Barcelona needed a first La Liga goal from Memphis Depay to salvage a 1-1 draw at Athletic Club at San Mamés.
The Catalan giants were fairly flat in the first half, as their attempts to pass through the middle of the field before shifting out wide yielded little success. The pattern of play became fairly predictable, with Athletic nullifying any threat offered by livewires Depay and Pedri.
While Los Leones finished the first half the stronger of the two sides, they couldn’t convert their possession into creating any clear cut chances. However, five minutes after the interval, Iñigo Martínez turned home Iker Muniain’s corner to give the hosts the lead.
That goal was the shock to the system that Barcelona needed, and they immediately began to stroke the ball around with more calmness and composure. This newfound energy inspired Frenkie de Jong to hit the crossbar moments later, but the visitors would not be denied their equalising goal.
Impressive pressing in midfield eventually led to Sergi Roberto feeding the ball through for Depay, who powered through on goal before firing a thundering left foot strike into the roof of Julen Agirrezabala’s goal.
Barça looked the more likely to go on and win the game, but although Depay had a good late chance, they didn’t do enough to pick up all three points.
Here’s how Barça’s players rated on the night…
Neto (GK) – 6/10 – Made a couple of saves but Barcelona’s goalkeeper had a pretty quiet evening.
Sergino Dest (RB) – 6/10 – The young American was keen to push on and help in attack, but was equally alert to his defensive responsibilities.
Eric Garcia (CB) – 5/10 – The young Spaniard struggled to cope with the pace of Iñaki Williams, and a difficult evening was made worse by his red card in stoppage time..
Gerard Pique (CB) – 7/10 – Only lasted half an hour but showed his class with a number of interceptions.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 6/10 – Usually a threat going forward, Alba found himself on the back foot more often than not and was unable to bomb on as he’d have liked.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 5/10 – Not the greatest showing from Busquets, who was uncharacteristically caught in possession a number of times.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 7/10 – After a lukewarm first half, De Jong warmed to the occasion and began to boss proceedings in central midfield. His display allowed Barça to get the upper hand late on.
Pedri (CM) – 6/10 – Game number 76,381 of Pedri’s fledgling young career was lively enough, but Athletic’s physicality dampened his attacking flair as the game wore on. Subbed on the hour.
Antoine Griezmann (RW) – 6/10 – A bit of a strange performance from Griezmann, who positionally was all over the shop. Drifted in off the flank and oddly turned up in the number six role far too often.
Martin Braithwaite (ST) – 6/10 – The Dane’s lack of chemistry with Griezmann and Depay was evident. A flat display.
Memphis Depay (LW) – 8/10 – The new recruit from Lyon was electric in the second half, causing Athletic problems with his pace and movement. Deserved his goal and came within a whisker of earning all three points.
Ronald Araújo (CB) – 6/10 – Brought into the fold early on after Pique hobbled off, and did well on the whole. Was separated from Garcia on occasion but did okay.
Sergi Roberto (CM) – 7/10 – Helped Barcelona settle things down after replacing the tiring Pedri. Assisted Depay’s equaliser.
Yusuf Demir (ST) – 6/10
Emerson (RB) – N/A