Barcelona 2-1 Levante: Player ratings for the Blaugrana | La Liga 2019-20
In November last year, Levante played excellently to shut down the Blaugrana in a match that ended 3-1. However, Barcelona invited them to the Camp Nou last evening in a bid to return the favour. Levante conceded two sudden goals in only three minutes, thanks to the driving pace of the Barca attack, and perhaps Levante's shocking lack of concentration.
30 minutes into the game, it was brilliant play by Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati that produced the opening goal. A long, well-executed through-pass from the Barcelona captain saw Fati drive past Jorge Miramon, cut inside, and place the ball past Altor Fernandez and into the goal.
The visitors had barely reacted to the goal when, three minutes later, Ansu Fati and Lionel Messi struck once more. The Barca captain, unable to find the shot himself, set it out for a poorly-marked Fati, who placed it beyond the keeper.
Levante started to come to life in the second half, but there wasn't much they could do apart from scoring a consolation goal deep into stoppage time. They would have Ruben Rochina's half-volley to thank for that, but it doesn't do any good for the visitors. This loss against the Blaugrana will make it four games lost in a row for Levante; a very poor run of form for a team struggling to rise beyond mid-table obscurity.
Barcelona, on the other hand, remain stuck in second place, thanks to their shocking 2-0 loss to Valencia last game week.
Without further ado, let's take a look at Barca player ratings:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 7/10
For much of the first half, Barca's first team goalkeeper was relatively bored, but he stepped up when he was needed. In the second half, he had more work to do, and he made important saves to keep Levante out of the game.
Nelson Semedo - 7/10
The marauding right-back actively troubled Levante's defence seriously, even plying his trade as a striker momentarily and dribbling two defenders to get a curling shot at goal. His presence was well felt by his team, as well as the visitors.
Clement Lenglet - 6/10
The centre-back didn't have much to do for most of the game, but he helped keep Levante out of the box whenever they did threaten. While the visitors improved in the second half, he made sure to match them, but did not exceed expectations.
Gerard Pique - 5/10
The experienced centre-back managed to keep Barca out of trouble for extended periods as well, but he was a bit of a disciplinary problem for his side. Pique committed four fouls, the most for any single player on the pitch today, and he picked up a yellow card for his troubles as well.
Jordi Alba - 5/10
While the 30-year-old left-back saw quite a lot of the ball, there was no real action from him throughout the game. The only player who got more touches on the ball than Alba was Sergio Busquets, so it is quite noteworthy that he didn't achieve much today.
Ivan Rakitic - 7/10
While helping Barca control the proceedings, Rakitic notably took most of the brunt from the Levante side, as they fouled him four times. He took his chances at goal, made good passing, and showed a generally good performance overall.
Frenkie de Jong - 7/10
The youngster's playmaking may have been top-notch but it was certainly overshadowed by Lionel Messi's passing. However, De Jong's vision was on display today as he made accurate long passes played his part in producing three points for Barcelona.
Sergio Busquets - 7/10
The midfield maestro commanded the game from deep and helped his team recycle possession and maintain continual pressure. He may not have provided much input attack-wise or in defence, but much of Barcelona's possession retention had a lot to do with him.
Lionel Messi - 8/10
The Argentine star put up a brilliant performance and deserves accolades for his two assists, playmaking vision, and selflessness. However, he had a surprising 10 shots at goal - twice as much as any other player - and nothing came out of them.
Antoine Griezmann - 5/10
The former Atletico man got his positioning right, and put some pressure on Levante's defenders, but he missed absolute sitters and failed to impact the game in any way. With three shots at goal and zero on target, it isn't surprising that he was substituted first.
Ansu Fati - 10/10
The young teenager played one of his best games today, and it will surely be an unforgettable match for him. He scored two goals in barely three minutes, thanks to quick thinking, a lot of pace, and a growing connection with Barcelona's pivot Lionel Messi.
Arthur - N/A
Had too few minutes and too few touches on the ball to make anything happen.
Riqui Puig - N/A
Came on with only three minutes of regulation time remaining and couldn't impact proceedings.
Sergi Roberto - 6/10
Came on board 70 minutes into the game, and picked up three key passes to put some strain on the struggling visitors.Published 03 Feb 2020, 09:31 IST