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La Liga: FC Barcelona 1-0 APOEL Nicosia: Player Ratings

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A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's hard-fought Champions League victory over APOEL Nicosia

David Ramos

Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 20
Passes: 13
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots Faced: 1
Saves Made: 1
Clearances: 2

Bostjan says: 8.0

Making his first appearance for Barcelona, ter Stegen largely impressed. He looked calm and confident in net, as a matter of fact he even looked confident making plays outside of the penalty area, making a strong headed clearance just outside of the box. Ter Stegen also looked comfortable punching out high crosses as evidenced near the one hour mark. Unlike his teammate Claudio Bravo, ter Stegen didn’t have to wait until the third game to make his first save, and boy was it an important one. In the first minute of added time Gustavo Manduca fired a powerful shot on goal from outside of the area, but ter Stegen stretched out to make the stop and preserve the lead for Barcelona.

Dani Alves
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 113
Passes: 64
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Key Passes: 2
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Tackles: 4
Fouls Won: 3
Clearances: 4
Fouls: 2
Interceptions: 3

Bostjan says: 7.0
As we’ve become accustomed to, Alves spent just about the entire game very high up the pitch, though, this time he didn’t have much of an impact on Barça’s attacking play. He did, however, take one for the team to win the free kick that resulted in the game winning goal. Toward the end of the game Alves started to return to the defensive more often and he made a few important plays that helped Barcelona earn the important victory.
Gerard Pique
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 84
Passes: 64
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 9
Clearances: 5
Aerial Duels Won: 4

Bostjan says: 8.5

I was really impressed by Pique in this game. The game might have started on a poor note for him as he was easily beaten just a couple minutes from kickoff which led to a chance for APOEL, but his game picked off after that. He was making plays left, right and up the middle resulting in the fact that he led the team in just about all major defensive statistics. His positioning was excellent throughout the game. To cap off his performance Pique scored the only goal of the game with a good looking header into the bottom corner.

Marc Bartra
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 82
Passes: 71
Pass Accuracy: 96%
Tackles: 2
Interceptions: 1
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 2
Fouls: 0

Bostjan says: 7.5

Making his first start of the season Bartra put in a solid showing. When Pique and Bartra played together in the past the two often struggled with communication, but this time they looked much better. It wasn’t a perfect performance by the two, but it was a big improvement. Like Pique, Bartra too made several good looking plays, highlighted by the block he made just before the one hour mark to spare ter Stegen from making either a brilliant stop or even picking the ball from the back of the net.

Adriano Correia
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 113
Passes: 80
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Tackles: 0
Interceptions: 4
Clearances: 2
Fouls: 2
Key passes: 0

Bostjan says: 6.0

I’ll admit it, I barely noticed Adriano in this game, which considering he had 113 touches says a lot, though I’m not sure if it says more about me or about Adriano. This was Adriano’s first game action after he was diagnosed with a heart problem in the preseason. The Brazilian was active throughout the game on the left side, but he contributed very little. He created little with his passing, his crosses, apart from one, were created no confusion in the box, and defensively he was the least active of all Barcelona defenders.

Sergi Samper
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 118
Passes: 102
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 5
Clearances: 3
Shots/Shots on Target: 0/0
Interceptions: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Turnovers: 0
Key passes: 1

Arron says: 8.0

Despite his inexperience, Samper seamlessly slotted into Busquets’ role as pivote, anchoring the Barça midfield with an assured performance. His composure on the ball was evident throughout, and his passing ability was undoubtedly a major highlight; in short, it was a typical Samper performance – but given the step up in quality, that’s just incredible and testament to his immense potential.

Minutes played: 61
Touches: 98
Passes: 89
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 1
Successful Dribbles: 0
Tackles: 1

Arron says: 7.0

Certainly this was not a vintage display from our club captain, but I don’t subscribe to the seemingly popular view that Xavi was poor against APOEL. Indeed, I feel as though Xavi remains an integral part of this team, and yes, he may have been displaced by Ivan Rakitić in the pecking order, but let’s also consider that his partner on Wednesday was Sergi Roberto – not quite Andrés Iniesta I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sergi Roberto
Minutes played: 79
Touches: 85
Passes: 78
Pass Accuracy: 76%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0
Fouls Won: 0
Tackles: 4
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 0
Interceptions: 0

Arron says: 6.0

Whatever happened to the kid that burst onto the scene in preseason under Gerardo Martino some 14 months ago? Back then, Sergi Roberto looked set to break into the first team picture and really make a mark at the Camp Nou, but since then has declined and taken up something of a background role. This was his chance to impress, his chance to earn more game-time – an opportunity he unfortunately squandered with a lacklustre display.

