|Luis Suárez vs Athletic Bilbao
A good second half followed up a terrible first but FC Barcelona couldn’t come back from two goals down at the San Mamés as they fell 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of their Copa del Rey Round of 16 tie.
Lionel Messi was on target for FC Barcelona but his goal was made to be a mere consolation although it could be a valuable away goal of Barça could pick up the pieces in the return game at Camp Nou next week. Goals from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams gave the Basque outfits a first leg advantage, here’s how the Barça players dared in the game.
ATHLETIC BILBAO 2-1 BARÇA PLAYER RATINGS
MARC-ANDRÉ TER STEGEN – 5.0
Wasn’t bad, but wasn’t spectacular or good either, first half was not impressive, improved in the second and surprisingly, his passing was below par.
SERGI ROBERTO – 5.0
Not a good game by any stretch of the imagination, couldn’t cope with Athletic’s press and wasn’t precise going forward, unfortunately he couldn’t be taken off as there was no other RB.
GERARD PIQUÉ – 6.5
Despite the defeat he was solid, led the defence well but still wasn’t in his best form. But he wasn’t bad at all.
SAMUEL UMTITI – 7.0
One of Barça’s best performer of the night. Was really solid in defence and was great in his tackling and anticipation. Was punched in the chest by Aduriz but picked up a yellow card for getting annoyed.
JORDI ALBA – 6.0
I’d say Alba was good but he had so many terrible occasions that killed his almost-good game. Decision making was poor at times and he looked fatigued.
IVAN RAKITIC – 5.0
Returned to the starting lineup and didn’t prove he deserved to be there. Was like a stick in the game as he did little to help his team in both attack and defence, was replaced by André Gomes in the second half.
SERGIO BUSQUETS – 6.0
Looked lost in the first half, however, his second half covered the blemish as he returned to controlling the midfield. Wasn’t a bad game overall.
ANDRÉS INIESTA – 6.5
Gave the ball away that led to Athletic’s first goal but just like the rest of the team he improved greatly in the second half, movement was great and his partnership with Neymar on the left was devastating to Athletic.
LIONEL MESSI – 8.0
Not one of his crazy games but he had a lot of influence on the team, created almost all real chances and scored from a free kick. Had a couple of occasions when he hesitated to shoot when he should’ve. Hit the post with the last kick of the game.
LUIS SUAREZ – 5.0
One of the worst performers of the night if not the worst, his fighting spirit was still there but he was dormant throughout the game, didn’t receive services so didn’t do anything.
NEYMAR – 9.0
Man of the Match easily, his best game in a while. Didn’t get on the score sheet but was at the heart of almost everything, won the free kick that led to Barça’s goal, had two Athletic players sent off, almost won a penalty and tested Iraizoz with two cracking efforts. Great game.
ANDRÉ GOMES – 6.0
Replaced Ivan Rakitic and did better than him despite playing less.
PACO ALCÁCER – N/A
Came on for the final 5 minutes, nothing much.
LUIS ENRIQUE – 4.0
Good lineup, trashy first half approach to the game. Didn’t bring Aleix Vidal so poor Sergi Roberto played the full game, late substitutions and the wrong ones too. Not good.
THE TEAM: 6.0
Poor first half, good second. Would’ve won if the ref did his job well.
SHOULD LUIS ENRIQUE CONTINUE AS BARCA COACH NEXT SEASON