Barcelona 3-1 Leganes: Hits and Flops | LaLiga 2018-19
As expected, Barcelona controlled the early exchanges and barely allowed the visitors a sniff at their goal. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 32nd minute when Dembele finished off a move he started near the halfway line.
The hosts, however, were accorded a mini-scare when Braithwaite scored to ruffle the Blaugrana feathers. Yet, Leganes’ joy was only short-lived as the introduction of Lionel Messi completely altered the complexion of the game.
In the 71st minute, the Argentine struck a fierce shot which was parried into the path of Suarez, who poked home to restore Barcelona’s advantage. Messi capped off his cameo appearance by getting on the score-sheet himself in stoppage time.
The home side never really got out of 2nd gear but made sure they emerged victorious. While the victory places Barcelona in better stead moving forward, the defeat left Leganes rooted in the 14th spot and just a couple of points above the drop zone.
Here is a look at the players who performed admirably and those who had a sub-standard game:
#5 Hit: Martin Braithwaite
The Danish striker was entrusted with the unenviable job of keeping Barcelona’s centre-backs occupied. However, Braithwaite performed his job adroitly and constantly posed questions for the home side’s rear-guard.
The bulky striker put himself about in the offensive third and used his physicality to good effect. On several occasions, with his back to goal, he kept hold of the ball and brought his teammates into play.
To cap off an impressive display, the Dane even got onto the end of a swift counter-attack to hand Leganes a lifeline in the second half.
Though the goal acted only as a consolation towards the end, Braithwaite proved that he could provide a useful focal point for a struggling Leganes side.
The Camp Nou is one of the most daunting stadiums to play in and not many visiting centre-forwards emerge from the rubble with any credit.
Yet, on Sunday evening, Braithwaite ensured that he left the Camp Nou with his head held high.