Europa League

Barcelona 0-0 Galatasaray: Player ratings as Blaugrana held to frustrating goalless draw

Max Parsons
A frustrating night for Xavi and his men
A frustrating night for Xavi and his men / LLUIS GENE/GettyImages

Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by Galatasaray on Thursday night, despite putting in a largely dominant performance in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie.

Their attacking play, however, was a far cry from their previous European outing - a blistering 4-2 victory away at Napoli in which Xavi's men peppered the Italian side's penalty area.

On Thursday night though, goal-mouth action was at a premium from the opening exchanges, with both sides struggling to create gilt-edged opportunities. The hosts looked by far the likeliest to cut through their opposition, although failed to break the deadlock before the midway point.

Memphis Depay came close to the opener with a beautifully-struck free-kick in the 27th minute before forcing Barcelona loanee Inaki Pena into a sprawling save with a delicious curling effort soon after.

Galatasaray did hold their own, however, and also caused panic at the back through Kerem Akturkoglu, whose weaving run produced an effort that had to be deflected just over the crossbar by Eric Garcia just before half time.

Things livened up a bit with a triple change from Xavi at the break but, while Depay went close once again as he saw a header tipped just over the bar by Pena, it would take until the 75th minute for Barcelona to really carve open their opposition.

The opportunity came from some exquisite feet from Adama Traore on the right wing, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's bicycle kick was prodded onto the post from Frenkie de Jong, with the ball rebounding straight into the midriff of a grateful Pena.

Things took a dramatic turn just minutes after that chance, however, when former Swansea man Bafetimbi Gomis had the ball in the back of the net. Much to the relief of an overwhelming majority of the Camp Nou, though, a VAR check cut visiting ecstasy short as the Frenchman was shown to have been offside before baring down on goal.

Xavi's side subsequently regained control immediately but continued to probe in vain, failing to find the killer pass to slice Galatasaray open and finally break the deadlock.

The visiting side takes a hardly-earned goalless draw back to Turkey, while Barça leave themselves a tough task of once again relying on an away win to progress into the next round of the Europa League.

Barcelona player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Ryan Babel, Jordi Alba
Jordi Alba made his 100th appearance in European competition / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) - 6/10 - Hardly forced into action all night, but was relieved when Gomis' goal was chalked off.

Sergino Dest (RB) - 6/10 - Did well on the back foot for large parts, but disappointing not to have had more of an impact going forward.

Ronald Araujo (CB) - 6/10 - Bizarrely sacrificed at the interval, but proved a strong, composed presence and remained resolute for his 45 minutes on the field.

Eric Garcia (CB) - 7/10 - Never looked fazed, showing good pace and awareness whenever required - notably putting in a crucial block in the first half.

Jordi Alba (LB) - 7/10 - Typically tenacious on his 100th European appearance. Defensively resilient, making three ball recoveries, and threatening on the front foot, bombing up the left flank to make two key passes.

2. Midfielders

Pedri, Taylan Antalyai
Pedri showcased his quality sporadically / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Frenkie de Jong (DM) - 6/10 - Had more influence on the game after being pushed further upfield courtesy of Sergio Busquets' half-time introduction. Was far more dangerous during the second half, and worried his opposition.

Nico Gonzalez (CM) - 5/10 - Did the simple things well, but his lack of cutting edge saw him hooked at the break.

Pedri (CM) - 6/10 - Broke the lines and knitted things together with typical verve, but largely struggled to make a tangible impact when arriving in the final third.

3. Forwards

Adama Traore
A frustrating evening for Adama Traore / David Ramos/GettyImages

Adama Traore (RW) - 6/10 - Absolutely tormented Patrick van Aanholt, displaying his electric pace and power to make the Dutchman look silly on several occasions, but rolled it back to his days in England as he severely lacked end product.

Ferran Torres (ST) - 3/10 -
A bit of a nuisance at times but generally remained on the periphery and did very little of note before being taken off at half time.

Memphis Depay (LW) - 6/10 -
Roamed around a fair bit and showed some moments of real quality throughout, threatening the breakthrough on a few occasions.

4. Substitutes

Sergio Busquets (DM) - 7/10 - His introduction provided the hosts with a more stable foundation upon which to build play and a more efficient screen with which to maintain pressure. Incredibly pivotal to his side.

Ousmane Dembele (LW) - 6/10 - Provided an injection of quality in the final third and looked very bright every time he got on the ball.

Gerard Pique (CB) - 6/10 - Not sure if there was any need for him to be brought onto the pitch but, in any case, he had a calm outing.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) - 5/10 - Good movement, but couldn't snatch the all-important goal.

Luuk de Jong (ST) - N/A - No service whatsoever - made one touch.