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Live Commentary: Real Valladolid 1-0 Barcelona - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla where Real Valladolid beat Barcelona 1-0.
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Saturday's opening La Liga clash pitted Real Valladolid against Barcelona at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

The hosts led 1-0 at the interval following a smart finish from Italian midfielder Fausto Rossi after 17 minutes.

Barcelona dominated proceedings in the second period, but could not make a breakthrough as the home side moved out of the relegation zone in Spain's leading division.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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Afternoon all! Week 27 in La Liga opens from the Estadio Jose Zorrilla as Real Valladolid welcome the champions Barcelona. The home side currently sit 18th in the table on 23 points, three points from 17th-place Almeria. Barca, meanwhile, are one point behind league leaders Real Madrid in second and two ahead of third-place Atletico Madrid.

TEAMS:

VALLADOLID: Marino; Rukavina, Rueda, Mitrovic, Pena; Valiente, Rossi, Rubio, Bergdich; Guerra, Manucho

BARCA: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Neymar, Messi, Pedro


So there we have it. Attacking XI for Valladolid this afternoon with Javi Guerra, who is expected to leave the club in the summer, joined by Manucho in attack. Alvaro Rubio is also handed a spot in the starting side. Barcelona, meanwhile, have Gerard Pique returning, but Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta are both unavailable.

In terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Barcelona have won each of the last five matches, scoring 16 times in the process and conceding just three. As mentioned, the corresponding fixture last season ended in a 3-1 win for Barca, who were also 4-1 victors on their own patch earlier this season.

Valladolid, who have won just one of their last 10 matches in La Liga, but drawn four of their last five, enter the match off the back of a 1-1 draw with Malaga. That result left them in 18th position in the table, but they are just three points from safety. It promises to be a fascinating end to the relegation battle in Spain's leading division.

Three of Valladolid's four league wins this season have come on their own patch, where they have lost just three times, which is a significantly better record than the teams around them. However, they have really struggled on the road with just one win from 14 matches, losing eight times in the process.

Goals have not been too much of a problem for Valladolid this season with 28 in their 26 matches. Barcelona, meanwhile, are the leading scorers in the division with 74 goals. Down the other end, Valladolid have conceded 44 times to Barcelona's 21, which is the joint-best record in the league.

Barcelona currently sit second in the table on 63 points, one behind leaders Real Madrid. They won 16 of their opening 18 league matches this season, but have won just four of their last eight, which has allowed Los Blancos and Atletico to remain in the race for the title. Three points are an absolute must for Gerardo Martino's side this afternoon.

Barcelona have won eight of their 13 league games on their travels this season, losing twice in the process. Meanwhile, their away record of just 11 conceded is the best in the division. What's more, the Catalan outfit have recorded eight consecutive victories over Valladolid, who could drop to 19th should Rayo Vallecano avoid defeat this weekend. It is a massive match at both ends of the table.

PREDICTION: Valladolid have lined up with an attacking side this afternoon, but I just worry whether they will see enough of the ball to harm Barcelona. The away team have key players missing, but still have an abundance of talent in their XI. In truth, I can only see one result, with Barcelona regaining first position in the table with all three points. My score prediction is 3-1 to the Catalan outfit.

Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal could be decisive in this type of contest. Right, the home side get the first 45 minutes underway at the Zorrilla.

It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium on this warm afternoon in Spain. As expected, Barcelona have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes with the likes of Xavi, Fabregas and Busquets seeing plenty of the ball. Valladolid will certainly have to get used to that.

Valladolid just cannot get the ball at the moment as Barcelona continue to pass and probe outside the home side's penalty area. Fabregas attempts to slide a through pass towards Messi, but Diego Marino is out to collect. Guerra does have a half-chance moments later, but his effort is straight into the arms of Valdes.

Plenty happening in the middle of the park at the moment as the challenges continue to arrive from both sides. The atmosphere inside the stadium is certainly raising the tempo on the field. Barcelona continue to dominate possession of the ball, but have been unable to create a clear opportunity thus far.

