Ferran Torres and Raphinha dazzled as Barcelona beat Viktoria Plzen 4-2 to end the UEFA Champions League campaign on a high.

Barcelona came out firing from the get-go and took only five minutes to break the deadlock. The visitors saw Ansu Fati link up nicely with Ferran Torres before firing a shot at the Viktoria Plzen goal. But Jindrich Stanek managed a tame save, and Marcos Alonso showed tremendous awareness to bundle the rolling ball into the net.

Both teams traded blows after that, with Viktoria Plzen surprisingly managing to take the game to Barcelona despite not having enough possession. But Inaki Pena stood his ground well, and that helped the Blaugrana heading into half-time. That is because Torres scored from point-blank range to finish a sublime move, with Jordi Alba squaring the ball for his compatriot.

Viktoria Plzen pulled a goal back shortly after the break, with Tomas Chory converting a spot-kick after winning a penalty following a coming-together with Pablo Torre. But Barcelona restored the two-goal advantage almost immediately, with Torres scoring his second on the night after some nice link-up with Raphinha.

But Chory was in his element and nodded in a cross from Adam Vlkanova to reduce the deficit again. However, Barcelona rounded the win in the 75th minute through Torre, who made amends for conceding the penalty with a rasping drive.

The result has no bearing on the standings, with the game being a dead rubber. Barcelona will now continue the European journey in the UEFA Europa League after finishing third in Group C. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Xavi Hernandez’s men.

Inaki Pena: 7/10

Pena made his Barcelona debut against Viktoria Plzen and would be gutted to have conceded two goals. But he could not have done anything to keep out either of Tomas Chory’s shots. But the young goalkeeper kept Barcelona in the game with half a dozen saves, including one to keep out a rasping effort by Erik Jirka.

Hector Bellerin: 7/10

Bellerin was disastrous against Bayern Munich last weekend. But the Spanish international stepped up on Tuesday with a solid showing. The only negative in his performance is allowing Adam Vlkanova to cross from his flank in the build-up to Chory’s second. But Bellerin looked dangerous when moving into the final third, with one lung-busting run into the Viktoria Plzen box standing out.

Gerard Pique: 6/10

Pique had a few nervy moments against a freakishly athletic Chory, who beat him a few times. But the veteran also had a few memorable moments and won all his five contested duels. He was also precise with the ball at his feet, completing 102 passes.

Marcos Alonso: 7/10

Alonso started the game with a flourish, producing a ghosting run that ended with the opener. He showed tremendous awareness to reach the ball first after Jindrich Stanek tamely saved Ansu Fati’s shot. The Spaniard was busy at the back, completing numerous clearances (5) and blocks (2). But Alonso misjudged the ball’s flight when Chory nodded in Viktoria Plzen’s second.

Jordi Alba: 8/10

Alba is putting a torrid start to the 2022/23 season behind him with aplomb. The veteran left-back has been in fine form lately and continued the run with another top-notch showing. Alba laid the ball for Ferran Torres’s first and created a few more chances. The Spanish international was also solid off the ball for the most part.

Gavi: 7/10

Gavi barely lost the ball and was precise when building up play from the middle of the park. He also showed some neat touches and slick movement in and around the Viktoria Plzen box. But the teenage prodigy was slow to move the ball forward on a few occasions, his major undoing on the night.

Franck Kessie: 7/10

Kessie reprised the role that Sergio Busquets usually essays. And the Ivory Coast international might have given Xavi some food for thought with a commanding display. The former AC Milan midfielder was composed in the middle of the park, even as Viktoria Plzen piled on the pressure. Some of his crunching tackles eased the nerves. But Kessie went off with a hamstring injury that might hamper his progress.

Pablo Torre: 7/10

Torre had a hit-and-miss game on a night when he made his UEFA Champions League debut. The teenage prodigy appeared clumsy with and without the ball at times. And on one such instance, he conceded the penalty by clattering into Chory. But Torre made amends by scoring with his final kick on the night before going off injured.

Raphinha: 8/10

Raphinha, the player to watch in our preview, was in his element on Tuesday. The Brazilian attacker was the creative supremo for Barcelona, playing a game-high four key passes. Two of those ended in goals, with Ferran Torres and Torre converting the openings.

Raphinha was also involved in the build-up to Torres’s first as he found Alba, who squared the ball for the Spaniard. A confidence-boosting display after a slow start to the season.

Ansu Fati: 5/10

Ansu Fati started through the middle instead of Torres in a surprising call by Xavi. And the teenage prodigy did not look good at all as he squandered a few openings, missing two big chances. Fati was lucky that Alonso was on a ghosting run to convert one of the missed opportunities. He also lost the ball carelessly a few times as Viktoria Plzen intensified the pressure.

Ferran Torres: 8/10

Torres produced a clinical performance in the final third, scoring from his two shots on target. The first was a precise finish from point-blank range that gave Stanek no chance. And the Spaniard completed his brace by finishing a move that he started by converting a cut-back by Raphinha. Torres showed nice movement and got the confidence boost he desperately needed.

SUBSTITUTES

Alejandro Balde: 6/10

Balde was not as influential as he usually could be against Viktoria Plzen. While the youngster won a few crucial duels, he barely impacted the proceedings in the final third. Alba’s improved displays might be detrimental to his game time.

Marc Casado: 6.5/10

Casado replaced an injured Kessie midway through the second half and barely lost the ball in the game’s final stretch. That helped Barcelona keep Viktoria Plzen at an arm’s length. He also worked hard in the defensive phases.

Alvaro Sanz: N/A

Sanz capped off a night of debuts for Barcelona with his first UEFA Champions League minutes after replacing Torre. And the youngster was solid in the middle of the park, completing most of his attempted passes.

Ousmane Dembele: N/A

Dembele barely got a touch on the ball after replacing Raphinha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Recommended

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.