By Ediale Kingsley
Now we saw why they didn’t go to the FIFA Award show. Luis Suarez produced a stunner for a 100th goal in 120 games, Neymar ended his goal draught, and Messi back to back (in three consecutive games) scores remarkable free-kick. Like I had asked for here in my last analysis of the Barcelona match, Lucho adhered and gave us Rafinha to start the match.
Rafinha, chosen ahead of Andre Gomes and Ivan Rakitic, rewarded his coach with an intense display in the middle, preventing Athletic from getting forward often. This energy is exactly what Barcelona needs in the midfield.
Samuel Umtiti needs to watch it. On the other hand, are we glad to have Jordi Alba back on this game. He’s proved that he is streets ahead of Lucas Digne. I enjoyed the way he caused Athletic extra stress from the left — as if dealing with the constant threat of Neymar from that area was not enough to worry about.
Andres Iniesta still a fine wine. Nothing can tame the Argentine maestro, Messi, at the moment, and yet again he dragged Barca over the finish line. He carved Athletic’s rigid defence open for the opening goal by wriggling free of two players and ultimately decided the tie with another splendid free kick.
Three things stand out for me in this match:
- The way Luis Suarez scored. That skill should be called Surez. He’s done that repetitively.
- The fact that Messi scored from the set piece again. Call it show off, but Messi just can’t stop self-reinventing.
- The joy of Rafinha starting. He should have that starting shirt.