Manucho continues to look the most likely for the home side as the former Manchester United forward twice spins behind the Barca defence, but Valdes and Pique take it in turns to clear the danger. The home side have a free kick outside the box moments later following a rash challenge from Mascherano, but Rubio's delivery is headed behind by Pique. Danger for the Catalan outfit from a set piece.

CHANCE! The first real opportunity of the match comes to Barcelona as Messi carries possession some 30 yards before curling one towards the top corner, but Marino is on hand to make a fine save. That is more like it from the Argentine, who showed a blistering turn of pace against Pena.

Barcelona continue to force the issue in wide positions as Alves delivers a dangerous cross towards Neymar, but Valiente is on hand to clear the danger. Fabregas chips a fine pass towards Neymar moments later, but once more the danger is cleared. Just a few signs that the away side are starting to find their rhythm.

Half-chance for the home side as Rubio finds some space outside the box before sliding a low pass towards Guerra, but Pique is across to clear at the vital moment. The resulting set piece is delivered by Rossi, but Mascherano is on hand to clear, before Barcelona launch another counter attack down the other end.

The end-to-end period of the match continues with both sides committing numbers in the final third. Manucho and Guerra continue to occupy the two Barcelona centre-backs, which is stopping Alves and Adriano from bombing forward. Pique is called into action with 17 minutes on the clock to produce a fine block following a sweeping cross from Bergdich. Pulsating La Liga clash at the Zorrilla.

GOAL! Valladolid 1-0 Barcelona (Rossi)

Wow! Valladolid take the lead with 17 minutes on the clock as Rossi collects a loose ball inside the box before slotting his effort into the bottom corner. You cannot say that it had not been coming.

Barcelona are all over the place at the back at the moment with Guerra and Manucho causing all sorts of problems with their movement. There is not too much room in the middle of the park for the likes of Xavi and Fabregas, meanwhile, who have been unable to gain control of the possession in the opening 20 minutes.

Barcelona had problems on their travels against Real Sociedad last time out and it appears that is also the case this afternoon. It is far from Barca domination in terms of possession as Valladolid continue to squeeze in forward areas. Pena tries his luck from distance, but his effort was always moving wide of the post.

The referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments due to a number of late challenges, with Pique fortunate not to pick up a yellow card. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last two minutes, but Valladolid remain comfortable on their own patch.

The referee continues to take centre stage as both sides dive into a number of late challenges, which is only adding to the atmosphere inside the stadium. Barcelona just cannot deal with Guerra at the moment as the Spaniard turns on the edge of the box before gaining a free kick from Fabregas, who was extremely late.

The resulting free kick is taken by Rossi, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Well, almost 30 minutes into this La Liga encounter and Valladolid are extremely comfortable. Who would have predicted this?!

Half-chance for the away side as Fabregas finds some space outside the box before delivering towards Neymar, but the Brazilian cuts inside before firing his effort high and wide of the crossbar. Valladolid break down the other end with Bergdich, but his cross is straight into the arms of the waiting Valdes.

Barcelona force a free kick on the edge of the Valladolid box as Messi is felled by Mitrovic. The resulting set piece is taken by Messi, but his effort is straight into the arms of Marino, who hardly had to move. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining at the Zorrilla. Still Valladolid lead by the one goal.

Pedro remains the main outlet for the visitors as the Spaniard continues to threaten with his pace, but Neymar and Sanchez have both struggled thus far. Barca do force another set piece outside the Valladolid box through Messi, but the Argentine fires straight at Marino after combining with Xavi outside the area.

Another half-chance for the away side as Fabregas strikes one from outside the box, but it is another comfortable save for the Valladolid stopper. Not too much from the hosts in the last five minutes or so as Barca turn the screw in the latter stages of the half. The first period has just flown past.

