Real Valladolid took a massive stride towards LaLiga safety as they moved out of the relegation zone after a shock 3-1 home win against Barcelona at Jose Zorrilla.
The hosts had lost their last five games, but stormed into a two-goal lead after 22 minutes when Andreas Christensen’s own goal was followed by Cyle Larin’s penalty.
Gonzalo Plata’s second-half strike put the result beyond doubt before Robert Lewandowski grabbed a consolation late on.
The result moves Paulo Pezzolano’s side above Getafe and into 17th in the LaLiga table, while Barca remain in search of their first league win since being crowned champions a fortnight ago.
Valladolid had the ball in the net after just 82 seconds when Christensen headed Darwin Machis’ cross past his own goalkeeper.
Machis and Raphinha went close at either end before the hosts doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute, Larin converting from the penalty spot after Plata was brought down by Eric Garcia.
Barca were denied an instant response with Masip producing a fine pair of saves to deny Raphinha and Christensen from close range.
Alejandro Balde fired wide shortly after the break, but Valladolid continued to impress, nearly adding a third when Plata’s cross struck the outside of the post.
Ferran Torres came closest to igniting a comeback for Xavi’s side, but the substitute was unable to turn home Balde’s cross at full stretch.
Instead, Valladolid would seal the points in the 73rd minute when Plata’s composed finish from Larin’s cross was awarded after a VAR check.
Lucas Rosa’s deft chip hit the post for the home side late on, though they were denied a clean sheet when Lewandowski pulled a goal back six minutes from time.
6 – Paulo Pezzolano is the sixth Real Valladolid manager to win in his first LaLiga game against Barcelona, the first since Sergio Krešić in November 1997 (2-1). Hope. pic.twitter.com/BuLMkjhgqf
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 23, 2023
What does it mean? Vital victory for Valladolid
Barcelona have accomplished their season objective with the LaLiga title already in the bag, but for Valladolid, there is still plenty to play for.
And the hosts made the most of Barca’s lacklustre performance, moving out of the relegation zone and ending their five-game winless run with just two league games remaining.
Valladolid fans will now be hoping relegation rivals Getafe and Cadiz both slip up on Wednesday.
Despite Valladolid’s fast start, it was the performance of Masip in goal that ensured the Pezzolano’s side maintained their lead at the break.
Barcelona registered 14 first-half shots, but the former Blaugrana goalkeeper made six saves, including key stops to deny Christensen and Raphinha in quick succession.
It might not have been the performance the Poland striker was hoping for, but his late strike marks his 23rd goal in just 32 LaLiga appearances.
The 34-year-old is now one away from equalling the best scoring record in the league by a player in his debut season at the club, achieved by Samuel Eto’o in 2004-05 (24 goals in 37 games).
Key Opta stats
- Real Valladolid have beaten Barcelona for the first time in La Liga since March 2014
- Robert Lewandowski has been directly involved in goals in his last three LaLiga appearances (four goals, no assists)
- Cyle Larin has scored eight LaLiga goals this season, more than any other Valladolid player in the Spanish top flight
- Barcelona have scored in 32 of their 36 games, more often than any other team in LaLiga this season
Valladolid face a huge clash against Almeria in their penultimate LaLiga game on Sunday, while Barcelona host Mallorca on the same day.
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