It wasn’t the kind of game that Barça fans expected, as the Catalans struggled against Real Valladolid. In the end, though, they took all three points, leaving the best for late once again, thus moving just one point behind struggling league leaders Atlético Madrid.
The first half could simply be described as poor, as Real Valladolid looked far more comfortable than Barça, despite playing at the Camp Nou. Barça received two early scares as Kodro hit the bar and Roque Mesa had a golden opportunity to open the scoring. Yet these opportunities were wasted, and the two teams ended the first 45 minutes goalless.
In the second half we showed more rhythm, but it still wasn’t anywhere near what we saw before the international break. Although we created many chances, we were clearly heading towards a 0-0 draw. Yet in the 90th minute, Ronald Araujo flicked Frenkie de Jong’s cross backwards, and it fell kindly to Dembélé, who took his opportunity, hammering his volley into the back of the net. That´s what made the difference.
Individually, Clément Lenglet continued his impressive performances, with a pretty much flawless display. Pedri was another big positive, controlling the midfield and constantly looking to create danger. Ousmane Dembélé, on the other hand, had a rather dull game. Yet when it mattered, he never hesitated to pull the trigger. He handed us a vital three points, and that’s all that matters.
A crucial victory ahead of el Clasico that keeps our title hopes very much alive. It might not have been a deserved victory, but we’ve got all three points in the bag. The next few games will be incredibly tough. We’ve got el Clasico and the Copa del Rey final a week afterwards.