On Lionel Messi’s 600th Barca look, Paco Alcacer, not the Argentine, was the hero with a shock double to see off Sevilla underneath the pouring rain at Camp Nou.
Ernesto Valverde shocked most by handing Alcacer his first league begin for the reason that opening day of the season, however he was handsomely rewarded by two poacher’s finishes from the previous Valencia captain.
Alcacer’s 23rd-minute opener was scant reward for Barca’s dominance earlier than half-time, and the hosts’ lack of ruthlessness regarded prefer it would possibly come again to hang-out them when Guido Pizarro powered residence Ever Banega’s nook simply earlier than the hour mark.
Nevertheless, Barca and Alcacer weren’t to be denied a 10th win 11 video games to start out their La Liga marketing campaign when he gave Ivan Rakitic’s sensible cross the end it deserved simply six minutes after Sevilla’s equaliser.
Barca picked up three factors and might need recovered a €30 million striker within the course of. Alcacer regarded headed for the exit door in January, however on this proof, he can present some much-needed cowl for the at the moment misfiring Luis Suarez.
After a wonderful first 45 minutes, Barca have been pinned again for big elements of the second interval as soon as Sevilla determined to press excessive. As a spectacle, Valverde’s Barca stay far off a number of the glowing sides seen at Camp Nou over the previous decade, even when the outcomes are higher than ever earlier than.
Supervisor score out of 10
7 — Many have been scratching their heads when the group sheet got here out with Alcacer handed a shock return. Because it seems, Valverde is aware of finest. With Andres Iniesta again match, the remainder of the group picked itself and the one doubt over Valverde’s decision-making was in bringing on Gerard Deulofeu for Alcacer slightly than the out-of-sorts Luis Suarez.
Participant scores (1-10; 10 = finest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes get no score)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — Removed from his heroics final weekend at San Mames, the German barely had a save to make and could not be blamed for conceding for simply the fifth time this season over all competitions.
DF Nelson Semedo, 7 — His blistering tempo snuffed out an enormous probability for Pablo Sarabia, albeit his intervention counted for little as Sevilla scored from the ensuing nook. Will nearly actually now be handed the long term within the group he wants to determine himself in Sergi Roberto’s absence.
DF Gerard Pique, 6 — Crushed to the ball by Pizarro for the aim, however in any other case largely untroubled. Additionally nearly scored the aim of his profession with a surprising long-range shot that clipped the bar.
DF Samuel Umtiti, 6 — A really uncommon slack move from the usually dependable Frenchman practically handed Luis Muriel a present earlier than half-time. Fortunately for Umtiti, the Colombian blazed broad and he went onto get better his composure.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 — Not the identical attacking outlet he has been in current weeks and appeared to drag up in stoppage time with a muscle downside that would see him sit out Spain’s friendlies with Costa Rica and Russia within the subsequent couple of weeks.
MF Sergio Busquets, 7 — Missed a sitter early on after great arrange play from Messi. Nevertheless, scoring objectives is not what Busquets is paid to do and he did what is anticipated of him by dominating the midfield.
MF Ivan Rakitic, eight — Impressed taking part in in opposition to his former membership, Rakitic was all over the place. He performed an enormous function within the profitable aim with an inch-perfect cross for Alcacer, but additionally noticed a 25-yard effort fly inches broad and will have been awarded a penalty within the closing levels.
MF Andres Iniesta, eight — The professionals and cons of Iniesta at 33 have been in proof as his passing contributed massively to arguably Barca’s finest 45 minutes of the season within the first-half. Nevertheless, on his return from harm, he once more lasted simply an hour earlier than being changed by Paulinho.
FW Lionel Messi, 7 — Anybody else might need a declare for man of the match with this show, for Messi it was underwhelming based mostly on his kind up to now this season. Nonetheless performed his half with the move to Rakitic within the build-up to Alcacer’s winner.
FW Luis Suarez, four — Valverde insists he is not fearful in regards to the Uruguayan’s kind however it’s now 5 video games with out a aim and, extra worryingly, Suarez did not even actually come that shut this time. A two-week break — having not been referred to as up by Uruguay for worldwide responsibility — appears to be like simply what he wants.
FW Paco Alcacer, 9 — Simply as Valencia have been beginning to imagine a title problem could also be on, their former captain got here up with the products to indicate Barca ought to have simply an excessive amount of power in depth to throw their lead on the prime of the desk away. An enormous confidence booster, this might be the evening that launched Alcacer’s Barca profession, and he now has extra La Liga objectives this season than Cristiano Ronaldo.
MF Paulinho, 5 — Did not present the management provided by Iniesta, nor the aim risk he usually brings.
MF Gerard Deulofeu, 5 — Launched for Alcacer with not practically the identical impact and left Suarez pissed off with a poor cross when he had the possibility to finish his aim drought in stoppage time.
MF Javier Mascherano, NR — Introduced on in stoppage time to wind the clock down.
Richard Martin covers FC Barcelona for ESPN FC. Twitter: @wealthy9908.