Player ratings as Francisco Trincao takes the winner
Barcelona got a but vital three-point delay against Real Betis in a five-goal thriller on Sunday night, which puts them in second place in La Liga alongside Real Madrid.
Ronald Koeman’s side dominated possession in the first half before being caught after 38 minutes when Borja Iglesias completed a counterattack. For all their domination, The Blaugrana went to half-time.
It was Los Verdiblancos who looked more alive again after the break but Lionel Messi equalized as a substitute on impact after 59 minutes, before passing through Jordi Alba whose cross was enough to force a goal against his own side 11 minutes later.
However, they fell again and Betis drew when Victor Ruiz returned home after a free kick after 75 minutes. As a result, the game opened in the finals, but it was Barcelona who capitalized when Francisco Trincao found the winner with three minutes remaining.
Here’s how Koeman’s team ranked in the thriller.
Marc-André ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – There was little the German could do to stop Real Betis’ opener but perhaps could have done more to attack the free kick which resulted in the equalizer.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 5/10 – Had trouble dealing with Betis’ advances when he was isolated at times, but moved the ball well in attack and sparked some very attractive low crosses through the goal.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – N / A – The Uruguayan was forced to injure himself before ten minutes had even been played and looked uncomfortable. Hope this is nothing too serious.
Clément Lenglet (CB) – 6/10 – He placed well throughout and did well to take charge of his 18-yard penalty area, but missed a completely free header in the first half that could – and should – have given the advantage to his team.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 6/10 – Alba wasn’t quick enough to close Emerson’s cross in the opening race. But his offensive contributions made up for it; his overlap on the left flank was continuous and ended up pulling his flank for the first time.
Sergio Busquets (CM) – 4/10 – Busquets sat down at the base of the midfield and followed well, but was too slow to dominate in any way. Conceded the free kick which resulted in Betis equalizing and was passed in the header.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 4/10 – Pjanic was far too casual in possession as a whole. It was Barcelona’s lethargic performance in midfield that kept them from breaking Betis before the changes were made.
Riqui Puig (CM) – 6/10 – The youngster wanted to make an impact on his first league start this season, but struggled with Busquets and Pjanic to keep the pace slow. Swallowed and hung for Messi around the time.
Ousmane Dembele (RW) – 8/10 – Dembele has done well to cause problems for the opposing defense with a few examples of tight dribbling and sharp one-touch passes. He struggled to find an outlet before Messi’s introduction, where he used that dribble to produce a nice assist.
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – 4/10 – Very disappointing 45 minutes from Braithwaite who was hooked at half time after an incredibly calm first half.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 7/10 – Griezmann looked much better when given the freedom to move after Braithwaite’s replacement and bonded well with his more technical colleagues. Too bad not to score the second of his team, after having touched the center of Alba to the defender for the goal against his camp.
Frenkie de Jong – 5/10 – Started early to replace Araujo at center-back, but could have been better placed to defend and stop Betis’ opener. Difficult for the Dutchman to really have an impact on the game from such a deep position.
Lionel Messi – 9/10 – The magical man had to do business from the bench in this one, but did he have a hard time? Of course not. The Argentine picked up the ball from the edge of the box and shot home the equalizer with the space he was given.
Francisco Trincao – 9/10 – The 21-year-old straightened up when it mattered most, stealing the ball over the edge of the box and effortlessly looping it into the far corner to win the game for Barcelona. Ice in his veins.
Pedri – 6/10
Samuel Umtiti – N / A