La Liga 2017/18: Barcelona 2-0 Malaga, Player ratings
FC Barcelona hosted Malaga CF at Camp Nou looking to extend their lead on top of the table before Real Madrid's clash against Eibar tonight. A goal from Gerard Deulofeu put the hosts ahead in the 2nd minute, although his effort should not have been counted as the ball was out of play in the build-up. Malaga did not give up and put up a resilient performance for rest of the half.
The second half saw Malaga start brightly. However, they fizzled out soon as Andres Iniesta scored his only second league goal for the past four season courtesy a deflection from Rosales. From there on, it was a straightforward affair for Barcelona as they saw out the game with comfort.
Here, let’s take a look at how the players fared for both the teams.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10
He was not tested much, bar a few shots that were aimed directly at him. He commanded his area well and in general looked calm under pressure and distributed the ball accurately and sensibly.
Sergi Roberto: 8.5/10
Back in his right-back role, he produced an amazing performance. He did make a couple of bamboozling, penetrating runs in the attack along with recycling the ball well. In defence, he was solid and never allowed Malaga wide-men to cut in or put in a cross.
Javier Mascherano: 7/10
Mascherano had a good game as he dominated and won everything that came his way in the air. He won tackles, made blocks and clearances and was a calm head in the heart of the Barca defence.
Samuel Umtiti: 7/10
The young Frenchman was a calm head at the heart of Barca's defence and brought the ball out quite well. He was dominant in the air, both in his box as well as the opposition. He earned his yellow card in a rather stupid manner.
Lucas Digne: 7.5/10
Covering in for Alba, Digne put in a good shift at the left back position for the Blaugranes. He was solid enough in defence and was always available for a pass out on Baca's left flank. He assisted Deulofeu's goal.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Another typical Busquets performance. He shielded the back four, broke up play and acted like a deep-lying playmaker. He will be looking forward to a great season.
Rakitic worked tirelessly throughout the game. He attacked, though with limited creativity and then tracked back enthusiastically for the entire 90 minutes. The Croatian, however, needs to up his attacking game to be a fulcrum of the Barcelona midfield in the days to come. Provided a glorious ball over the top for Messi in the second half.
The World Cup winner looked sharp and dictated things for Barcelona from the midfield. His turns and touches were delightful to watch and suggest that he may have a few years worth of top-level football in his tank. He scored Barcelona's second goal.
The Spaniard did score a goal early on but was mostly anonymous thereon. He showed limited creativity on the ball, gave away the ball cheaply on numerous occasions. Defensively, he did help out his teams with a couple of crucial turnovers.
Lionel Messi: 7.5/10
He had a very average game by his standards though he still was better than most of the players on the field. He could not find much joy inside the box as Getafe defended resolutely but was influential whenever he dropped deep.
Luis Suarez: 3/10
The Uruguayan striker is having a quite poor 2017. Last night was no different. He did work hard for his team but lacked any cutting edge which he is famous for. He needs to sort his game out. He even missed an open goal.
He was brought on in place of Deulofeu as Valverde went for defensive solidity. He did exactly and linked up well with Sergi Roberto when marauding forward.
Brought on for Busquets, the Brazillian brought a spark of creativity in Barcelona's midfield, even though it was for a short span.