Barcelona player ratings vs Atlético: Spanish Super Cup
They may have been the better side for most of the semi-final but Ernesto Valverde and his talisman, Lionel Messi, will be heading home earlier than planned.
The second semi-final of the newly formatted Spanish Super Cup is over and we now know the two names that will battle it out for the 'inaugural' crown on Sunday: Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. The capital 'Derbi' will take the focus on Sunday instead of an extra Clásico in the season, and many would argue that Barcelona were unfortunate not to have progressed after dominating much of the proceedings.
Let's have a look back on how the Barça players performed...
Barcelona player ratings
His first match against Inter Milan in the Champions League raised more than a ripple of applause. In the second against Espanyol the first criticisms were already there to be heard. And those complaints have now multiplied from some fans following his showing against Atlético. With Barça dominating possession and territory, the Brazilian didn't have too much to do (his counterpart Jan Oblak was considerably busier at the other end) but questions can be asked about his involvement in the goals. Koke's early second-half strike could have been stopped by a quicker reaction and a fully outstretched arm, while the foul on Correa that handed Morata the penalty would likely not have been given away by first choice Ter Stegen. The third, as with the second, has fingers pointed at the defence, but he was afforded a chance to save it. It may be a high bar to be measured against but it is clear that Neto is not near the level of the German international, and in big games it is on these key moments that you are judged.
The full-back occupied the right wing with resolution and presence, especially in his incursions to join his teammates in attack. Defensively he had a few issues keeping an eye on the runs in behind but overall was a part of the dominant side.
As with Neto, the key moments went against the veteren defender, as he become one of the culprits for their elimination. Correa's third goal came after an unforgivable error when clearing the ball, which allowed the Argentine the space to run in on goal. The other, that he cannot be faulted for, was having his goal disallowed after a neatly worked move was pulled back by VAR for an offside decision on Vidal. Other than his involvement in the winning goal for Atleti, he was his reliable self throughout.
The Frenchman is getting closer and closer to being back at his powerful best, but he's not there yet. His great burden in this game was his lack of pace, being caught out by sprinting forwards or bursts from midfield. He was, however, able to anticipate opponent moves and react appropriately on most occasions. If his right knee permits him, more minutes on the pitch will return the sharpness.
As usual, and especially in the first half, Alba provided a threat down the left side as Barça attacked and his perfect ball across to Suárez led to the Griezmann goal. However, his game will also be remembered for his spat with Félix as the whistle went for the break, and he looked more unsettld during the second 45.
Controlling the tempo of much of the game - something we're very accustomed to now - the midfielder had to be replaced in the final minutes looking exhausted. His precision with passes, and talent of picking the right player in the best space continued for most of the time he was involved. The exception to that was in the ten minutes before Valverde replaced him, when he lost possession in high-risk areas of the field, tarnishing his night's work.
The Chilean gave an impressive performance, arguably his best of this season. Hard into the tackle to reclaim possession for his side without the ball, and precise with it, he didn't allow Atlético's midfielders time to to any damage. His stretched pass to assist Piqué's disallowed goal would have clinched the game had he not moved a split-second before (or had VAR not been in operation). Rumours are that Milan will take him away in this transfer window, but that would appear to be an unwise move all things considered.
Frenkie de Jong
An assured game from the Dutchman, despite giving the ball away unnecessarily a few times in dangerous areas. Superb driving forward and breaking through the Leti press. Still more development required to match the level needed from him at Barça, but he continues to take steps towards it.
He gave everything to get his side to the final, but sometimes it is not meant to be, no matter the quality and talent. He scored a great goal, an immediate and necessary response to Koke's opener, and another was ruled out by VAR for his control on the arm. It was also the Argentine's left boot that delivered the lofted pass into the marginally offside Vidal for another VAR intervention. With him on the pitch, even after Atleti's late third, there was always a chance of Barça levelling, and a final free-kick almost aided Piqué to head home as the whistle was about to blow.
The Uruguayan didn't score on the night, but he went very close to doing so twice, had it not been for Oblak. A regular threat, he kept the rojiblanco defence and goalkeeper busy, sometimes deploying the darker arts that he is not ashamed of.
Despite his team dominating, it took some time for the Frenchman to really make any mark in the game. He did appear to be more dynamic than in other matches this season, and combined better with his attacking teammates. His goal wasn't difficult in terms of its execution, but it was him following up the Suárez attempt and reacting quickest that presented the chance. Notably, he did not celebrate against his former side. He was close to scoring a couple more, but the Slovenian won both duels.