A match summary / review of the Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona game.
Barcelona has nothing left but to continue fighting a clash against one of the teams that have conceded – and scored – the fewest goals in the campaign. The meeting today at the José Zorrilla may seem like a difficult mission unless Quique Setién plays with the best he has.
FC Barcelona started the game under control. Roberto joined Piqué and Lenglet as centre-backs tonight, with Semedo and Alba as wing-backs. In the 5th minute, the first shot on goal came from Riqui Puig after Semedo reached the youngster. In the 15th minute of the game, Arturo Vidal scored a brilliant goal, with Lionel Messi making the assist.
The game continued under Barcelona’s domination in possession, with Griezmann having another chance in the 19th minute of the game. The Frenchman was completely free for a tap-in, but he missed the ball. Semedo similarly had a chance to score after a brilliant pass by Busquets in the 24th minute, but Masip saved his effort brilliantly.
? — Lionel Messi is the first player to have 20+ goals AND assists in a single season since 2002/03. Genius. pic.twitter.com/EqkDcpEOsn— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) July 11, 2020
Ter Stegen stepped up in the 37th minute of the game once again and prevented Kike Pérez from equalizing. Five minutes later, Lionel Messi’s first effort on goal went some curled inches wide.
Overall, Barcelona dominated the game and produced more chances compared to the last game. Setién’s new 3-5-2 system seemed quite effective, but it is too early to draw conclusions yet.
First-half score: Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona
After a poor first-half performance, Antoine Griezmann is replaced by Luis Suarez in the second half of the game. In the 49th minute, Riqui Puig got another shot on goal, but it was easily saved by Masip. In the 57th minute, Setién played two new cards on the field, replacing Puig and Lenglet with Rakitic and Araujo.
Barça seems to have gone down a gear compared to the first half. In the 61st minute, Valladolid had its closest chance on goal from a header by Enes Ünal tipped wide by Ter Stegen. A minute later, Messi whips a freekick on target, but former Barça keeper, Masip, makes the save once again. He has been outstanding tonight in the Valladolid goal.
Barcelona struggled to create chances, similar to the problem in earlier games. From minute 65 to 70, Valladolid took control over the ball. In the 71st minute, Suarez called for a penalty, but referee Mateo Lahoz did not appeal to VAR. 5 minutes later, Piqué got taken down in the penalty area, and again, the referee did not believe there was a penalty. Piqué laughed after the incident – he got used to such calls by now.
Gerard Piqué is discussing with Mateo Lahoz. The defender believes that he should have appealed to VAR and that there was a penalty on him.— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) July 11, 2020
In the final part of the game, Barcelona again failed to create, and Valladolid came multiple times crossed the ball towards the goal. Ter Stegen has been very alert as usual, thus the efforts were cleared comfortably.
Barcelona gets the three points away against Valladolid in a game where they had fewer shots than their opponent. Still, Real Madrid has to drop points twice. Otherwise, they will be champions for the first time since 2017.
Final score: Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona
Real Valladolid – FC Barcelona
%31 – Possession – %69
11 – Shots – 9
4 – Shots on target – 5
15 – Fouls – 13
2 – Yellow Cards – 3
0 – Red Cards – 0
0 – Offsides – 0
4 – Corners – 5
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alba, Lenglet (57′ Araujo), Piqué, Semedo; Vidal, Busquets (74′ Firpo), Roberto, Griezmann (45′ Suarez), Puig (57′ Rakitic), Messi
Goals: 15′ Arturo Vidal (Assist: Lionel Messi)
Real Valladolid: Jordi Masip, Moyano, Kiko, Sanchez, Garcia, Plano (80′ Rubio), Fede, Fernandez (46′ Pablo Hervias), Rubén Alcaraz (46′ Ünal), Perez, Sergi Guardiola (61′ Sandro Ramirez)
That brings an end to the Real Valladolid vs FC Barcelona match summary.
Three talking points from Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
In the final edition of El Clásico in the 2020/21 domestic campaign, Barcelona incurred their fifth defeat of the league campaign. It was end-to-end stuff in the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, as an exceptional first-half performance from the hosts was followed up by a tantalizing second from Barça.
