 duels out of 8 and making 2 clearances. The Uruguayan continued his impressive run of form with a couple of vital interceptions. He did not commit a single foul, nor was he dribbled past once. The Catalans are yet to lose a match when Araujo has started this campaign.

Clement Lenglet: 5

The Frenchman has been struggling with form in recent weeks, and his poor spell continued last night. He seemed out of sorts and was largely at fault for Rayo Vallecano’s goal. Alvaro Garcia got past him far too easily, and Lenglet was also rather wasteful in possession.

Junior Firpo: 5.5

Making just his second appearance since his promising showing vs Eibar in December, Firpo started out well. The Spanish-Dominican left-back helped create Barcelona’s first two chances of the game, but his influence dwindled steadily as the match progressed. He was very wasteful in possession, misplacing 15 passes.

Frenkie De Jong: 9.5

“My left stroke just went viral.” (Photo via Barcelona twitter)

The Dutchman has hit a purple patch of late after Ronald Koeman has begun utilizing him in a more advanced position. De Jong had a superb game in midfield, playing a big part in Barcelona’s first goal with a wonderful pass to set Griezmann through. He then notched the winner himself with a great run into the box, getting on the end of Jordi Alba’s cross. The former Ajax star is finally beginning to showcase his true ability and a newfound goalscoring prowess, grabbing his third goal in five games from midfield.

Sergio Busquets: 7.5

The veteran midfielder had a decent outing in his preferred 4-3-3 system. While he wasn’t at his absolute best, he circulated the ball well with an 87% pass success rate. Busquets defended diligently as well, making four successful tackles. Having played a large string of minutes in quick succession however, a little bit of rest could do him good.

Riqui Puig: 7

Positive signs have begun showing for Puig, as the 21-year-old enjoyed his second start in three games for Barça. After scoring his first goal for the club against Elche over the weekend, he showed good signs once again playing through the lines. He was unlucky to hit the woodwork again from a deflected shot, but showed promise once again.

Antoine Griezmann: 7

Hard-working as ever, Griezmann didn’t have the most exceptional of performances, but showed his quality in a few key moments. The Frenchman timed his run to perfection and squared the ball to Lionel Messi for Barça’s opener and steadily grew into the game.

Lionel Messi: 8

The talismanic Argentine was quiet in the first half, but turned up in the second. He was in the right place at the right time to slot home the equaliser and rattled the crossbar with a free-kick later on. His influence on the game grew steadily, but he could have had a couple more goals if he was more clinical.

Francisco Trincao: 6.5

Trincao had a decent opening period to the match, constantly finding himself in space on the right. Had a decent effort saved by Rayo keeper Dimitrievski. The young Portuguese still needs to work on his decision-making however. Got replaced by Ousmane Dembele in the 68th minute after a quiet 20 minutes in the second half.


Jordi Alba: 7

Ousmane Dembele: 6.5

Pedri: 6.5

Martin Braithwaite N/A

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