Home Sports Soccer News Lionel Messi scores as Barcelona win 1 – 0

Lionel Messi scores as Barcelona win 1 – 0

Barcelona

Messi scored his 30th goal of 2018-19 when he converted his first spot-kick after Michel had fouled Gerard Pique. Lionel Messi scored one penalty and missed another as Barcelona beat Real Valladolid to move seven points clear at the top of La Liga.

Barcelona were awarded a second penalty when substitute Philippe Coutinho was brought down by Kiko Olivas, but this time Jordi Masip saved Messi’s strike.

Masip also made a number of saves to repeatedly deny Luis Suarez and Messi. The result leaves Barcelona seven points clear of Atletico Madrid, who won 1-0 at Rayo Vallecano earlier on Saturday.

Barcelona

Real Madrid are third, two points behind Atletico, and play their game in hand on Sunday when they entertain Girona at 11:00 GMT.

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.

Boateng had a low shot saved by Masip, who was with Barcelona from 2008 to 2017, but the visitors themselves wasted a glorious chance when they failed to convert a four-on-two counter-attack with Nacho overhitting the cross.

Within a minute of that Valladolid chance, Barcelona were ahead. Pique, playing his 300th La Liga match for the club, burst into the penalty area, Michel had his arms on his shoulders and Messi stepped up to convert the resulting penalty.

Sergi Guardiola, a player sacked by Barcelona in 2015 within a day of joining them after historical tweets critical of the team and the region were discovered, was part of the Valladolid side and had a chance early in the second half, but shot narrowly wide from 25 yards out.

But the hosts continued to produce good chances as Masip made a brilliant save to keep out Messi’s volley and then denied substitute Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

A quick passing move involving Suarez and Coutinho saw the latter brought down for Barcelona’s second penalty, but Masip pushed away Messi’s effort, which had been placed in the same position as the first.

Masip kept his side in it with another excellent save to deny Suarez, with Messi also shooting narrowly off target. However, despite a good performance from the visitors, they could not force an equaliser and they are now 15th, three points above the relegation zone.

‘We have not played well’ – what they said

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique: “The only good news is the win, we have not played well. It’s important to keep picking up the three points, but we have not played well and the feelings on the pitch were not positive.

“We struggled against them, we were not moving the ball quick enough and if not we suffer.”

Real Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip: “Bittersweet feelings. We had chances to get a draw and we need to be proud. We knew they would have chances of getting behind the defence.

“I managed to guess which way Messi was going to shoot (for the second penalty). “We need to pick up some points and get away from the relegation zone and be a bit more secure.”

Source: BBC News