This game had everything someone could ask for in a Clásico. There was controversy, passion, goals and for the first time in a few years, a red card was the cherry on the top. These are Barca Universal’s takeaways from the game in the capital.
Real Madrid’s efficiency on show
With four shots on target, 1.58 Expected Goals, and two goals to their name, Real Madrid put to show their sheer efficacy in front of goal, as well as in defence. For the first half at least, Zinédine Zidane’s men were always at the right place, at the right time making all the right movements and to devastating effect.
Los Blancos‘ philosophy is one of winning, and doing so regardless of how the victory is earned. Contrary to the Catalans, who not only need to win, but also do it a certain way, Los Merengues are more than capable of abandoning their usually proactive approach to games in favour of a more reactive one. The fact that they are not bound to a specific ideology makes winning matches one of the simplest of tasks.
They held the ball for only 32% of the game, which goes completely against what a majority would expect them to. At the end of the day, however, possession matters significantly less than what one does with it. With every lapse in concentration from the Garnet and Blue, Madrid had enough men forward, and well enough positioned, to hit them where it hurt.
Despite the relatively low xG, they had enough big chances to even lead 4-0 come the halftime whistle. When it came to defending, their tight-knit defence, in stark contrast to that of their rivals, barely broke a sweat. They imposed an impenetrable low block, and applied a collective press to force as many errors as they could.
In addition to this, Zidane has the luxury of having a starting eleven of devastatingly versatile footballers in his arsenal. Fede Valverde for instance was as much a right-back as he was a central midfielder and a winger. He executed each role to pristine perfection, and so did his peers to ensure all 3 points, and bragging rights stayed in Madrid.
Excellent mentality shift
Following such a harrowing performance in the first half, few, if any, could have expected Barcelona to mount a comeback. Had this been any other team, that would have been possible, but given Real Madrid’s first-half performance, this was all but envisageable.
Indeed, the Catalans did fail to get any points from the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, however, the sheer mentality they showed in the second half was a sight for sore eyes. Ronald Koeman made the necessary adjustments to the side, reverting to the 4-3-3 and with it, they wrought trouble in the Madrid backline.
Lionel Messi celebrating the goal. pic.twitter.com/ZX1HzWSqAR— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 10, 2021
If in the first half Barça seemed caged in endless cycles of worthless possession, then in the second they made thorough use of it. The Blaugrana created eleven chances for themselves in the second period, and while doing this, they in turn limited Los Blancos to just a single shot on goal for the entirety of the half; a complete turnover from their performance in the opening 45 minutes.
It was nail-biting stuff up until the final second of the game, as Ilaix Moriba’s volleyed effort struck the underside of the crossbar. Given the overall performance from both sides, a draw would have been a considerably fairer result, but even in defeat with this version of Barça, the players and fans know that they can keep their heads held high.
A game of fine margins
Games of the magnitude of El Clásico will forever be decided by the most minute of details and the same was the case here.
The first significant one was the frame of the goal. In the first half, following the umpteenth counter attack from Real Madrid, Fede Valverde, who up until then was having yet another phenomenal showing against Barcelona, struck the frame of the post with a shot that crucially bounced underneath Sergio Busquets.
In the second half, Ronald Araújo nearly scored an own goal, but with Ter Stegen rooted to the spot, the ball rolled delicately onto the post and out for a corner. In the final minute of the match, and with Madrid fighting for their lives, Ilaix Moriba struck the underside of the crossbar to end this sensational tie on an emotional high.
Jordi Alba has often been criticized for being just as much a blessing offensively as he is a curse defensively. In the build-up to the hosts’ opener, he had one task to fulfill: mark his opposing fullback. This is one he absolutely failed, as he drifted too far inside, and by the time he had noticed his error, Lucas Vázquez already had Karim Benzema in his sights. Too little, too late.
The final significant detail was in the goal that won Los Blancos the game. After what many consider a poorly given free-kick from the referee’s standpoint, Toni Kroos surely could not believe his eyes when he saw the sheer state of Barça’s wall. Marc André Ter Stegen’s poor leadership of his defenders left him utterly vulnerable, and his German counterpart spared him no blushes, slotting it home to seal the victory for his side.