Football Features

“So bad he should be fined” – Full player ratings as Atletico Madrid stun Barcelona late in Spanish Super Cup semi

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 21:30, 9 January 2020

In a baffling night of football, Atlético Madrid have beaten Barcelona 3-2 to qualify for the Spanish Super Cup final.

It was a crazy game where Barcelona dominated, had two goals poorly ruled out for VAR, and then got hit at the end with two suckerpunches that punished some shocking defensive errors in the last 10 minutes. Atleti will now meet arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Super Cup final despite neither side winning anything in 2018/19.

Here’s how the players rated at King Abdullah Sport City:

Barcelona

Neto – 2 – Looked okay first-half but fell to pieces in the second. Conceded a penalty with a rash feet-first challenge, allowing Atleti to equalise, and then made a pathetically weak effort to stop Correa’s winner.

Sergi Roberto – 4 – Offered constant width on the right but his delivery was unusually poor. A liability in defence as usual.

Gerard Piqué – 3 – Excellent defending for the first hour, cutting Atleti counters off before they began. Scored too although VAR robbed him of a goal thanks to a nonsense precision offside.

Caught upfield a couple of times in the first-half in what turned out to be an unfortunate omen as he was also caught out of position for both the penalty and Atleti’s winner. His tackle attempt on that last goal, mewling at Morata’s feet, was so bad he should be fined.

Samuel Umtiti – 5 – An impressive display for an hour. Individually solid but the effect he had on his team-mates was palpable. Faded badly at the end as his lack of fitness showed.

Jordi Alba – 6 – Raided forward with his usual enthusiasm. A supreme cross in the build-up to Barcelona’s second goal.

Sergio Busquets – 8 – Sublime in the middle of the park. Ran the show from deep, repeatedly found his attackers between the lines and even pushed up to play short, sharp passes around the edge of the box. Atleti couldn’t get near him to stem his dominance and his bizarre sub off opened up the floodgates for Atleti to steamroller the Blaugrana late on.

Frenkie de Jong – 7 – Looked more settled, holding the middle alongside Busquets with assurance, even venturing forward with the ball at his feet. Still adapting, though, as he looked lost once Ivan Rakitic came on.

Arturo Vidal – 5 – Vidal did Vidal things. Ran forward a bunch, flew into some tackles, but didn’t have much effect on the game (as he rarely does when starting). Gave the ball away stupidly for Atleti’s opener. His only telling contribution in attack was an assist ruled out for offside. A non-event.

Leo Messi – 9 – Utterly superhuman. Scored two, although one was ruled out for the most nonsensical handball claim (it hit his shoulder as he plucked it out of the sky and calmly slotted home beyond the imperious Oblak). The one that stood saw him fight his way between two Atleti defenders and bury it with his right-foot just when Barça needed a moment of magic. Also created a stunning goal with a free-kick that Vidal squared for Piqué but bafflingly got ruled for offside. Didn’t deserve to lose. Will go home wondering how he did.

Antoine Griezmann – 7 – His movement was electric. Missed two good chances (or rather, was denied by two great Oblak saves) but finally put Barcelona into the lead with a neat header.

Luis Suárez – 5 – Very bright in the first hour, constantly running at Atleti and causing them problems. Faded so badly for the last 30 minutes and that really hurt Barcelona’s attacking prowess. The Blaugrana need to find his replacement ASAP or at least start subbing him off, otherwise this will happen again and again.

Substitutes:

Ivan Rakitic (for Busquets 86′) – 3 – Came on and almost instantly showed why he should have been nowhere near the pitch. With Piqué committed upfield he bafflingly went to ground (and didn’t win the ball, of course), leaving Correa 1v1.

Ansu Fati (for De Jong 88′) – n/a – Came on too late to have an impact. Should have been introduced just after the hour as Suárez was tiring, but Valverde’s inaction has once again cost Barcelona in a big cup clash.

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Atlético Madrid

Jan Oblak – 8 – Absolutely immense. Made two sensational stops from Antoine Griezmann and was in full-on Gandalf in Moria mode. Kept Atleti in it almost single-handedly and was only beaten by goals of the highest quality.

Kieran Trippier – 5 – A non-event of an attacking threat and he was lucky Barcelona didn’t bring Ansu on earlier.

Felipe – 7 – Some rough-and-tumble tackles as he really begins to look the part of an Atleti centre-back.

Stefan Savic – 6 – Looked solid enough on a return to action although he got absolutely stitched up by Messi for Barcelona’s equaliser.

Renan Lodi – 5 – Ran up and down the left-flank with unerring commitment. Subbed off as Atleti chased it.

Thomas Partey – 7 – At times was a lone force battling against the Barcelona attack.

Hector Herrera – 5 – Didn’t really do much to help stop Barcelona. Subbed at half-time.

Saul – 6 – Unusually quiet in attack but worked as hard as anyone to try and stop Messi, especially when pushed to left-back.

Angel Correa – 8 – A colossally decisive display with an assist for Atleti’s opening goal and then scoring their third goal himself. Perhaps the night he truly arrives as a Simeone superstar?

Joao Felix – 6 – Quiet bar a couple of nice passes, including one in the lead-up to Atleti’s opener.

Alvaro Morata – 8 – A cool-as-ice penalty and a lovely weighted assist for the game-winner saw Morata go from zero to hero in the second-half. Played really well in every phase of play and seems to be finding his rhythm under Simeone.

Substitutes:

Koke (for Herrera 46′) – 7 – Scored with his second touch of the match after running right through the heart of Barcelona. Got subbed off later.

Vitolo (for Renan Lodi 67′) – 7 – Thunderingly direct as always. Won the penalty which swung the match after a superb run.

Marcos Llorente (for Koke 72′) – 6 – Gave away a free-kick seconds after being on the pitch (that should have resulted in a goal) but unquestionably helped up the aggression and turn the game around.

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