Dynamic Lionel Messi will get 8/10 as Barcelona go second in La Liga


Barcelona moved as much as second in La Liga after objectives from Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann helped them beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Messi opened the scoring with a superb free kick within the twentieth minute, however Athletic leveled by a Jordi Alba personal objective early within the second half.

Griezmann struck the winner with quarter-hour to play, turning residence an Oscar Mingueza cross as Barca stretched their unbeaten run within the league to 10 video games.

Positives

Barca could not win the league this season — they’re 10 factors behind leaders Atletico Madrid and have performed a recreation extra — however, as coach Ronald Koeman mentioned on Saturday, they are going to preserve preventing. Sunday’s win in opposition to Athletic was their fifth in a row in La Liga and took them forward of Actual Madrid into second on objective distinction.

Messi’s free kick was 650th objective for the membership and got here on the day sources informed ESPN he’ll take authorized motion in opposition to newspaper El Mundo and whoever was behind the leaking of his potential new contract particulars this weekend, which revealed a four-year deal price a most of €555 million.

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Negatives

Barca nonetheless look frail on the again and are unable to place groups to mattress. They performed nicely within the first half, however solely had one objective to indicate for his or her efforts and have been quickly degree firstly of the second half. Ultimately, they have been hanging on to the three factors and counting down the 4 minutes of stoppage time.

Supervisor ranking out of 10

6 — Koeman has discovered a settled system in latest weeks so the one adjustments have been by way of personnel, with Miralem Pjanic changing the suspended Sergio Busquets and Samuel Umtiti coming in for Clement Lenglet. The Dutch coach opted to defend the sport out reasonably than push for a 3rd objective.

Participant scores (1-10; 10 = greatest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes get no ranking)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 7 — Had only a few saves to make, however handled Athletic’s crosses nicely.

DF Oscar Mingueza, 6Raul Garcia acquired in behind him to arrange the Athletic objective, however he made amends by placing the winner on a plate for Griezmann.

DF Ronald Araujo, 7 — Nearly scored within the first half, driving a shot simply huge after a surging run ahead. Did nicely on the again.

DF Samuel Umtiti, 7 — His high quality on the ball is a big plus for this Barca aspect. Nevertheless, he now must show himself defensively over a run of video games. This was his third straight look within the league, which is an efficient begin.

DF Jordi Alba, 6 — Moaned that he was pushed for the personal objective, however ought to have defended it higher.

MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 — Compelled save from Unai Simon with a header simply earlier than being taken off halfway by the second half.

MF Frenkie de Jong, 7 — Performed deeper than lately to cowl the absence of Busquets, though nonetheless discovered time for one nice driving run ahead within the first half.

MF Pedri, 7 — {The teenager}’s proven in latest weeks what he provides in assault; in opposition to Athletic he additionally confirmed how nicely he can carry out his defensive duties. Tireless.

FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 — Precipitated fixed issues along with his acceleration from a standing begin and performed a sensible cross to Mingueza within the build-up to Griezmann’s objective.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 7 — Got here near establishing a few objectives with passes for Messi and Pjanic earlier than scoring the winner with first-time end.

FW Lionel Messi, 8 — Began the sport nicely, drawing a save from Simon and chesting one other half-chance onto the roof of the online. Opened the scoring with a fantastic free kick, his sixteenth objective of the season in all competitions and 650th in his profession in Catalonia, and was Barca’s greatest participant on the evening.

Substitutes

MF Sergi Roberto, 6 — Returned to motion in midfield after two months out injured.

DF Clement Lenglet, NR — Koeman launched the Frenchman so as to add an additional defender late on.

FW Martin Braithwaite, NR — Changed Dembele for the ultimate couple of minutes.



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