Not too much to report in terms of opportunities in the last few moments, which will not worry the home side. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - will be vital. If Valladolid are to collect all the points, then surely they need to score another. Barcelona just have not been unable to get going in the opening 41 minutes. They are in desperate need of some inspiration.

Barcelona get themselves in a tangle once more as Bergdich's pace takes him beyond Pique before the attacker finds Manucho, but Adriano just does enough to clear the danger. The visitors break down the other end with Alves, but his cross is headed clear by Rukavina. End-to-end football with 43 minutes on the clock.

HALF TIME: Real Valladolid 1-0 Barcelona



So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Valladolid leading courtesy of that 17th-minute strike from Rossi, who latched onto a loose ball inside the box before finding the bottom corner. The majority of Barcelona's efforts have come from distance, however, with the champions struggling to find their tempo against a hardworking Valladolid outfit.

STATISTICS: The away side have had 68% of the ball in the first period, while they have had seven attempts to Valladolid's five. In truth, clear openings have been at a premium, but the hosts are worth their lead at the break. It has been a slow and untidy showing from Gerardo Martino's side thus far.

BENCH WATCH: Valladolid have a number of attacking options on their bench this afternoon in the shape of Baraja, Larsson, Osorio and Sastre. Meanwhile, Barcelona have the likes of Afellay, Sanchez and Tello in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

BENCH WATCH: Valladolid have a number of attacking options on their bench this afternoon in the shape of Baraja, Larsson, Osorio and Sastre. Meanwhile, Barcelona have the likes of Afellay, Sanchez and Tello in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. It seems unthinkable that Barcelona could drop points at Valladolid at this stage of the season, but that is the case at the moment. Can the champions respond? Barca get the second 45 minutes underway on this warm afternoon in Spain.

No changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. However, I suspect that both managers will consider alterations if the score remains level for the next 20 minutes or so. The following graphic was a regular feature in the first period, with Messi really struggling to keep the ball against a well-drilled and lively Valladolid side...



Half-chance for the away side as Adriano collects a loose ball outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Too often Barcelona have looked to find the back of the net from distance, when a pass might have been the better option. Moments later, Marino makes a fine save at his near post to deny Messi.

A poor clearance from Valdes almost puts his team in trouble, but luckily for the Barcelona goalkeeper, Guerra cannot collect at the first time of asking. Hardly time to take a breath at the moment as the match continues to flow from end-to-end with both sides continuing to dive into a number of late challenges.

Rossi enters the referee's book for Valladolid following a late challenge on Fabregas outside the box. Once more the resulting free kick is played short before Alves delivers, but Valiente is on hand to clear. The home side just cannot keep the ball at the moment as the pressure continues to arrive from the champions.

It is a simple attack versus defence exercise at the moment as Barcelona continue to deliver dangerous balls into the Valladolid box, but it just will not fall for the champions. The home supporters are doing their best to raise their side as Fabregas slices one wide of the post. Little over 30 minutes remaining.

We are getting to the stage of the match where both managers will be considering changes. A rare Valladolid attack in the second period brings a half-chance as Bergdich delivers a low cross towards Manucho, but the former Manchester United forward just slips at the vital moment. Moments later, Neymar fires high and wide of the crossbar after collecting a pass from Xavi just inside the Valladolid box.

The home side make their first change of the match and it is an enforced one as Valiente, who limps off, is replaced by Spanish midfielder Sastre. That will mean a shuffle in formation for the hosts. No movement on the Barcelona bench, but they have attacking options in the shape of Sanchez, Afellay and Tello.

As it stands, Valladolid would move out of the relegation zone, dropping Almeria into 18th in the process. Meanwhile, Barcelona would remain second in the table. The Catalan outfit make their first change of the match moments later as Sanchez replaces Fabregas, who has struggled to influence proceedings this afternoon.

It is a case of 'anywhere will do' for Valladolid at the moment as they continue to resist the pressure from the champions. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the home side have had just one attacking moment in the second period, with Barca utterly dominating. However, the only statistic that matters sees the home side lead with little under 25 minutes of football remaining.

