Rating the Barcelona Players Against Celtic in the Champions League Defeat
Barcelona suffered their first loss in over two years in the Champions League group stages as they fell 2-1 against Celtic in Group G.
Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt did the damage for Celtic before a Lionel Messi strike in injury time saw Barcelona pull one back to ensure the game ended with a nail-biting finish.
It was a memorable result for Celtic, but here are the ratings for the Barcelona players.
Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes
Victor Valdes didn’t have a bad game, but he didn’t have a good game either. The goalkeeper cannot be at fault for Celtic’s goals on the night. The strikes he conceded had more to do with defensive mistakes on the pitch.
As his team bombed forward, he was hardly called into action by Celtic, who were defending the Barcelona onslaught.
Victor Valdes: 6/10
Full-Backs: Dani Alves and Jordi Alba
Dani Alves did plenty of hard work early on and did a good job stretching the game for Barcelona. He put in a number of good crosses for his side, which caused the solid Celtic defence problems for most of the night.
His colleague on the left, Jordi Alba, made numerous dynamic runs and supplied ammunition for the front men. But, just like Alves, he was far from outstanding and nothing came from the decent work rate he showed.
Dani Alves: 6/10
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Central Defenders: Marc Bartra and Javier Mascherano
Bartra seemed off-key against Celtic. In the second half, he got mixed up with Valdes in goal and almost allowed Celtic to score again. Not a vintage performance by any means. He never had much to do in the game, but when he did have something to do, he did not do it very well.
Mascherano hardly did anything and was missing for most of the game. He was fortunate not to have been sent off later on in the match when he fouled Watt as last man. He is clearly playing in the wrong position as he is a central midfielder playing as a defender. He was poor in a game in which Celtic did not offer much going forward.
Marc Bartra: 5/10
Javier Mascherano: 4/10
Central Midfielders: Alex Song, Xavi, Andres Iniesta
Alex Song was extremely lucky to have stayed on the pitch as he probably should have received a second yellow card for a professional foul on Michu in the early stages of the game. Song did not have much to do defensively, and he did not offer much going forward. He was far from being on song.
Xavi had a solid game as usual and moved the ball as well as ever. He never misplaced a pass, but perhaps he was lacking the final killer ball. Celtic’s second goal was his fault as it didn’t seem like he knew what he was doing with his attempted clearance.
Andres Iniesta was always ahead of the game. He showed great touches and worked well in the tight areas. However, for all of his good work, he was unable to score.
Alex Song: 5/10
Andres Iniesta: 7/10
Wide Forwards: Pedro and Alexis Sanchez
Pedro rarely gets the credit or attention he deserves, but in this game he did not deserve any as he was not at the races today. He found it hard to get any space or take many shots against a very tight Celtic defence.
The Spain international did have a part to play in Lionel Messi's goal as his shot forced Fraser Forster to parry the ball into the striker's path.
Alexis Sanchez showed some great touches with good footwork, but he was unable to leave his mark on the game. He had a great chance to score, but his header hit the post. Other than that, opportunities were limited.
Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
Centre Forward: Lionel Messi
This was not a vintage Lionel Messi performance as he had a quiet game by his standards.
However he was still dangerous, and he proved this by hitting the bar in the first half and scoring a late consolation in the second.
Messi was arguably Barcelona's best player on the night and always looked like he would score more when he had the ball at his feet.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
Substitutes: Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and David Villa
Gerard Pique did not have much to do following his introduction to the game, but he tried to get forward at times to help Barcelona’s push for a goal in the late stages.
David Villa was not very effective. He often gave the ball away, and when he did have a clear sight on goal, he failed to find the target with poor shooting.
Cesc Fabregas was the best of the substitutes, but he was still unable to provide the cutting edge that Barcelona needed in their attempt at carving Celtic open.
Gerard Pique: No vote.
David Villa: No vote.
Cesc Fabregas: No vote.