Leganes played host to the defending champions Barcelona and were surely written out going into this game. Mauricio Pellegrino’s side had got just 1 point from their opening 5 fixtures and was starting the game from the last place of the table.
Barcelona, on the other hand, started the game at the top of the table, but hardly played like a team that won the league last season in dominant fashion. Some key personnel like Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba were rested, which influenced the result, as mistakes from the latter’s replacement, Thomas Vermaelen, cost them dearly.
Leganes scored 2 goals in the span of a minute, with Nabil El Zhar and Oscar Rodriguez putting the hosts in the lead after a glorious strike from Coutinho in the first half.
Let’s take a look at the hits and misses from this match:
Miss: Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique was the shining star for Barcelona in their match against Girona, as he made a goal-line clearance and also scored an important goal for the Blaugrana. But today, he was a shadow of his former self and his lapse of concentration for a short while cost Barcelona their 3 points.
He gave the ball away to the 20-year old Real Madrid loanee Oscar Rodriguez, who put the ball into the net with a good first-time shot. But mistakes like these to minnows put to worry how Barcelona will play against the big teams in the UEFA Champions League, who will be ruthless.
With Lenglet suspended and Vermaelen not dependable anymore, Umtiti is the only in-form center-back at Barcelona’s disposal. Pique needs to put this game behind himself and come back stronger or else this season is going to be yet another disappointing campaign for the Catalans in the UCL.
Hit: Ivan Cuellar
The 34-year old Spanish keeper was a wall for the struggling side as he pulled of wonderful saves to make sure his side got all 3 points. He was also distributing well to make sure Leganes can counter and they did so with a strong will.
He pulled off a double save from a Coutinho curler and a shot off the rebound by Croatian international, Ivan Rakitic to prevent the equaliser for Barcelona in the late stages. If not for the veteran goalkeeper, Leganes would have been still with just 1 point after 6 games.
Miss: Munir El Haddadi
The youngster who impressed out on loan last season at Alaves was given his first start of the season, but he failed to capitalise on his chance and was disappointing throughout his time on the pitch.
He was caught offside 3 times, which shows how he failed to link up well with his teammates. He did play some decent passes but overall was a disappointing night for the Spaniard.
Hit: Oscar Rodriguez
The 20-year old Real Madrid loanee hit the ground running against the Blaugrana last night. He was ever present in Leganes’ build-up play and was very impressive throughout.
He capitalised on Gerard Pique’s mistake and scored well in a first-time shot, putting Leganes in the lead, after Nabil El Zhar equalised for the hosts.
Rodriguez will surely be influential for Leganes’ push to stay in the top division.
Miss: Thomas Vermaelen
The 32-year old Belgian was expected to be sold by Ernesto Valverde, but it was Colombian Yerry Mina who was sold and we can see why he was expected to be sold with his performance yesterday night.
Although it could be argued he started at left-back, he was defensively questionable. He didn’t cover well in the aerial game and allowed Nabil El Zhar, the shortest man on the pitch, score a header off the cross from Jonathan Silva.
It is time for an academy graduate to start at left-back rather than Vermaelen, who is not so good with age catching up with him and his frequent injury concerns.