Barcelona’s poor week continued with an uninspired goalless home draw against Czech Republic minnows Slavia Prague in the Champions League.
Under-fire head coach Ernesto Valverde required a firm reaction after the weekend’s staggering 3-1 loss – from one-goal ahead – versus Levante. The limp La Liga holders, however, failed to respond in a Group F-contest from which Lionel Messi rocked the crossbar in the first half and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, from the Argentine’s pass, had a tap-in ruled out for offside after the interval.
The visitors also had their moments, despite registering only 38-per-cent possession, and midfielder Lukas Masopust witnessed his first-half injury time rebound also denied for the same reason. This stalemate denied leaders Barca the chance to virtually guarantee progression to the round of 16, while Slavia will almost be eliminated if a victor emerges from Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan.
Here are the player ratings from Camp Nou:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen 7: Had to be alert in first half. Dynamic off line when dealing with crosses. Saved by offside flag for Masopust’s effort.
Nelson Semedo 4: Shambolic first half saw defensive weaknesses regularly exposed by counter-attacking Slavia. Better opposition will punish such negligence. Had early effort well stopped by Ondrej Kolar’s feet.
Clement Lenglet 6: Quiet night for the France centre-back. Far less involved than Pique.
Gerard Pique 6: Given run around, at times, in first half by advancing Peter Olayinka. Class, however, eventually showed, plus his firm 44th-minute header was well saved.
Sergi Roberto 6: Couldn’t convert Dembele’s delightful second-half lob, shooting straight at Kolar.
Frenkie de Jong 6: Not good, not bad. Solid pass accuracy of 90.1 per cent the highlight of a night when Barca dominated ball without creating a great deal.
Sergio Busquets 5: Omniscient mind of old remains, but omnipotent control does not. Struggled to stem Slavia counter-attacks. Sacrificed in search of goal.
Ousmane Dembele 6: Created Barca’s best chances. Yet still managed to frustrate and was hooked near hour mark for 17-year-old Ansu Fati.
Arturo Vidal 5: Had goal ruled out for narrow offside on Messi. Otherwise, predictably didn’t shine in odd advanced role.
Antoine Griezmann 5: Struggled to get involved from out wide – again. Was telling when Messi chose to shoot, and rock woodwork, in first half when he was better positioned. Denied central position, despite Luis Suarez’s injury.
Lionel Messi 7: Just like at Levante, the Argentina icon cannot do it all himself. Hit crossbar and then selflessly teed up Vidal for abortive opener.
38 - Barcelona have never lost a @ChampionsLeague match at Camp Nou when both Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi have started (W33 D5 L0) – Busquets is unbeaten in his last 45 starts at Camp Nou in the competition, while Messi is unbeaten in his last 43. Dependable. #BarcaSlavia pic.twitter.com/R3rhdln6HJ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 5, 2019
Ansu Fati 7: Provided service for Messi to produce another fine stop from Kolar.
Ivan Rakitic 6: Attempted to add direction and drive.
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