FC Barcelona

Barcelona 2-1 Mallorca: Player ratings as Blaugrana end historic losing run to move back up to second

Max Parsons
That's more like it
That's more like it / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Barcelona bagged a largely dominant 2-1 victory over Mallorca on Sunday night, putting an unwanted record behind them and regaining the initiative in the race for that runner-up spot in La Liga.

In securing just their second win in four league outings, La Blaugrana leapfrogged Sevilla back into second spot, and put an end to an unprecedented run of three consecutive defeats at the Camp Nou within in a single season.

Goals from Memphis Depay and Sergio Busquets either side of half time gave Barça the much-needed victory, in which a more recognisably free-flowing and incisive brand of football alleviated the frustration created by recent form.

Xavi Hernandez's men started proceedings brightly and, without the tentativeness that had crept into recent performances, were good value for their 25th-minute lead.

After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced Sergio Rico into a splendid save with a close-range headed effort within just five minutes and Ronald Araujo saw a 23rd-minute goal scrapped for offside, Depay notched a well-deserved opener as he clinically lashed the ball into the back of the net after racing onto Jordi Alba's fantastic ball over the top.

Despite dominating possession, there wasn't all that much action in front of goal for the hosts but, with a Camp Nou back to its bustling best, Barcelona came out for the second half with great positivity.

Eight minutes after the restart Busquets was on hand to double his team's lead with a rare goal. Assuming responsibility after a rebounded shot came out to the edge of the area, the Spaniard took the ball in his stride before shocking everyone with a brilliant left-footed swipe into Rico's bottom corner.

Looking as comfortable as they could possibly be, the hosts continued to control proceedings and thought they'd got a third with just under 20 minutes remaining. Ferran Torres wheeled off in relief more than celebration after 70 anonymous minutes, although his very messy goal was eventually chalked off for an offside in the build-up.

The home fans were cheering minutes later, however, when Ansu Fati came off the bench to make his long-awaited return from injury.

That elation was drowned out in the 79th minute when Salva Sevilla's beautiful set-piece delivery was kneed in by Mallorca skipper Antonio Raillo to set up a very nervous final stretch.

Minus some old fashioned handbags as things heated up on the baize-like Camp Nou pitch, there was little excitement in the remaining minutes as the hosts managed the game and saw out a 2-1 victory to reclaim second spot.


1. Barcelona (4-3-3)

Jordi Alba, Memphis Depay
Barcelona resumed normality at the Camp Nou / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - 6/10 - His kit probably won't need cleaning - hardly worked at all.

RB: Dani Alves - 6/10 - Really good on the ball, moving into central areas to distribute possession nicely.

CB: Ronald Araujo - 7/10 - Developing into a top central defender, showing strength, speed, composure and quality in every facet of his game as well as leadership after Gerard Pique's departure.

CB: Gerard Pique - N/A - Playing through pain from the off, his enforced 27th-minute withdrawal came about 27 minutes too late.

LB: Jordi Alba - 8/10 - Typically intelligent on the back foot and, courtesy of Depay's preference for drifting inside, rolled back the years with some blistering darts upfield and grabbed a deserved assist.

DM: Sergio Busquets - 8/10 - A bizarrely sloppy pass early on might have proved fatal were it not for a lack of attacking impetus on Mallorca's part, but the languid Spaniard proved the characteristic pivot at the heart of the side thereafter and even got himself on the scoresheet with a very well taken goal.

CM: Frenkie de Jong - 5/10 - Tidy enough and improved after the break but it was once again severely disappointing to see him lack a cutting edge and influence for the vast majority of the game.

CM: Gavi - 7/10 - Showcased his ability to rousingly drive the ball upfield within a fantastically tenacious and aggressive display,

RW: Ferran Torres - 4/10 - Lacked thrust and spark throughout, not really ever looking likely to produce something decisive for his side.

ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 7/10 - Not too much joy in front of goal but did pose a threat, showing great movement and knitting moves together with some superb little flicks and tricks in the final third.

LW: Memphis Depay - 8/10 - Lovely finish to break the deadlock and claim a just reward for a gutsy performance in which he dropped flourishes of creativity.

SUB: Eric Garcia (27', for Pique) - 6/10 - Solid enough when very occasionally called upon.

SUB: Ansu Fati (75', for Aubameyang) - 5/10 - On the periphery of things for the last 15 minutes, but who cares? Great to see him back.

SUB: Ousmane Dembele (75', for Torres) - 5/10 - Created a buzz in the stands when getting the ball and moving towards goal, but couldn't produce anything tangible.

Clement Lenglet (89', for Alves) - N/A

facebooktwitterreddit