LaLiga: Why Barcelona played 1-0 against Real Valladolid - Ernesto Valverde

Valverde ¿Miedo al Madrid? No tenemos miedo por ir los primeros

Valverde ¿Miedo al Madrid? No tenemos miedo por ir los primeros

With Barcelona facing Lyon in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, manager Ernesto Valverde opted to have Suarez and Ivan Rakitic among the substitutes, with former Tottenham and Portsmouth man Kevin-Prince Boateng starting.

It was won by Gerard Pique just before halftime, for Messi's 22nd league goal of the season.

Sergi Guardiola dragged a shot wide as Valladolid continued to acquit themselves well in the second half, although they were indebted to a stunning reaction save from Masip as he denied Messi on the half-volley.

Only Masip prevented Messi from adding to his tally and the goalkeeper completed an impressive homecoming display with a fine save from substitute Suarez at the end.

#5 Real Valladolid come out with one intention, sneak a point Messi was dispossessed seven times by the defence, the most for any player in the game.

This was certainly not the performance Valverde will have wanted in the week he signed a surprise contract renewal at Camp Nou.

Real Valladolid heads to Camp Nou to face Barcelona in a La Liga matchup on Saturday.

Masip brilliantly tipped over a Messi volley soon after the interval and Luis Suarez wasted a huge opportunity to double the lead shortly after replacing Kevin-Prince Boateng with an hour gone. "He's very important for us", Atletico coach Diego Simeone said.

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Barcelona - Ter Stegen 5, Alba 6, Pique 7, Vermaelen 7, Roberto 6, Busquets 6, Alena 8, Vidal 6, Messi 5, Dembele 7, Boateng.

Real Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip: "Bittersweet feelings". Subs - Keko 5, Villa 3, Plaza 5.

Yet Barcelona kept plugging away and minutes before halftime a tug from behind by Michel on Pique sent the centre-back to the ground and referee Martinez Munuera pointed to the spot.

Whilst Barca's busy upcoming schedule justifies Valverde's rotation to a degree, the changes also took away a significant amount of the champions' trademark cohesion and seamless style of attacking play.

The forward went the same way, towards the bottom right corner, but this time Masip got there and repelled his strike. Masip keeps the scoreline at just 1-0.

53' Big chance for Messi! . However, Masip comes off his line to save and then saves from Messi as well. We've seen the Barcelona number 10 miss from the spot before, and he has missed here.

The Ghanaian Black Star midfielder discovered the break-in when he returned home after the match which ended 1-0 in favor of Barcelona as Lionel Messi scored the goal.

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