Opportunity for Valladolid to threaten from a set piece as Pique handles just outside the box, picking up a yellow card in the process. Before the free kick is taken, Valladolid make their second change of the match as Oscar replaces Manucho, which is a surprise. Eventually Rossi strikes from distance, but his effort is wide of the post. Barcelona are running out of time here.

Of course there is still time for Barcelona to turn this match around, but is their title challenge over if they suffer defeat?! It would certainly place it into the hands of Real Madrid, who welcome Barcelona to the Bernabeu later this month. You just get the feeling that we have not seen the last of the goals here.

The referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments as the challenges continue to arrive from both sides, with Barcelona's frustration growing. Not too much to report in terms of chances, but the home side have managed to ease some of the pressure with a sustained period of possession.

The home side make their third and final change of the match as Rama replaces Bergdich, who has been brilliant. Moments later, Barcelona make their second with young Spanish midfielder Roberto entering in place of Pique, who has struggled following a period on the sidelines. That will mean Busquets dropping into the back four alongside Mascherano.

Third and final change for Barca as Tello replaces Neymar, who has been poor this afternoon there is no question about that. Time is running out for the Spanish champions. Those in Madrid will be watching and hoping that Valladolid can hold on. Little under 15 minutes of this Spanish clash remaining.

Pena becomes the second Valladolid player to enter the book following a poor challenge on Pedro in the middle of the park. The resulting free kick is worked short by Barca, but once more it comes to nothing with Rama on hand to clear the danger. Little over 10 minutes for the champions to turn this one around. It is time for someone to make themselves a hero at the Jose Zorrilla.

More frustration for Barcelona as Sanchez loses possession just inside the Valladolid box before fouling Pena in an attempt to regain the ball. Wonderful noise inside the stadium at the moment as the home supporters attempt to carry their team over the line. This would be the most remarkable result of the season.

CHANCES! The card count continues to rise as Rubio picks up a booking for handball just outside his own box. The resulting free kick is taken by Messi, but his effort is straight into the arms of Marino as another chance comes and goes. Down the other end, Rama finds Sastre inside the box, but the Spaniard can only turn his effort over the crossbar.

It just is not happening for Barcelona in the final third as Valladolid continue to deal with each long ball into the area. You just get the feeling that there is another goal in this match, but even a draw would not be much good for Barcelona at this stage of the season. Little over five minutes of action remaining.

Deafening noise inside the stadium at the moment as Valladolid camp on the edge of their own box. Guerra continues to lead the line in impressive fashion, but the striker has no support. This result would send shockwaves throughout Spain there is no question about that. However, there is still time for Barca.

The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional four minutes and we are indeed into the first of those. Is there time for Barcelona? As it stands, they have possession just inside the Valladolid half.

Another opportunity comes and goes for the visitors as a through pass from Pedro drifts out of play for a goal kick. Valladolid have been defensively sound this afternoon, but Barca have been extremely poor.

Anywhere will do for Valladolid as their defence continues to clear the danger. Sensational noise inside the stadium with the home supporters knowing that their side is almost there. Time is almost up at the Zorrilla.

FULL TIME: Valladolid 1-0 Barcelona

Incredible, just incredible. Valladolid hold on to secure a 1-0 win over the champions Barcelona. That result will please those in the capital. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us again later for Celta against Atletico. Until then!

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid5410157813
2Atletico MadridAtletico532074311
3Valencia5311104610
4Real Sociedad531164210
5Athletic Bilbao52304139
6Sevilla42205148
7Barcelona42208538
8Osasuna52216608
9Mallorca52213308
10Rayo Vallecano52128537
11Real Betis51316606
12ElcheElche51313306
13CadizCadiz512268-25
14Villarreal40402204
15Levante504167-14
16Espanyol503235-23
17Granada503238-53
18Celta Vigo5014410-61
19Getafe500518-70
20AlavesAlaves4004110-90

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