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Barcelona 2-3 Athletic Bilbao: Player Ratings as resilient Basques shock Blaugrana in extra time to lift trophy  | Spanish Super Cup 2020-21

Barcelona were well below their best
Barcelona were well below their best
ANALYST
Modified 18 Jan 2021
Feature

Barcelona slumped to a historic defeat in the final of the Spanish Super Cup earlier today as a tenacious Athletic Bilbao side trumped the Catalans to a convincing victory to deny Ronald Koeman his first trophy with the Blaugrana.

Barcelona took the lead on two separate occasions during the game and seemed destined to lift the trophy before a miserable defensive performance handed the Basque giants a lifeline. The Catalans struggled to come to terms with Athletic Bilbao's resilience and suffered their most damning defeat of the season.

Barcelona predictably dominated the proceedings and dominated the ball in the opening stages of the game. Athletic Bilbao maintained two rigid defensive lines, however, and resisted Barcelona's attacking threat to good effect.

Barcelona finally broke the deadlock after the 40th minute as a series of exchanges between Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba saw Antoine Griezmann open the scoring with a clinical finish. The Catalan giants were immediately given a reality check, however, as Oscar de Marcos made the most of a piece of horrid defending by Alba and Lenglet to equalise at the stroke of half-time.

Barcelona had a mixed first half
Barcelona had a mixed first half

Barcelona continued to push forward at the start of the second half but Marcelino's well-drilled side was poised to attack the Catalans on the counter. Athletic Bilbao did find the back of the net with a Raul Garcia header but the goal was ruled out after a VAR check confirmed that the veteran striker was in an offside position.

Antoine Griezmann stepped up to the plate yet again to score Barcelona's second goal of the game with an excellent finish. The Catalans seemed to be headed for their first trophy under Ronald Koeman before Asier Villalibre scored a poacher's goal at the stroke of the final whistle to take the game into extra time.

Barcelona were a spent force after Athletic Bilbao's second equaliser and were torn to shreds by Inaki Williams' stunning winner. Lionel Messi's red card was arguably the lowest point of the season for the Catalans as Marcelino's side fought their way to a historic victory.


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Barcelona Player Ratings

Barcelona did not have a good game
Barcelona did not have a good game

Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 6/10

Marc-Andre ter Stegen had a relatively quiet first half but was left stranded by his defence for Athletic Bilbao's opening goal. The German shot-stopper could do nothing about Barcelona's lack of defensive awareness in the second half and was unable to prevent a disastrous slump.

Clement Lenglet - 3/10

Clement Lenglet's days seem to be numbered at Barcelona. The French defender was visibly the weak link in a circumspect Barcelona defence and was partly at fault for two of the three goals conceded by his team.

Ronald Araujo - 7/10

Ronald Araujo was arguably the only bright spot in what was a dismal defensive performance and dragged Barcelona out of trouble on several occasions. The Uruguayan defender had an excellent turn of pace and was able to cope with Athletic Bilbao's counter-attacks.

Jordi Alba - 4/10

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Jordi Alba played a massive role for Barcelona's goal in the first half but was largely at fault for Athletic Bilbao's equaliser. The left-back may have managed to pick up two assists today but his shocking defensive performance was one of the primary causes for Barcelona's failure on the night.

Sergino Dest - 6/10

Sergino Dest saw plenty of time on the ball on the first half-hour but was unable to make an impact in the final third. The American teenager was replaced by La Masia graduate Oscar Mingueza in the second half.

Sergio Busquets - 6/10

Sergio Busquets did make a few important interceptions over the course of the game but was largely unable to dominate the midfield. The Catalan veteran began to tire towards the end of the match and was taken off for Riqui Puig in extra time.

Frenkie de Jong - 6.5/10

Frenkie de Jong brought plenty of energy to Barcelona's style of play but was a shade below his best against Athletic Bilbao. The Dutch midfielder carried the ball into the final third on a few occasions but was unable to scythe through the Basque defence.

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Pedri - 6.5/10

Pedri was not at his influential best against Athletic Bilbao but made his mark on the match with his work-rate and tenacity. The Barcelona looked comfortable in a high-profile cup final and was comfortable under pressure in the middle of the pitch.

Ousmane Dembele - 6.5/10

Ousmane Dembele provided an energetic spark for Barcelona and looked threatening in the final third. The French winger flattered to deceive with his final product, however, and has plenty of work to do for the remainder of the season.

Antoine Griezmann - 8/10

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring for Barcelona with an exceptional finish and was a positive influence in the first half. The French striker put Barcelona ahead yet again in the second half and was unfortunate to be served the short end of the stick tonight.

Lionel Messi - 5/10

Lionel Messi has copped his fair share of unjust criticism this season but dropped arguably one of his worst performances in a long and memorable Barcelona career. The Argentine talisman uncharacteristically spent most of his time on the fringes of the game before received a red card before the final whistle.


Substitutes

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Barcelona struggled against Athletic Bilbao
Barcelona struggled against Athletic Bilbao

Oscar Mingueza - 5.5/10

Oscar Mingueza replaced Sergino Dest in the second half and offered very little in the final third for Barcelona. The La Masia graduate struggled against the electric Inaki Williams and needs to improve to compete with the most robust teams in La Liga.

Martin Braithwaite - 6/10

Martin Braithwaite inexplicably replaced the dangerous Ousmane Dembele towards the end of the game and was unable to make much of an impact on the match in extra time.

Miralem Pjanic - 6/10

Miralem Pjanic held Barcelona together in extra time and attempted to string together a few attacking moves towards the end of the game. Athletic Bilbao were intent on shutting shop, however, and were able to prevent the Bosnian midfielder from dictating terms on the pitch.

Riqui Puig - 6.5/10

As is the norm with Ronald Koeman, Riqui Puig was brought on to the pitch after Barcelona fell behind in the game. The Catalan youngster tried his best to press forward and create chances in the final third but was often thwarted by a resilient Basque defence.

Francisco Trincao - 6/10

Francisco Trincao was a late substitute in the game and had no impact on the proceedings.


Also Read: 5 Barcelona players who are out of favour under Ronald Koeman

Published 18 Jan 2021, 04:50 IST
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