Own Goal against Sporting CP keeps Barcelona top of Champions League group | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona sit atop their Champions League group with two wins from two matches. Yet if points were decided by public opinion, Lionel Messi and company may not have had the same result. Unlike the man-marking of Messi employed by Girona, Sporting CP gave them a battle away from home that involved less possession but a greater attacking threat that forced the Blaugrana on their heels on a number of occasions.

Being involved in the own-goal perfectly sums up the evening for Luis Suarez. He wasn't offsides nearly as much as he was against Girona, but his timing and finishing touch still lacked the precision necessary to break down a team that is dropping the majority of their players behind the ball.

An hour into the match with FC Barcelona up a goal and Sporting CP on the attack, the Blaugrana looked mortal for the first time in a few matches. Clearances were poor, passes were misplayed and the midfield that dominated possession and the pace of the game in the first half gave away that same possession in the Barcelona half of the pitch. Nevertheless, Barcelona survived and the defense picked up another clean sheet as Barcelona continue their perfect start to both La Liga and the Champions League.

Match Stats:

Here are the Player Ratings:

Ter Stegen - 7

Semedo - 7
Pique - 6
Umtiti - 7
Jordi Alba - 7

Busquets - 6
Rakitic - 5
Iniesta - 7

Sergi Roberto - 7
Messi - 7
Luis Suarez - 6

Paulinho - 6
Andre Gomes - N/A
Aleix Vidal - N/A

In Episode 36 of 'The Barcelona Podcast', we discussed the need to get Luis Suarez back in form and the necessity of someone other than Messi to score goals. It's here:

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