Barcelona have lost their second consecutive match since being crowned champions of La Liga, this time suffering a painful 3-1 defeat to Real Valladolid at the José Zorrilla Stadium on Tuesday night. Barça made a terrible start and found themselves in a two-goal hole, and while they had some really good moments in attack they couldn’t find a way to comeback and dropped all three points to a Pucela side that deserved the victory and got a major boost in their fight against relegation.
The opening 20 minutes were among the worst of Barça’s season, with disjointed work in possession and sloppy defending that created a lot of trouble early on. They suffered from self-inflicted wounds, making two crucial individual mistakes that led to two Valladolid goals.
The first mistake was more of an accident by Andreas Christensen, who tried to intercept a cross from Darwin Machís but ended up heading the ball against his own net; the second mistake was from Eric García who committed a soft but silly penalty by tackling Gonzalo Plata inside the box without a chance to win the ball, and Cyle Larin scored from the spot to double the advantage for the hosts.
After a really poor start Barça finally put together a stretch of competent attacking play thanks mostly to Pablo Torre and Frenkie De Jong, who controlled the pace of the game in midfield and constantly found teammates in dangerous positions with excellent passes. Barça started to look creative and dangerous, and could have easily scored at least twice.
Raphinha had at least three huge opportunities, Andreas Christensen had an open header inside the box and Robert Lewandowski narrowly missed the target with a powerful shot from just outside the area, and former Barça goalkeeper Jordi Masip made quite a few brilliant saves to keep the home team in front.
At the break Barça were down two goals but played very well towards the end of the period, and if they kept up the good work from the final 25 minutes they had real hope for a second half comeback.
Barça’s second half was extremely disappointing as the Blaugrana couldn’t carry on the momentum from the end of the first and became slow and anemic on the ball again, almost not interested in attacking and giving the Valladolid a very easy time as they protected their lead.
The home team remained dangerous on the counter, and that’s how they got their third goal when Larin got in behind Marcos Alonso and crossed it to Plata, who easily beat Eric García for pace and made it 3-0 for the hosts to seal the victory.
Barça finally got a goal with five minutes to go when a masterful through ball from Frenkie De Jong found Robert Lewandowski all alone in front of Masip, and the league’s top scorer dribbled past the keeper and scored a great goal from a difficult angle to give the Blaugrana something to feel good about on the night.
There was not enough time for Barça to mount a miracle comeback, and the final whistle came to hand them their second straight loss since being crowned champions. But they had some really good moments in the first half and Pablo Torre really took advantage of his opportunity, so this wasn’t exactly a terrible night. Still, losing on the road to a relegation candidate sucks and Barça really have to regroup and beat Mallorca at the weekend on their farewell to Camp Nou.
Valladolid: Masip; Fresneda, Fernández (Torres 16’), Sánchez, Olaza (Escudero 56’); Mesa (Monchu 56’), Aguado; Plata, Plano (Pérez 71’), Machís (Rosa 71’); Larin
Goals: Christensen (OG 2’), Larin (pen 22’), Plata (73’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (Peña 46’); Roberto (Kessie 46’), Christensen, Alonso, Balde; Gavi (Fati 76’), Eric, De Jong; Raphinha (Dembélé 63’), Lewandowski, Torre (Ferran 63’)
Goal: Lewandowski (84’)