Adriano stars at La Fiesta de Iniesta

Posted by Francesc Tomas

Barcelona grabbed a narrow 1-0 win against Valencia at the Camp Nou in Matchday 3 of La Liga. Adriano scored the goal for the Blaugranas.

The evening started with Andres Iniesta offering his long-overdue UEFA Best Player of 2012 award to an adoring Blaugrana crowd, who responded with one of the most outrageous roars of pride I remember at the Camp Nou.

Once the celebrations were over, Barcelona focused on the tremendous job in hand. Tito Vilanova continued to be faithful to the rotation policy that Pep Guardiola started during his very successful era, giving Song his Camp Nou debut and playing Cesc Fabregas in midfield ahead of newly-crowned Iniesta.

The Blaugranas were able to impose our traditional, quick pass and move style from the start, making use of the whole width of our home pitch and creating a good number of goalscoring chances. As it seemed inevitable, Barcelona scored shortly after, with Adriano the unlikely hero after a remarkable long-range effort.

During the second half, Barcelona continued in possession for long periods but were not able to stop Valencia from creating some late goalscoring chances which could have cost us the win -- we must ensure that these difficult matches are sealed way before the closing stages in the future.

All in all, Barcelona responded well to the very subtle changes that Tito Vilanova introduced, produced quality football for most of the match and succeeded in the difficult task of adding 3 valuable points to our tally against one of the best teams in recent La Liga history.

 

Player Ratings

Victor Valdes - 6 - Solid performance, Valencia didn't really force him to make any difficult saves.

Dani Alves - 6 - Looked determined to contribute with his classic quick runs from the right-back position but was substituted before the end of first half due to a minor injury.

Javier Mascherano - 7 - Lead the Barcelona defense with authority, back to his usual self after his below-par performance at the Bernabeu.

Gerard Pique - 6 - A strong defensive display, only beaten by the highly-skilled Soldado on one occasion.

Adriano - 8 - Man of the Match - Bounced back in style after his terrible performance against Real Madrid in midweek with a surprisingly brilliant performance. Scored his 12th La Liga goal in 199 appearances. A night to remember!

Alex Song - 8 - Impressed in his Camp Nou debut with a solid display. Accurate passing, good positioning, high intensity. Helped the team build from defense to attack with ease.

Xavi Hernandez - 7 - Took control of the Barcelona midfield with yet another demonstration of how to pace a game of football.

Cesc Fabregas - 5 - You can't take anything away from his effort but it is clear he doesn't feel comfortable within Tito Vilanova's formation yet. Another average performance, missed a couple of clear chances and ended up being substituted again.

Alexis Sanchez - 7 - Showed great attitude and offered the midfielders the option of opening the pitch by looking for open, wide positions. A true fighter.

Lionel Messi - 7 - His performance won't go down the history books but, as usual, used his innate genius to assist Adriano for the winner.

Pedro - 7 - Hard-working in defense, electric in attack at times. Failed to score but supported Alexis and Messi well.

Substitutes:

Jordi Alba - 6 - Substituted Dani Alves, putting in a courageous performance against his former teammates.

Andres Iniesta - 7 - Substituted Cesc Fabregas, adding an extra gear to the Barcelona attack.

Sergio Busquets - 6 - Substituted Alexis Sanchez, played well in a more advanced position as Alex Song was excelling as defensive midfielder.

Coach:

Tito Vilanova – 7 - Became the first Barcelona manager to win his first 3 matches since Van Gaal while rotating the team. Watched the game from the president's box due to his outrageous ban. The longer these positive results continue, the more credit he will get from the highly demanding Cule supporters.

 

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