Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi saved Barcelona‘s blushes on what looked like being a frustrating night for the La Liga leaders at home to lowly Alaves.
Blaugrana trailed for a good chunk of the match following John Guidetti’s first-half opener for the away side, but Suarez rattled home an equalising goal in the 72nd minute and Lionel Messi added a majestic free-kick winner late on to seal a 2-1 win.
Record signing Philippe Coutinho also made his first start for Barca.
Here, we rate the performances of Barcelona stars:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6: Did well to smother Ibai Gomez’s early advance through to goal, then made another fine stop to prevent Ruben Sobrino. Might have done more for goal itself.
Nelson Semedo – 5: Not his best outing in a Blaugrana jersey, struggled to contend with Alaves’ attacking threat in the first-half and offered them too much space. Subbed after 52 minutes.
Gerard Pique – 6: Lacked his usual confidence and didn’t deal too well with Alaves’ pace and movement, though he improved as match wore on.
Samuel Umtiti – 6: Exposed adopting high line as Guidetti raced through to net opener and wasn’t on same wavelength with Pique. Barca can’t afford to defend as carelessly as they did here against greater attacking outfits.
Lucas Digne – 5: Caught out of position a couple of times in the opening period and didn’t look comfortable at all up against Hernan Perez and Guidetti. Subbed early.
Andres Iniesta – 7: A few uncharatestic loose passes early on from the club legend but he produced vintage piece of magic with run and cross, putting ball on a plate for Luis Suarez’s equaliser.
Ivan Rakitic – 6: Workmanlike in the middle in what was a forward-thinking Barca side, stuck to his guns and responsibility well to keep the organisational structure.
Paulinho – 6: A quiet game for the Brazilian but he needed to offer more protection, especially in the first 45 minutes, to the Barca back four. Never stopped running though.
Philippe Coutinho – 6: Worked hard and constantly showed for the ball in a first-half in which he was involved in a couple of heavy collisions. Maybe not fully fit just yet. Subbed.
Luis Suarez – 8: Ever-willing for the cause and should have scored in 67th minute but for a decent stop from Fernando Pacheco Flores. Fortunately for him, he made up for it moments later with a great finish from Iniesta’s ball, his eighth goal in a row. His energy seemed to spark Barcelona into life but could have been punished late on for risky kick-out at an Alaves man.
Lionel Messi – 7: Lost the ball in the build-up to the away side’s goal and was also on receiving end of a nasty challenge by Ruben Duarte. As ever, involved in most things but was shackled well despite his intricate play around the box. Came close in first-half with free-kick and made no mistake in second, putting ball in almost exact same spot for the winner.
Sergi Roberto – 6: Caught napping early after coming on, allowing Perez too much space when he should have punished Barca. Added more of a direct threat than Semedo.
Jordi Alba – 6: Certainly gave Barca far more balance from a defensive and attacking perspective.
Paco Alcacer – 6: Was given chance to shine by Ernesto Valverde when subbed on for Coutinho. Helped to free-up space for Messi and Suarez and occupy Alaves’ defenders.
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