Arturo Vidal scored the only goal of the game, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen came up clutch in goal as Barcelona held out for a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid.
Barcelona moved back to within just one point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid with a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid at Estadio Jose Zorrilla on Saturday evening.
Barcelona dominated the proceedings early on and after Riqui Puig had a shot saved, Arturo Vidal found the back of the net, applying the finishing touches to a Lionel Messi pass. Antoine Griezmann missed a great chance to double the Catalans’ lead as half-time arrived.
Valladolid turned on the pressure after the break, with Enes Unal forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a couple of saves, while the German was at hand to deny former Barcelona man Sandro Ramirez late in the game to secure three points for his side. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars on the evening;
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 8/10
📊 Ter Stegen completed his 100th game with a clean sheet in his 233 games with Barça. Record: 166W 42D 25L, conceding 211 goals. He has 2 assists this season [sport] pic.twitter.com/29aBLxOpst
— FCBarcelonaFl #StayHome 🏡 (@FCBarcelonaFl) July 12, 2020
The German international once again stepped up for Barcelona when needed, ensuring that his team came out on top. Stopped two headed efforts from Enes Unal, before denying Sandro Ramirez in stoppage time.
Apart from making clutch saves, ter Stegen also came out to claim crosses confidently. Distribution from the back on point as always. Kept his 100th clean sheet for Barcelona. What a player ter Stegen has been for the Catalans.
Sergi Roberto: 6.5/10
The versatile Spaniard started as the right-sided centre-back in Barcelona’s three-man backline. Was given the licence to push forward which he did to good effect, combining well with Nelson Semedo and Lionel Messi on occasions. More reserved after the break as Valladolid ramped up the pressure. Moved into midfield later in the game and fared decently there as well.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
A solid outing for the veteran defender in spite of a few iffy moments, which could have proved costly for Barcelona. Usually strong in the air, Pique did lose out in a duel or two against Unal in the second period, leading to chances for the hosts. But, he finished the game with 11 clearances, 2 interceptions and four aerial duels won.
Pique 🆚 Valladolid
4 Aerial duels won
2 Ground duels won
87/90 (97%) Accurate passes
8 Long balls
1 Shot on target
3 Times Possession lost pic.twitter.com/xallk8ooQe
— Ⓐ (@Barzaboy) July 11, 2020
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
Starting on the left of the back-three, the Frenchman was caught out early in the game, leading to an opportunity for Kike Perez, who failed to make the most of it. Fairly solid thereafter. Having been booked in the first half, he was subbed off ten minutes after the break as he was deemed a red card risk.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Offered a great outlet down the right flank in the first half, as he relished playing in the wing-back role. Semedo was involved in almost everything positive for Barcelona in the first period, sending in a number of dangerous crosses, which Griezmann was not able to capitalise on. Influence waned after the break and was pinned back in his own half more and more by the hosts.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
34.8% – Barcelona's Arturo Vidal has the best shot conversion rate in LaLiga this season (20+ shots total). Essential. pic.twitter.com/VZIG3UeADb
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) July 11, 2020
Back into the starting XI after the Espanyol game earlier in the week, the Chilean offered the energy and tenacity in the centre of the park, pressing the opposition aggressively. Scored the only goal of the game with a clinical finish after being set up by his captain. Continued to work hard throughout the game.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
Offered control and composure in the middle of the park and kept Barcelona ticking with his passing. Looked tired and worn out after the break as Valladolid upped the ante and was subbed off for the final fifteen minutes.
Riqui Puig: 7/10
Handed a starting berth in the middle of the park, the Barcelona academy graduate was a breath of fresh air. Offered a threat going forward and came close to scoring, only to be denied by Jordi Masip. Always involved in the build-up and looked to make things happen. Was not shy of putting in the hard yards when not in possession.
Riqui Puig Stats at HT vs Real Valladolid:
• 45 total minutes played
• 38 total touches
• 23 accurate passes (79.3% passing acc)
• 4/6 ground duels won
• 1 shot on target
Trust La Masia! pic.twitter.com/gM3pB6WhrW
— Yusif👨🏽💻 (@yusif_stats) July 11, 2020
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
Not as involved going forward as his teammate on the opposite flank, but the Spaniard was a solid presence as Valladolid enjoyed little success attacking from his side. Made three interceptions and completed two tackles. Offered an outlet when Barcelona were under the pump in the second half.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
Not anywhere close to his best, but the little magician from Argentina made history on Saturday when he set Vidal up for the only goal with a brilliant pass. Came close with an effort in the second period, but looked tired and it is understandable given his workload since the resumption of the campaign.
In 2002/03, Thierry Henry scored 24 goals and provided 20 assists in the Premier League.
No other player had scored 20+ goals and provided 20+ assists in a single top-five European league season in the 21st century.
But now Lionel Messi also has 20/20 vision. pic.twitter.com/Vnks3nJqkb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 11, 2020
With his assist, he became the first ever La Liga player to score and assist 20 or more goals each in a single season. He also matched former teammate Xavi’s record of 20 assists in a single season. He is also just the second player to score and assist 20+ goals each in a single campaign in the top five European leagues in the 21st century after Thierry Henry (2002/03).
Antonio Griezmann: 4/10
Starting ahead of Luis Suarez, the Frenchman was completely ineffective on the evening. Missed a sitter after Semedo set him up and was generally found wanting in his passing and link-up play. Replaced by Suarez at half-time.
Luis Suarez: 4/10
Came on for Griezmann at half-time, but never really got going. Had scored in the previous game, but did not pose any sort of threat and lost possession on a few occasions.
Ivan Rakitic: 4/10
Replaced Puig in the 57th minute. Was a downgrade on the youngster, as he struggled to create anything of note, while also seemingly lacking the energy to contain Valladolid.
Ronald Araujo: 5/10
Replaced Lenglet for the final half an hour or so. Had difficulty to cope with the aerial threat of the hosts, but will be better for the experience.
Junior Firpo: N/A
Got a 15-minute run out after he came on for Busquets. Nearly conceded a penalty.