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Barcelona beat Alavés 5-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday night to maintain their league record of 100% in 2021 and return to second place in La Liga.
Unsurprisingly, Ronald Koeman’s team dominated the ball completely from the start, but had a hard time breaking an organized defensive line from Alavés. However, La Blaugrana found the first goal in the 29th minute, when an Oscar Mingueza cross was brought down by league rookie Ilaix Moriba, who then prepared Trincao to score.
Barcelona kept attacking and put two on the brink of rest when Lionel Messi produced a moment of magic. The Argentine hit the ball some 35 meters from the goal, sidestepped a challenge from Rodrigo Battaglia and fired at the bottom corner passing a desperate Fernando Pacheco.
Barcelona continued to dominate the proceedings, but only after the scare of the visitors. Luis Rioja set back for Alavés fifteen minutes after the restart, when he grabbed onto a misplaced pass from Moriba in midfield and took the lead before passing Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But Barça then flipped the switch and showed their quality. The third came through Trincao in the 74th minute, who scored his second of the night on a rebound from Messi. The Argentine then made four a minute later, when he unleashed a top corner beauty from 25 yards to secure his own double.
The score was rounded off by Junior Firpo, who had the simplest task of tapping on a throwback from Antoine Griezamnn after a phenomenal ball over the top of Messi.
Well, let’s go to the ratings of the Barcelona players.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 6/10 – The German had very little to do, but he always kept focused, reading the game well from the centers and making a couple of good saves and could do little with the opponent’s goal.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 8/10 – An elegant display of the young man. Very solid on defense, breaking several dangerous counterattacks by Alavés, while also providing a brilliant center that led to Barça’s first goal.
Frenkie De Jong (CB) – 6/10 – He was defensively solid in the center back in the first period, and looked more comfortable when being pushed into midfield in the second, but he couldn’t really influence proceedings at all, not making key passes.
Clemente Lenglet (CB) – 7/10 – Good performance, showing his quality against Lucas Pérez and Joselu. The Frenchman also saved his goalkeeper from one on one in the first half with a strong defensive piece.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 7/10 – A very offensive performance, almost from the left side when the Blaugrana had the ball, and got in with a goal with 15 remaining, after a play by Griezmann.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 7/10 – A screen as effective as usual, winning the ball five times. He also produced some brilliant passes, most notably feeding Messi from deep for the second goal before leaving at half-time.
Ilaix Moriba (CM) – 7/10 – Very brilliant from minute one, showing great composure and a selfless attitude to help Trincao in the first match. But the sloppy passing that led to the Alavés goal tarnished the 18-year-old’s brilliant La Liga debut.
Riqui Puig (CM) – 10/7 – He showed class with some beautiful touches on the ball, making his way through the opposition players. It was key to making Barça work, maintaining a pass accuracy of 94%.
Trincao (RW) – 9/10 – He threatened Alavés at all times and deservedly scored his second and third goals in two games with a cold and clinical finish at halftime.
Lionel Messi (ST) – 9/10 – Vintage Messi. He produced magic with a wonderful goal for the second of his team. He then waved his wand again, unleashing a wonderful strike from 25 yards for Barcelona’s fourth. And he created the fifth with a ball on top that can only be described as a work of art.
Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 7/10 – A game of wasted chances for the Frenchman who compensated for not scoring with the assists of Barça’s fourth and fifth.
Samuel Umtiti (CB) – 7/10 – Very solid at the heart of the defense, making several crucial punts and interceptions as Alavés took the field into the later stages.
Pedri (CM) – 7/10 – He hit the game instantly after his introduction, progressively spraying the ball in good areas, and even created Barça’s third with a beautiful direct pass.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – 6/10
Sergino Dest (RB) – 6/10
Ousmane Dembele (LW) – N / A