Barcelona had every reason to ensure a world-class performance in front of their fans at the Nou Camp last evening as they invited Leganes for a Copa del Rey Round of 16 fixture. Last time out, Quique Setien and his boys played poorly against Valencia, losing all three points, and falling three points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Frustrated Barcelona fans were glad to watch their beloved outfit totally outclass their opponents in exciting fashion. Leganes, on the other hand, have had a poor run of form in La Liga, having picked up their last win in the league over a month ago. They looked uncertain and seemed to lack the confidence to drive the game in their favour, and Barca took advantage of that to score five goals past them.
Very early in the game, Antoine Griezmann was on point to hand Barcelona the opening goal. He had to thank Nelson Semedo, of course, as the right-back made a dazzling run down the right flank before cutting the ball back for Griezmann to fire it in.
Griezmann was quick to tap in another rebound in the 10th minute, but the linesman - and a VAR check later on - adjuded the goal to be offiside. 27 minutes into the game, however, Clement Lenglet was on hand to double Barca's lead from Lionel Messi's corner.
Barca changed tactics and decided to patiently hold onto the ball and control the proceedings without much attacking input. Leganes, on the other hand, seemed to be quite content with sitting deep and waiting for Barcelona to come at them, which the Catalans did.
It was now Messi, who pounced upon the ball after managing to take it past Chidozie Awaziem and Dimitris Siovas. His shot may have deflected off Kevin Rodrigues, and found its way past the goalkeeper, but the Argentine deserves credit for it.
Nearly 80 minutes into the game, Arthur Melo was on target to hand Barca their fourth goal of the game. Ansu Fati was first denied by the goalkeeper, and the ball bounced towards Messi, whose shot was cleared off the line by Awaziem. But substitute Arthur was at the right place to receive the rebound and slot home.
Messi scored his second and Barcelona's fifth goal late in the game after rounding the goalkeeper to slot the ball into an empty net.
Courtesy of the win, Barcelona booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, and have every chance of getting to the final and winning the competition.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the ratings of the Barcelona players:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
The German goalkeeper was likely bored throughout most parts of the game, and he certainly played a lot more football with his feet, than with his hands.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Setting up the assist for Griezmann's opener, he was a consistent part of Barca's attack, and helped to maintain heavy pressure on Leganes.
Gerard Pique: 6/10
Like Ter Stegen, Pique didn't have a lot of work to do throughout the game, but there were a few times that Leganes threatened, and he rose to the challenges effectively.
Clement Lenglet: 7/10
Having little to do in defence, he played a good part in the attack and contributed by adding his name to the scoresheet. He didn't win as many aerial duels against the Leganes forwards, but he still kept them at bay when he needed to.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
The experienced left-back played as a wing-back or a wide midfielder during most parts of the game. He focused on aiding his team in attacks, and rarely had to do much defending.
Arturo Vidal: 8/10
The midfield maestro was on hand to control the entire proceedings from the middle of the park. He produced chances in the attack, and also remained involved with the defence as well.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
The holding midfielder added to the game by recycling possession and building up play, but nothing exceptional was seen from him.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
While he showed a decent performance defensively, he made mistakes and was rarely found attacking with the team.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
The Barcelona captain was on hand to score two goals and pick up an assist as well. He did not have a great number of chances, but his clinical abilities in front of goal were clearly unquestionable.
Antoine Griezmann: 8/10
The Frenchman was on hand to open the scoring, and while he would be sad to see his second goal disallowed, his all-round performance was solid.
Ansummane Fati: 6/10
Although he had opportunites to add his name to the scoresheet, he didn't make much of his chances. He clearly wasn't at his best and lacked the necessary clinical edge.
Ivan Ratikic: 7/10
He was brought in for Vidal, and he continued in the Chilean's footsteps by controlling the game and eventually providing the assist for Messi's second goal.
Arthur Melo: 8/10
His substitution worked out quite well for Barca, as he was the quickest to get to a rebound and put the ball past the struggling Leganes goalkeeper.
Junior Firpo: 5/10
He came on for Alba, but never quite did as much in attack as his fellow left-back.
Published 31 Jan 2020, 10:35 IST