La Liga 2016/17: Barcelona 3-2 Real Sociedad, Player ratings
Barca eke out a challenging victory against an impressive Real Sociedad side.
Barcelona welcomed Real Sociedad to the Camp Nou needing three points to keep their slim La Liga titles hopes alive. Though in the end, they did manage to eke out a 3-2 win, they were far from convincing on the day. It was again Lionel Messi to the rescue for the Catalans as he put in a brilliant performance and scored a brace to reach 498 Barca goals.
The Argentine opened the scoring with a brilliant finish from outside the box into the bottom left corner, leaving Rulli sprawling all over the floor. He then doubled the host’s lead by converting from six yards out after Rulli had parried Suarez’s effort onto his path.
La Real then pulled one back via an own goal from Umtiti after some neat footwork from Inigo Martinez. Their joy though was short lived though. Soon after Sociedad’s first goal, Alcacer scored his team's third from a Leo Messi assist.
La Real then pulled one back via an amazing finish from Xabi Prieto, who volleyed the ball first time into Ter Stegen’s goal. An exciting first half was followed by a drab second half where both teams failed to create some substantial chance.
Here, let’s take a look at how the players fared for both the teams.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10
The German shot-stopper was good when called upon and made a few important saves. However, he could have done a bit better for La Real’s first goal as it was his deflection that took Umtiti by surprise and resulted in the goal.
The makeshift right-back was solid in defence and ever willing to join the attack whenever called upon. His passing was crisp and he made a few interesting runs on the right flank for Barcelona.
Gerard Pique: 6.5/10
Pique had a good game as he dominated and won everything that came his way in the air. He won headers, made blocks and clearances and was a calm head in the heart of the Barca defence. He, however, could have done better for Sociedad’s second goal and should have marked Prieto a bit more tightly.
Samuel Umtiti: 6/10
This was a poor game by the standards he has set for himself with his performances this season. He made important tackles and interceptions but was also sucked out of position on quite a few occasions like La Real’s second goal. He was unlucky to have scored an own goal as there was little that he could have done in that situation.
Jordi Alba: 7.5/10
The diminutive Spaniard was quite amazing throughout the match. He bombed forward in attacks and defended resolutely when required. He rendered Carlos Vela useless for most of the match.
Andre Gomes: 6/10
This was a decent game from the summer signing. He did not do much of note but kept things tidy and defended well with the team when required of him.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
The Spanish International was influential throughout the game. He broke plays and started attacks from his own half. This was a good commanding display from him in the middle of the park.
Ivan Rakitic: 6.5/10
The Croat was a willing runner in the midfield. He covered for his full backs and then contributed going forward as well. He looks to be getting back to his best after a below-par start to this season.
Paco Alcacer: 7/10
The former Valencia man, overall, had a good game. He was quite lively and threatening in the first half and was rewarded with a goal for his efforts. However, he regressed in the second half but contributed in defence well as he regularly tracked back to help out his teammates.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
The Uruguayan was a willing runner and pressed quite diligently. His runs and physicality were causing La Real’s defenders a lot of problems but he was led down by his finishing tonight. He could have had at least two goals today.
Lionel Messi: 8.5/10
La Liga's top scorer for the season, Leo Messi was on fire today, especially in the first half. His fine finishing from outside of the box set things rolling for Barca while his second, an opportunistic finish, consolidated their lead. He assisted Paco Alcacer’s goal.
Andres Iniesta: 6/10
The veteran midfielder was brought on for Gomez after Barca had ceded midfield battle to La Real. His introduction allowed Barca to have that midfield superiority and control of the ball.
Denis Suarez: 5/10
He was a late introduction in place of Paco Alcacer. Though not afforded much time, his introduction helped Barca retain the ball better.
Geronimo Rulli: 5.5/10
The young Argentine shot stopper had a few nervy moments in the match. There was not much he could have done with Barca’s first and last goal. However, his handling of Suarez’s shot into Messi’s path could have been avoided.
Asier Illarramendi: 6.5/10
Former, Real Madrid player, Illarramendi had a decent game. Though he was not much influential in the first half, he came out on top in the midfield battle against Barca’s midfield after the restart. His distribution was efficient if not eye-catching.
Inigo Martinez: 6.5/10
Martinez’s case was the same as that of most Sociedad players. He had a tough time dealing with Barca’s attack in the first half. However, in the second half, he did not allow them any space or chance to trouble Rulli in the post.
Xabi Prieto: 7/10
Scorer of La Real’s second goal, he had a good day at the office. Though not quite as influential, he was still an essential cog in the system and his runs behind the defence were amazing.
Carlos Vela: 4/10
The Mexican was the worst player on the pitch today. He did not influence the game anyway, lost the ball in promising positions and never helped out his defence. He was taken off in the second half.
Willian San Jose: 5.5/10
Willian was anonymous throughout the match and was well marshalled by the Barca defence, who did not give a single inch of space. Had it been his day, the result could have been different. He did assist Xabi Prieto’s goal though.
David Zurutuza: 6/10
Sitting ahead of his defence, he did his bit of dirty work as the midfield enforcer. Zurutuza was fairly anonymous in the first half but then picked up his performance in second and stopped Barca from running away with the match.
Mikel Oyarzabal: 5/10
Playing on the left side for the Basque-based club, he could not muster up much of a challenge for a makeshift right-back, Sergi Roberto. He was slow to react and was off the frequency on which his teammates played.
Yuri Berchiche: 5.5/10
It’s always tough for left-backs around the world when pitted against Messi. Today was no different. He looked shaky in defence. Though he was a willing runner and overlapped frequently, his final balls let him down.
Joseba Zaldua: 5/10
The right-back did not have much of a good game. Zaldua was always kept on his toes and was troubled time and time again by Alcacer’s smart movements off the ball. He did not venture much in attack.
Raul Navas: 6/10
Much like his defensive partner, his game can be easily classified by the two halves. Navas had a horrid time in the first half with Barca attackers always down his throat. But after the restart, he commanded his area well and did not allow Barca to threaten his goal.
Sergio Canales: 4/10
This former Madrid player was brought on in place of an ineffective Carlos Vela. However, he did not fare much better than his teammate at it. He was kept well under wraps by Jordi Alba
Jon Bautista: 5/10
He came on late in the game and could not influence the proceedings much.
Jorge Molina Vidal: N/A