It was a game most Barça fans were dreading. Real Valladolid at home on paper looked to be an easy win. But it would be far from it.
As league leaders Atlético de Madrid lost 1-0 away to Sevilla, this opened up for FC Barcelona to get within a point of their rivals. The game at home at the Camp Nou was being played against 16th placed Real Valladolid.
The away team started off fearless and attacked several times even hitting the bar with a clean header creating the best chance of the game so far.
It was clear that Barça was not in the game as if they were playing for the league title and Koeman had to find a different recipe to open up the centered 5-3-2 defensive formation of the away team.
Messi tried and had a couple a of close calls with one shot just outside of the left post. Dembélé who was very active in the game had a shot on a breakway that was greatly saved by the goalkeeper. On the rebound Griezmann dove to hit the ball with a header, but it went just outside.
In the 80th minute Óscar Plano was sent off, a call that was highly argued against by the away team not agreeing with the referees call. A Barcelona that was struggling now got a ticket into the game, but it would take until the 90th minute before Demblélé would get the chance to slam the ball into the net making it 1-0 winning the game for the locals.
This means Barça is one point behind Atlético de Madrid in the league with an upcoming El Clásico away to Real Madrid the 10th of April. Madrid who is in third place knows a victory is a must to be able to stay in the title race.
📸 Manel Montilla