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Barça have managed to get through another tough fixture with three points, a first half goal from Arturo Vidal making all the difference against Valladolid on Saturday afternoon. But the frustrating thing is that as long as Real Madrid keep winning, there is nothing the blaugrana can do other than keep doing what they did today. Win the two games they have left and hope that Granada, Villarreal and Leganés can take points off the leaders in the games that remain.
Vidal on target
Barça started with intention, getting the ball into the danger area time and time again and being rewarded on the quarter hour when Vidal slammed one in off the post from the edge of the area. That was his eighth Liga goal of the season.
And the man supplying the assist was Leo Messi. His twentieth of the season, thus equalling Xavi’s club record set just over a decade ago.
The game was all about Barça. Nelson Semedo and Riqui Puig came close to adding a second, but it was Antoine Griezmann who had the best chance of all. The ball landed at the Frenchman’s feet right in front of goal, but it caught him by surprise and he failed to connect.
However, despite Barça’s supreme control, had not been for a similar error at the other end of the pitch the teams could have been level at half-time. Kike Pérez was through, but slipped before delivering the killer blow. A let-off for Barça.
On a knife-edge
We’d seen very little of Valladolid in the first 45 minutes, but Barça didn’t have things all their own way after the restart. Pérez continued to cause danger and Ter Stegen, barely involved in the first half, was now a much busier man.
The home side are reasonably safe from relegation, but are clearly very keen to get the points to be sure of it. They were throwing a lot of energy into the game, and unless Barça could score again, victory was no certainty.
As the minutes ticked by, almost all the chances were for Valladolid. Few of those included any very real danger, and Ter Stegen did a fine job of lapping up any balls that did get through... and so a tense game ended with Barça’s title dreams still intact, but depending on results elsewhere going the right way.
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