The Colombian showed a lot of poise
Yerry Mina did well as he made his league debut for FC Barcelona in their 0-0 draw with Getafe. The Colombian, signed from Palmeiras in the winter window, had previously only played a few minutes in the Spanish cup with Barça.
Mina was making his first start more or less by force, as Samuel Umtiti was suspended, Thomas Vermaelen was injured, and Gerard Piqué was not fully fit. Mina was the only centerback left, and fullback Lucas Digne had to partner him in defense.
Despite the disappointing result, the centerback pairing cannot really be blamed. They kept a clean sheet, after all. True, Ernesto Valverde instructed his players to hang back a bit to help their novel centerback pairing, but you’d think a team with Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Philippe Coutinho would score against Getafe at home even then.
Let’s take a look:
Of course, Mina was not perfect. Ernesto Valverde frequently was giving him instructions on how to handle situations. The defender did make a really poor pass in the first half that almost led to an opening goal for Getafe.
But he showed a lot. He wasn’t overly timid and some of his passing did start some good attacking moves. He’s not Piqué-level yet, but he could get there.
In the air, he used his impressive height to win many duels. He won five in the air, only Sergio Busquets had more, with six. It’s a shame he couldn’t score, he came reasonably close on more than one occasion from finding the net off a set piece.
His pass accuracy was a tidy 94%, only Digne had a better one. He had three tackles, tied for most for Barça with Digne. He also made two interceptions (only Jordi Alba had more) and one block (no one had more.)
Perhaps on the negative side, he did commit the most fouls (three) and earn himself a late booking.
His biggest highlight was a block he made on a shot by Ángel Luis Rodríguez. The forward had broken through and was one-on-one against Mina. Ángel is not a big number 9, but a clever, quick player. He tried to fool Mina and get him to overcommit, then place a shot past Marc-André Ter Stegen.
Mina defended it admirably, not biting for any of the fakes, and putting the slightest of deflection on the eventual shot with one of his telescopic legs, which caused the ball to drift narrowly past the post for a corner.
Overall, Mina showed a lot of promise, especially given the tricky circumstances (for example, the lack of an established CB to partner him.) He even picked up a few people’s choice for the best player on Barcelona’s side. There is a lot of optimism that Barça have unearthed another gem in defense.