International Soccer

Barcelona’s best and worst players in 1-0 win against Las Palmas

Barcelona closed the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid to five points following a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Las Palmas on Saturday night.

La Blaugrana had their work cut out to break down their resilient and dogged visitors, who played much of the game with 10 players after goalkeeper Alvaro Valles picked up a 24th-minute red card.

Just before that dismissal, Raphinha had an opening goal ruled out for offside by VAR, but he stuck to his guns and came up with the winner on the hour mark.

Here were Barca’s best and worst performers at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys.

Raphinha

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Raphinha stepped up / PAU BARRENA/GettyImages

Talk of a summer transfer seems to have done little to harm Raphinha, who proved to be Barcelona’s saviour on Saturday.

Not to be deterred after his initial 19th-minute strike was controversially chalked off for offside, the Brazil winger kept his head up and was Barca’s chief chance creator.

He finally got his reward midway through the second half when he made a run across the backline and was picked out by Joao Felix, finishing beyond goalkeeper Aaron Escandell – in for the sent-off Valles – with a thumping header.

Unless Barcelona are seriously strapped for cash, they should not be shopping such a dynamic threat like Raphinha. This is the kind of performance you point to in order to convince them of that.

Honourable mention

Joao Felix

Joao Felix

Felix had one of his better games in a Barca shirt / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Sure, he’s inconsistent. Sure, it’s hard to actually fit him into a functioning team. Sure, he may very well not be at Barcelona next season. But magic happens when the ball is at the feet of Joao Felix.

On this occasion, he came up with the wonderful assist for Raphinha’s winning goal, drifting inside from the left wing, ghosting away from a couple of Las Palmas defenders and picking out the winger with a deftly floated ball over the defence.

Robert Lewandowski

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It wasn’t Lewandowski’s night / PAU BARRENA/GettyImages

Robert Lewandowski had a goal of his own ruled out for offside, but unlike Raphinha, he failed to come back stronger.

The veteran striker also rattled the crossbar but his inability to actually find the net against the 10 men of Las Palmas was a concerning indictment of his current quality.

He picked up a yellow card which rules him out of Barcelona’s trip to Cadiz next weekend, but he’ll crucially be available for their visit to Real Madrid eight days later.

Dishonourable mention

Lamine Yamal

Lamine Yamal

Get this boy some help / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

In an unsurprising twist which will have surprised nobody, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal looks rather knackered after nearly a full season of senior football.

Perhaps Barcelona and Spain should stop rinsing their teenagers like bars of soap, huh?

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