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UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona 3-1 AFC Ajax: Player Ratings

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's Champions League victory over Ajax.

David Ramos

Marc-Andre ter Stegen
6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 37
Passes: 26
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots Faced: 1
Saves Made: 0
Key passes: 1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Ter Stegen’s save percentage record has taken another hit against Ajax, with the young German failing to stop the only shot on target he faced. I can’t really fault him for the goal as the defense in front of him was a mess, but I also can’t shake the feeling that he could’ve done better. But that was about the only flaw in ter Stegen’s game I noticed. He was much better in commanding the area, collecting numerous crosses with authority. Also, his long passing was a thing of beauty with him completing several perfectly placed 40 yard passes.

Dani Alves
5.9
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 78
Passes: 56
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Key Passes: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Tackles: 3
Fouls Won: 3
Clearances: 0
Fouls: 3
Interceptions: 0

Bostjan says: 5.5
I heard many people say how they were impressed with Alves’ performance against Ajax, but I simply can’t agree with that statement. He was again wasteful in attack – he misplaced too many passes, though he was always active in the attacking third. Alves’ showing on the other side of the pitch was even worse as he rarely had a positive effect on the play, often leaving Barcelona’s central defense duo very exposed. In the 87th minute I saw his season so far in a nutshell as he was cleanly beaten by Schöne only to "recover" by hacking the forward down, resulting in a free kick that ended with El Ghazi putting the ball past ter Stegen.
Gerard Pique
5.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 72
Passes: 53
Pass Accuracy: 92%
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 0
Clearances: 5
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 6.0

Just as I started getting used to praising Pique for his performances, he decides to play a game like this. He was incredibly sloppy all game long – except on set-pieces where he was dominant throughout the game – making some incredibly poor defensive plays. Late in the first half he gifted a chance to Kishna, and around the one hour mark he almost scored an own goal. Pique capped off the night with terrible positioning on El Ghazi, and the young forward made Barcelona pay for Pique’s loss of concentration.

Marc Bartra
6.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 93
Passes: 85
Pass Accuracy: 97%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 1
Clearances: 3
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Fouls: 1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Bartra didn’t necessarily have the best game of his career, but next to Pique he looked like Paolo Maldini in his best days. He rarely put a foot wrong in the entire 90 minutes, making plays left and right, often covering for whatever Pique was doing on his side of the defensive line. His passing was excellent, and he even joined the rush on a couple of occasions, causing some confusion in Ajax’s penalty area.

Jordi Alba
7.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 99
Passes: 86
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 2
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Key passes: 1

Bostjan says: 7.5

Next to Bartra, Alba was arguably Barcelona’s best player in the defensive line. In the early going, when Barcelona were dominating the ball, he spent most of the time in attack, providing a good outlet for the forwards, even creating a good chance for Messi who, unfortunately, failed to convert it. In the later stages of the game, when Barcelona started to defend in numbers, Alba played stout defense, capping it off with a very important block on El Ghazi after that same player scored just minutes earlier.

Javier Mascherano
7.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 80
Passes: 69
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Tackles: 7
Interceptions: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Clearances: 0
Aerial Duels Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key passes: 0

Inder says: 7.0

Busquets has officially been warned. Although, Mascherano is a different type of defensive midfielder, his passing over the years has drastically improved, Allowing him to use the long diagonal pass if necessary. His positioning led to Messi's goal when he stole the ball and quickly passed it forward to iniesta. While Busquets' passing under pressure is unrivaled, Mascherano adds a bit more bite in midfield, defensively. An awesome choice, tactically, for Luis Enrique to have.

Andres Iniesta
8.3
Minutes played: 75
Touches: 69
Passes: 56
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Turnovers: 2
Key Passes: 2
Successful Dribbles: 4
Tackles: 1

Inder says: 8.5

"The Pale One hits peak form at just the right moment" makes for a good headline, if you ask me. Iniesta was at his incisive best, with 2 moments in particular displaying his talent. One was a magical, skating-on-ice run from quite deep in midfield, cutting straight through Ajax' midfield and defense, only to miss the goal narrowly. The second was Iniesta reminding his critics that, at his best, his passing is both beautiful to watch and effective. He receives the ball from Mascherano, moves into space, passes it across the pitch to Messi who scores, all in one fluid movement.

