Football Features

Player ratings as King Koulibaly stands tall to help Napoli hold Barcelona to 1-1 draw in the Europa League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 20:15, 17 February 2022 | Updated: 2:14, 29 November 2022


In a dynamic night of football, Barcelona and Napoli played out an exciting 1-1 draw in the Europa League.

Napoli took a shock lead early on but Barcelona dominated much of the game, equalised in the second-half, and missed several chances to win the game. Xavi’s revolution is working, but it’s not quite there yet.

Here’s how the players rated at Camp Nou:

Barcelona

Marc-André Ter Stegen – 7 – Did well. Good save initially but helpless on Zielinski’s goal.

Oscar Mingueza – 7 – Really combative and a big part of Barcelona’s excellent press.

Gerard Piqué – 6 – Looked every one of his 35 years when defending on Zielinski’s goal after going prone to try and block the first shot and then being unable to stand up and get to the second. Was okay besides that, especially against the younger, faster and stronger Victor Osimhen who should have cooked him alive.

Eric Garcia – 5 – A laughable presence. Overcompensating for his lack of physical ability by being overly aggressive and fouling everyone. His defending for Zielinski’s goal was comedic in its non-existence. Was very lucky that his midfield was able to basically prevent him from having to do much if any defending second-half.

Jordi Alba – 5 – Ran around a bunch, didn’t do much. Defended poorly for the Napoli goal.

Frenkie de Jong – 7 – A decent display covering for Busquets, but his inability to play first-time forward balls an obvious flaw.

Nico – 7 – Played very well. Put himself about, disrupted Napoli’s passing rhythm, drove forward.

Pedri – 8 – Magnificent. Created a game-high 5 chances and was just constantly drifting between lines, finding space and getting the ball to his team-mates in goalscoring positions. A true footballing phenomenon.

Adama Traoré – 7 – Completed 3/4 take-ons. Not quite at his dynamic best but still presented

Ferran Torres – 6 – So frustrating. Made such intelligent runs and passes but every time he had a chance to shoot he pulled his punches or got his foot under the ball and let Napoli off the hook. Converted his penalty with sublime composure which means he gets at least a 5, but his finishing in open play was genuinely comedic. Should have scored at least four goals tonight.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7 – A very solid display leading the line. Ran the channels superbly and found his team-mates well including a great pass that Ferran should have scored. Once his team-mates get used to his runs, more joy should follow.


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Barcelona Substitutes:

Gavi (for Nico 60′) – 7 – Came on and instantly upped the tempo. Drifted and drove at Napoli, playing so many smart passes.

Ousmane Dembélé (for Adama 60′) – 7 – A foot on the accellerator, as he so often is. Terrorised the Napoli defence with his direct running and dynamic dribbling, turning a chorus of Camp Nou boos into a symphony of “oohs” and “aahs” – this was a stark reminder of how game-breaking Dembélé can be.

Sergio Busquets (for De Jong 60′) – 7 – Instantly took control of the game. Rotating it superbly.

Sergino Dest (for Mingueza 81′) – 6 – Solid.

Luuk de Jong (for Aubameyang 86′) – 6 – A good target. Missed with an overhead kick.


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Napoli

Alex Meret – 7 – Solid enough. Got fooled by Ferran’s penalty but made an amazing tip to get a Dembélé cross away and avoid a tap-in.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 6 – Got stuck in immensely, but continually lost Ferran Torres on his runs and was just fortunate the Spaniard didn’t have his shooting boots.

Amir Rrahmani – 8 – An impressive display. Refused to be pulled around by Barcelona’s movement and cleared multiple balls.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 9 – Monumental. Quite simply astounding. Made a ridiculous 11 clearances and had countless more moments where he denied Barcelona by reading the minds of his opponents and constantly just being in the right place. A superhuman performance from Koulibaly to build off his masterclass in the Africa Cup of Nations final just over a week ago. He was just everywhere. Without Koulibaly, Napoli would have suffered an almighty defeat tonight. As is, they picked up a big draw!

Juan Jesus – 5 – Couldn’t really handle Adama or especially Dembélé. Gave away the penalty with a handball.

Andre-Frank Zambo-Anguissa – 7 – Workd hard, made 3 interceptions and completed an impressive 5/8 take-ons as he drifted through the Barcelona press to carry Napoli up the field but couldn’t protect his back four enough.

Fabian Ruiz – 5 – Repeatedly gave the ball away sloppily.

Elif Elmas – 7 – A really clever performance full of quick passes.

Piotr Zielinski – 7 – Scored the opening goal with a brilliant snapshot and then followed his own effort in to bag the rebound.

Lorenzo Insigne – 6 – A non-entity in attack but helped tremendously to shut down Adama.

Victor Osimhen – 4 – Had the beating of both Barcelona centre-backs but didn’t really make any use of that, running down blind alleys or not curving his runs to stay onside. Should have dominated the game but was barely a presence.

Substitutes:

Adam Ounas (for Insigne 72′) – 6 – Did little.

Dries Mertens (for Osimhen 80′) – 5 – Had a decent half-chance that he put straight at Ter Stegen.

Diego Demme (for Zielinski 82′) – 5 – Did nothing to stem the Barcelona onslaught.

Kevin Malcuit (for Zambo Anguissa 84′) – n/a – Came on late.

Mario Rui (for Elmas 84′) – n/a – Came on late.

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