Juande Ramos' Malaga pulled off an unexpected clean-sheet against an under-strength Barcelona side which was plagued by injury and suspensions. A young Malaga team dug in deep to thwart Blaugrana juggernaut to earn a credible point.
Barcelona without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who missed the game due to illness and suspension respectively, were flaccid, to say the least. Carlos Kameni put in a breathtaking performance between the sticks which took the visitors over the line with a clean sheet for the home side. Here are the player ratings from this one-sided stalemate at Camp Nou.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – 7/10
The German was hardly troubled in the game by the Malaga forwards. He did well to eke out a few comfortable saves whenever he was summoned to guard Barca’s goal.
Lucas Digne – 7/10
The young left-back proved to be a good outlet for the Barca attacks, but he was let down by his teammates who occupied the central positions with their lack of movement. It seems he is finally finding his groove in Catalonia.
Javier Mascherano – 7/10
It was a routine performance by the veteran defender whose offensive contribution outweighed his defensive duties due to the lop-sided nature of the game. He could’ve been a bit sharper in defence especially when Pique was pushed up front.
Gerard Piqué – 8/10
The most hated man in Madrid made his comeback to the Blaugrana starting XI in style. He consistently helped the hosts in building their attacks from deep as well as playing as a pseudo support striker for the majority of the second half. And the way managed his former team-mate and Malaga’s talisman; Sandro Ramirez was simply exceptional. It was a vintage display from the local boy.
Sergi Roberto – 8/10
The La Masia prodigy was at his very best in the first half as he ran riot down the right showing why he is preferred over some specialist right-backs by Luis Enrique. Solid and agile, he was unplayable at most of the times. He also was great in a slightly
Rafinha – 7/10
He probably was the closest of all the Barcelona players to score, but his finishing let him down. It was a robust display by the midfielder in the left sided channel, but he lacked the cutting edge to slice open a strong Malaga defence.
Sergio Busquets – 7/10
The Spanish pass-master was asked to do a lot more than just recycling the possession as his team was being stranded by some reliable Malaga defending. He tried a lot to create space for his team-mates but couldn’t pick a killer pass to fill in the midfield void in Iniesta’s absence.
Denis Suárez – 6/10
The prodigal midfielder looked out of his depth against the visitors’ defensive organisation. He was started over the likes of Rakitic and Andre Gomes but failed to grab his opportunity with a poor display, which was devoid of creativity expected of a Barcelona midfielder.
Neymar – 6/10
He did everything he could to score a goal and to create for his teammates, but all his hard work was undone by his fellow attackers’ clumsy finishing. He had some difficulty in dealing with Rosales and Ontiveros in the first half. The only thing he missed tonight was Messi and Suarez.
Paco Alcácer – 6/10
Barca’s summer marquee signing flattered to deceive one and all as he struggled to hold his own against the Malaga defenders. The 23-year-old was lethargic with his movement especially in the first half where he almost bumped into a Malaga player every time he made a run. Along with this, his finishing was poor, to say the least.
Arda Turan – 6/10
The Turkish international was great in the first half but couldn’t up his game in the second half. His inability to put in a decent cross when from wide was his Achilles’ heel. He failed to provide his team with the necessary width to stretch a compact Malaga defence.
Jordi Alba – 6/10
He replaced Digne at around the hour mark but failed to make his yard of pace over Rosales count as he was quickly shunted out on the left flank. A full-back known to deliver accurate crosses, tonight, he belied his reputation.
Andre Gomes – 6/10
He created a couple of excellent chances but some sorry finishing combined with last minute defending made his cameo unworthy.
Ivan Rakitic – 6/10
He was Lucho’s last roll of the dice to sneak three points from this game but he like his fellow midfielders he too failed to break past the visitors’ rearguard.