Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Borussia Dortmund in an intense encounter that saw both sides fighting hard for all three points.
The hosts Dortmund started on the front foot, with the offensive duo of Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer augmenting several attackers. Their pace on the break forced the visitors’ to take a more cautious approach, with fullbacks playing a relatively deeper role. And while Barcelona did dominate possession, they were often pegged back by Dortmund’s doggedness at the back.
The Spanish giants were extremely lucky to earn a draw, having allowed Dortmund to create a plethora of goalscoring chances, including a second-half penalty, which was missed by Reus. The German international also missed a close-range effort not long after while Barcelona found it challenging to find clear cut scoring opportunities.
Here is how Ernesto Valverde’s men fared in this tense UEFA Champions League Group Stage opener.
Marc Andre ter Stegen 10
By far Barcelona’s best performer of the evening, ter Stegen kept his side in the game by pulling several world-class saves to deny Borussia Dortmund from scoring the equaliser. His penalty save to deny his former teammate Reus was perhaps the best one. An extraordinary performance from the German international.
Nelson Semedo 5
Always looked questionable during defensive phases. Although he looked decent in the first half, the Portuguese struggled to cope with Jadon Sancho in the second half, conceding a penalty.
Gerard Pique 6.5
Didn’t provide anything substantial during the build-up and should have done a lot better job of isolating Alcacer in the Dortmund final third. Did, however, cause a lot of trouble from set-pieces.
Clement Lenglet 6.5
Much like Pique, Lenglet looked dangerous from corners and free-kicks. However, defensively, he struggled to cope with the pace of the Dortmund attackers and their turnovers.
Jordi Alba 7
Jordi Alba was pretty composed for most of the first half before he had to leave the pitch after picking up a knock. Barcelona missed his reliable presence on the left flank during the second-half.
Sergio Busquets 6
Didn’t look like his usual self, finding it difficult to evade the strong challenges from Thomas Delaney. The Spaniard needs to perform better against such intense pressing units like Dortmund. He also provided minimal defensive cover for the backline, and his lack of pace meant he was no match for the hosts’ lighting quick turnovers.
Arthur Melo 7
Arthur had a mixed evening. He looked delightful with his passes, at times. But, then again, the Brazilian was prone to losing his focus and made a couple of rash challenges. Overall, he didn’t contribute much to improve Barca’s chances of winning this game.
Frenkie de Jong 7
The young Dutchman still needs time to integrate himself into Barcelona’s style of play. And deploying him against a team like Dortmund turned out to be a risk from Valverde. Although he did look quite composed at times, the duo of Axel Witsel and Delaney was too much for him.
Ansu Fati 7
Had a slow start to the game, often losing possession. But, it was mainly because the opposition deployed at least three defenders to converge on him whenever he received the ball. Showed more promise when he was awarded more freedom during the backend of first-half.
Luis Suarez 7.5
Made some clever turns and played a couple of neat one-twos in the final third. However, the Uruguayan was mostly denied by the solid defensive combination of Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji.
Antoine Griezmann 7.5
Worked tremendously hard in the first-half, tracking back and helping out in defence as he usually does. Played a more attacking role after the restart and looked dangerous, at times. But, it was nowhere near a clinical performance from the Frenchman.
Sergi Roberto 6.5
Replaced Alba in the 40th minute and operated as a right-back. Had his difficulties dealing with the swift combination play of Thorgan Hazard and Raphael Guerreiro. But, the Spaniard was deeply involved as Barcelona pushed forward during the final stages of the game.
Lionel Messi 7
Made his return to the pitch in the 59th minute, replacing the tiring Fati. The Argentine ace got isolated by the trio of Delaney, Witsel and Akanji. As a result, he failed to make any telling difference to the proceedings, despite being given a late opportunity to strike.
Ivan Rakitic 7
Replaced Busquets in the 60th minute and helped Barcelona become more mobile and receptive in the middle third of the pitch. Did commit some silly fouls, however.
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