Ivan Rakitić
7.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 69
Passes: 62
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 4
Interceptions: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 0
Successful Dribbles: 0

Inder says: 7.0

Rakitic provided the legs and led a very synchronized midfield, in movement. He made a positive contribution in what was easily the goal of the match. In a quick passing move that ended in Neymar putting the ball in the back of the net, included Rakitic's pass to Messi. However, one gets the feeling there is more to come from Rakitic, who looks like he has blended in perfectly.

Pedro
6.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 44
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 94%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Turnovers: 4
Successful Dribbles: 1
Key Passes: 0
Tackles: 1
Fouls: 1

Inder says: 7.0

The Canary Islander is definitely improving. His passing in and around the box is quicker and he had a shot hit the post. That said, Pedro was largely overshadowed by the in-form Neymar and Messi. It is unlikely that Pedro will hold his spot once Suarez is back, but a confident Pedro is best for the team.

Lionel Messi
8.9
Minutes played: 65
Touches: 46
Passes: 30
Pass Accuracy: 83%
Shots/Shots on Target: 5/1
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 3
Key Passes: 2
Turnovers: 1
Tackles: 1

Inder says: 9.0

Constantly involved, Messi scored a goal and got an assist for Neymar's goal. Although substituted later in the game to ensure he was rested for the Clasico, Messi was easily the MOTM against Ajax, while still looking slightly off key with respect to his finishing. Real Madrid's defense better show more than it did against Liverpool (despite not conceding), because the Messi-Neymar chemistry is for real and extremely entertaining to watch.

Neymar
8.5
Minutes played: 61
Touches: 38
Passes: 33
Pass Accuracy: 79%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 4
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 1
Turnovers: 1

Inder says: 8.5

Another match, another goal. Neymar's confidence in finishing versus Ajax also showed Cules that we have finally found a forward who can finish all the chances Messi creates. Previously, the player would have attempted a low cross back to Messi for the finish but Neymar does extremely well to curl the ball around the keeper. Substituted around the 60 minute mark, El Clasico should see a fit, hungry and confident Neymar.

Sandro Ramirez
7.6
Minutes played: 29
Touches: 13
Passes: 7
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 1

Bostjan says: 8.0

You know how Munir started the season strong, outperforming Sandro? Recently, however, Sandro has been stealing Munir’s thunder. Sandro had a very strong cameo, not only creating a scoring chance with a run and cross down the left side, but he also calmly buried the only chance that was presented to him.

Munir El Haddadi 6.2
Minutes played: 25
Touches: 15
Passes: 11
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Bostjan says: 7.0

Munir might not have made his way on the scoreboard, but he had a strong game nonetheless. He was all over the right side of the pitch, trying to create scoring chances - his contribution was crucial for Sandro’s goal. Munir was also involved on defense, and he did a good job helping out Alves during Ajax’s late pressure.

Rafinha
6.5
Minutes played: 15
Touches: 13
Passes: 7
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Key Passes: 1

Bostjan says: 7.0

It was nice to see the young midfielder return to the pitch after a month-long absence, but it was even better to see that he was able to make immediate impact with an assist on Sandro's goal.

The Team 7.7
Passes: 658
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Shots/Shots on Target: 16/6
Tackles: 16
Aerial Battles Won: 63%
Fouls Won/Committed: 17/11

Bostjan says: 8.0

Nobody will mistake this game as one of Barcelona’s best of the season, but considering the next game is the El Clasico and three of the team’s best players were subbed off with roughly 30 minute or so to space I have no complaints about the result. Though, on a different night this defense could’ve cost Barcelona a couple of points.

Luis Enrique
7.8

Bostjan says: 8.5

In hindsight he made perfect substitutions at the perfect time, but it came very close that all Barcelona fans would make Lucho hear their displeasure loud and clear. But that didn't happen, Barcelona held on to its lead, and three key players, including Messi, were rested. I'll take that any day of the week.

MOTM - Lionel Messi
49%

Bostjan says: Messi

Once again Messi ran away with the Man of the Match award, but when week in and week out you score at least one goal and add at least one assist it really should be a surprise anymore. Inesta (17%) and Neymar (8%) rounded out the top three vote-getters, but Messi's win was never in question.