A heartbreaking 2-1 loss leaves many Culés with mixed feelings of despair and hope. A sloppy first half was followed by a fantastic second one. Yet, on a stormy and dismal night, the Catalans’ second-half efforts were not enough to secure a crucial win against Los Blancos.
In the end, Barça ended up losing 2-1, subject to a brilliant Karim Benzema back-heel goal and a deflected Toni Kroos free-kick. yet, the match was not filled with total negatives, as we take a look at the players’ performances on the night.
Marc-André ter Stegen: 8/10
Ter Stegen was great on the night, making some crucial saves which kept the Blaugrana alive in the match. When Valverde’s effort came off the bar, it was ter Stegen whose save kept Barça in the game off the rebound effort. Apart from conceding two rather unfortunate goals, the German keeper was pretty much flawless throughout the night, both in his distribution as well as goalkeeping.
Sergiño Dest: 4/10
Dest had a largely forgettable game on the night, failing entirely to make any single noteworthy impact both in offence or in defence. Losing the ball 8 times in one half, the American was sloppy both in his passing as well as in retaining possession.
He was unable to send a single well-timed cross, failing to create any single chance. Further, Kroos’ freekick also ended up deflecting off Dest, which eventually led to Madrid’s second goal. He also left Oscar Mingueza stranded on the right flank for the most part of the first half. A poor, poor showing from the 20-year-old.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
Alba played a decent game, albeit failing to show up defensively at all. Nevertheless, the Spanish fullback was once again the Blaugrana‘s main attacking channel, even picking up the assist to Mingueza’s goal. Without Alba, Barça would truly struggle to create width in their attacking play.
Clement Lenglet: 6.5/10
Lenglet once again had a decent display, coming in with a sole clearance, two blocks, and tackles each. He was largely solid in defence. He also registered 104 touches, showing once again his adequate skills in building out of the back as a left-footed centre-back. Lenglet has improved his form in recent games, and had a decent showing once again.
Ronald Araujo: 6/10
Araujo did not necessarily have his best game in a Barça shirt. However, such a performance can be respectfully pardoned, given that it was his first start since the 7th of February. Nevertheless, Araujo not only failed to provide any meaningful contribution to Barça’s buildup play, he also suffered a strangely off night in defence.
The Uruguayan failed to pick up Benzema’s run at the near post whatsoever, while also being unable to cope with Los Vikingos’ three-man counter-attacks throughout the night. The 22-year-old should keep his head down and continue working hard.
Oscar Mingueza: 9/10
Mingueza put up a man-of-the-match performance, possibly being the only redeeming player in the team on the night. While being defensively solid throughout the night, Mingueza also had a crucial last-man tackle that kept the team alive in the game until the dying minutes.
Marcelo received the ball in a one-on-one situation with Ter Stegen. However, the Spanish defender swiftly snuck up behind him, jutting his right boot out to perfection. He ended the threat with a silent but swift intervention; a contribution worthy of the man-of-the-match award alone.
Nonetheless, Mingueza was also Barça’s sole goalscorer on the night, proving his tenacity to go from one box to another within a matter of seconds. Shockingly, Mingueza even outpaced Vinicius Jr., clocking a top speed of 34.2 kmph as compared to Vinicius’ 32 kmph.
Further, he got on the end of an Alba cross beautifully, putting away an awkward finish yet a crucial one to keep Barça alive in the fixture. For his first El Classico, the Spanish defender performed absolutely wonderfully.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
Busquets had a largely silent 64 minutes. He kept the play ticking, yet failed to add the extra zest and space creation that he usually brings to the Blaugrana‘s midfield with his intelligent play. He seemed one step behind on the night, unable to adequately exploit spaces in the middle of the park.
Whether he is putting up daring displays full of flair or simply 90 minutes of showing mastery of the fundamentals that are unparalleled at 18-years-old, Pedri has turned out to become a hugely reliable asset in midfield. He kept the play ticking wonderfully, while also attempting some daring vertical passes.
Pedri also registered two key passes, once again showing his prominence in Barça’s creative play. It is unfortunate that those in front of him could not finish chances, and those behind him could not prevent them.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
The Dutch midfielder is crucial to Barça’s midfield, serving all the purposes that his fellow midfielders do, and then some more. De Jong was flawless in his ball circulation, while also bringing a little extra offensive threat into his game.
The 23-year-old put a relatively decent performance. However, even in his more advanced midfield role in the match, he was unable to entirely impact the game, playing a more important role in Barça’s possession retention and circulation, rather than directly changing the scoreline.
Ousmane Dembélé: 4/10
Several fans were expecting Dembélé to be Barça’s most forward player on the night, in order to exploit Madrid’s high line. However, Los Blancos defended extremely solidly and rendered Dembélé totally useless on the night. He was unable to create plays in his number nine role, and once again failed to show decisiveness in a big match, missing two chances.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
The Argentinian suffered an off night, seemingly shut out from the main attacking action by Madrid’s superior defence. Nonetheless, he was still able to impact the game from deep, attempting 7 successful dribbles and two key passes. He also had two shots on target, and one that hit the woodwork from a jaw-dropping and frankly audacious corner kick effort. Regardless, he was unable to influence the game the way he usually does.
Antoine Griezmann (6/10); Sergi Roberto (6/10); Ilaix Moriba (7/10); Martin Braithwaite (5/10); Trincão (5/10).