Munir El Haddadi
Minutes played: 68
Touches: 24
Passes: 14
Pass Accuracy: 71%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Turnovers: 1
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 0
Tackles: 1
Fouls Won: 2

Inder says: 7.0

The raw talent is difficult to suppress. Barca's "next big thing" didn't have as much of a direct impact as the last few weeks but kept APOEL's defenders honest with some smart movement in the box. One gets the feeling he can be muscled out of a game but he has been a revelation this season and the experience of playing in the CL will help improve his game.

Lionel Messi
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 103
Passes: 68
Pass Accuracy: 81%
Shots/Shots on Target: 5/2
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 10
Key Passes: 6
Turnovers: 3
Tackles: 0

Inder says: 7.5

A bad game by his standards but then it's difficult to truly judge how high his standards are since no other footballer has ever reached it. A bad game for Messi is when he has only 2 or 3 moments of genius in a match, as opposed to his usual 7-10. That said, his touch was off and so was his passing, suggesting that Messi might need a few minutes of rest over the next few weeks. Of course, he still provided the only assist of the game with a pinpoint free kick for Pique.

Minutes played: 90
Touches: 80
Passes: 68
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Shots/Shots on Target: 4/1
Fouls Won: 5
Key Passes: 3
Successful Dribbles: 6
Turnovers: 4

Inder says: 7.5

Seemed to have interesting tactical instructions when he switched from winger to narrow forward frequently during the match. Kept looking to link up with Messi although that visibly reduced in the 2nd half. Had a couple of chances that he should have made better use off, i.e a superb pass from Xavi which he wasn't prepared for and a shot at goal towards the end of the game (straight at the keeper). All in all a decent game by Neymar, which should get better when he has the support of Iniesta and Alba on that side of the pitch

Andres Iniesta
Minutes played: 29
Touches: 52
Passes: 44
Pass Accuracy: 98%
Tackles: 3
Key Passes: 1

Arron says: 6.5

The introduction of Andrés Iniesta for the final half-hour was supposed to see the Blaugrana up the tempo and push forward in search of a decisive second goal, if not a third and a fourth. However, while Iniesta did not play badly, he too struggled to find a way through the resolute APOEL defense and ultimately didn’t push himself too hard either, settling for control and for the 1-0 victory.

Sandro Ramirez
Minutes played: 22
Touches: 12
Passes: 6
Pass Accuracy: 67%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/0
Successful Dribbles: 1

Arron says: 10.0

Apparently, Lucho has decided that Sandro will be Barça’s impact forward off the bench while Luis Suarez serves his suspension, and Wednesday was no exception as the young forward made a cameo appearance against the Cypriot champions. Like everyone else, he didn’t get many chances against their two banks of four.

Rafinha 5.7
Minutes played: 11
Touches: 22
Passes: 19
Pass Accuracy: 89%

Arron says: N/A

Rafinha didn’t get much time to make his mark on the game, so it would be unfair to subject him to a full rating.

The Team 6.6
Passes: 799
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 17/6
Tackles: 24
Aerial Battles Won: 50%
Fouls Won/Committed: 12/14

Arron says: 7.5

I’m in agreement with what Rob wrote in his tactical review of the win; this wasn’t the all-conquering goal-laden display that many (myself included) were expecting, but it was measured. It was controlled and it was ultimately adequate to see off APOEL without too much trouble. And yes, we will face more teams like this throughout the course of the season, but we have other weapons at our disposal, and higher quality opposition especially are more liable to leaving themselves susceptible when they launch their inevitable counters. All in all, don’t read too much into the scoreline is my message.

Luis Enrique

Arron says: 7.5

Another clean sheet, another victory and a lot of collective gametime for the squad as a whole. It’s difficult to argue with what Luis Enrique has been offering thus far.

MOTM - Gerard Pique

Bostjan says: Pique

I don't know if I've ever given Pique my Man of the Match vote, but I think he deserved it this time. The most community agreed with me as Pique received the majority of your votes. Messi finished in second place (26%) while two Barcelona debutants finished in third, ter Stegen (16%), and fourth, Samper (12%), respectively.