Espanyol 1-0 Barcelona: Player Ratings
Barcelona travelled to their cross-town rivals Espanyol for the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-finals tie. The match as a whole was very much a stale affair.
The first half saw Barcelona create a few openings. They were the more dominant side, yet they never got into full flow. The chances they created were either saved heroically by Diego Lopez, or were off target.
The second half saw Espanyol get more adventurous, as Barcelona struggled to create anything of meaning in the final third. Lionel Messi missed a glorious chance to put them ahead when his penalty was saved.
However, this gave chance to Espanyol to go for the winner, which they did find via Melendo. The match ended 1-0 in Espanyol's favour.
Without further ado, let's take a look at how the players rated for the two sides:
Diego Lopez: 9/10
The former Real Madrid custodian was a solid presence at the back. He was called into action quite often and did well on all occasions. He made excellent stops throughout the match to keep his team in the game. He also saved a Lionel Messi penalty.
Marc Navarro: 7/10
The full-back had a pretty solid game for his team. He did not allow anyone on his inside, neither did he allow Digne to flourish on the overlap. Attacking, he did not venture up much, but who can demand more after such a solid showing at the back.
Oscar Duarte: 8/10
The centre-back, like his defensive partners, was always alert to the dangers Barcelona players posed to his goal and was ever-ready to deal with them. He never gave an inch of space to anyone in and around the penalty box.
Naldo put in a good performance as he was constantly in the way of Messi and company, keeping them at bay for the majority of the game. He made a string of important interceptions and tackles to keep Espanyol in the game.
Aaron Martin: 6.5/10
Aaron Martin defended his team's left flank quite diligently. He was tentative and always ready to go into a tackle. However, he quite often overwhelmed by the overlapping Roberto and Aleix Vidal combo.
Sergi Darder: 6/10
Playing as a right-winger on the night, his attacking input during his time on the pitch was next to nothing. However, he more than made up for it by tracking back and covering the runs of Lucas Digne.
David Lopez: 7/10
The nimble-footed midfielder had a quite different role to play tonight. He was asked to play inside his own half without seeing much of the ball. He did that very well while also using his ability to turn defence into attack quickly.
Javi Fuego: 8/10
The defensive midfielder was quite combative in the middle of the park. He screened his defence well and never did shy away from a tackle despite suffering from concussions throughout the tie.
Victor Sanchez: 6.5/10
The former Barcelona midfielder put in a great performance in the middle of the park. He tracked back to defend when not in possession and then went ahead to support his teammates with equal enthusiasm.
Esteban Granero: 6/10
The wide midfielder did not contribute much to his team's attacking fortunes. However, just like his counterpart on the other side of the pitch, his hard work in defence was absolutely crucial. He did concede the penalty though, which, thankfully, was not converted.
Gerard Moreno: 5.5/10
Gerard Moreno cut a long figure upfront. He was not provided with ample service in the first half while also bring marshalled quite closely by Vermaelen and Pique.
Leo Baptistao: 6/10
He was brought on in the second half to add more attacking impetus to the home side's game, which he did. His introduction saw Espanyol attack with a fixed a target man as he tone Barcelona defence to some extent with his physicality
Didac Vila: 6.5/10
He was brought on for Aaron Martin with more than half an hour to play. With an important flank to protect, he continued Aaron's good work down the right-hand side as he closed down spaces behind and in front of him with pace.
Oscar Melendo: 8/10
Brought on for Javi Fuego, he had quite big boots to fill after the kind of performance that was put by his Captain. He went one up as he ghosted into Barca's box and scored the winner.