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Espanyol 1-1 Barcelona: Player Ratings

ANALYST
Feature
8.20K   //    05 Feb 2018, 03:00 IST

Espanyol v Barcelona - La Liga
Flores and Valverde shake hands before the game

Barcelona’s unbeaten record in La Liga remained intact as they drew 1-1 with Espanyol in a feisty derby affair.

Lionel Messi was rested and started on the bench, but they clearly missed their star player from the off. Phillipe Coutinho would strike the crossbar early in the first half, but that was the only real opportunity of the opening 45 minutes.

In the second half, Espanyol grew in confidence and even took the lead through Gerard, when he headed substitute Sergio Garcia’s cross past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

But Gerard Pique was on hand to make sure Barcelona remained the only side in Europe to have no league defeats when he headed in the equaliser and Barcelona’s 17th goal in the final 10 minutes of a match this season.

Here are the player ratings from the match:


Espanyol

Diego Lopez – 6

Lopez was mainly untroubled all evening and did a solid job for the most part. He was lucky not to see Coutinho’s strike fly past him in the first half, but he had very few saves to make. Unfortunately, he could do nothing about a close-range Pique header which gave Barcelona their equaliser.

Marc Navarro – 7

Navarro did very well to give Digne such little space and constantly forced him backwards or sideways. It was an admirable performance from the 23-year-old who was later replaced by Javi Lopez.

David Lopez – 7

The centre-back put in a great performance to limit Barcelona’s creative front line. His defending and reading of the play was excellent, it made sure that Barcelona would not score from open play.

Naldo – 7

Alongside Lopez, Naldo also put in a fantastic defensive shift. Although he would not keep out Barcelona completely and keep a clean sheet, the tackles and interceptions he put in were crucial in making sure they only scored once.

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Aaron Martin – 6

Martin, like Navarro on the opposite side, put in a great defensive performance. He did very well in dealing with the pacey and intelligent Semedo and cutting out his crosses.

Victor Sanchez – 6

The midfielder worked hard and pressed the Barcelona midfield very well, giving them very little chance to build up play quickly.

Espanyol v Barcelona - La Liga
The pitch became almost unplayable in the second half

Sergi Darder – 6

He did not get the chance to play with the ball as much as he would have liked, but against Barcelona, it is more about the defensive work and he did that well. And even with a few opportunities, he did get the ball forward well.

Leo Baptistao – 7

Working with scraps but having Espanyol’s best chances, working extremely hard.

Esteban Granero – 6

Granero was caught up in an argument with some Barcelona players towards the end as things got heated, but he can be proud of his defensive work rate, helping out his full-back Martin very well.

Jose Manuel Jurado – 6

Jurado saw little of the ball all evening and was substituted for Garcia, but his defensive work should be appreciated, as he helped young Navarro nullify Digne’s threat down the left-hand side.

Gerard – 7

Showed some signs of promise, but was forced to mainly defend in the first half. In the second half, he saw a bit more of the ball and took advantage of his one chance, nodding past ter Stegen to give his side the lead.

Espanyol v Barcelona - La Liga
Gerard celebrates scoring the opening goal with the fans

Substitutions:

Sergio Garcia – 7

Off the bench he made a massive impact after five minutes, picking out Gerard for the opening goal.

Javi Lopez – N/A

Lopez played for the final 14 minutes, but it was mainly about him keeping shape and defending against Barcelona’s substitute Jordi Alba.

Carlos Sanchez – N/A

Sanchez played the final four minutes of normal time plus stoppage time and was mainly there as an extra body to defend in midfield.

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