Valladolid, a relegation-threatened team, delivered a stunning blow to La Liga champions Barcelona as they secured a crucial 3-1 victory, taking a significant step towards avoiding relegation.
Ronaldo Nazario, the club owner, witnessed his team’s outstanding performance from the directors’ box, allowing them to climb out of the bottom three with only two games remaining.
Barcelona endured a challenging evening, with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen conceding two of the three goals in the first half.
Ter Stegen, who had been the most resilient goalkeeper in Spain this season, has now allowed six goals in his last three matches.
Xavi, the Barcelona manager, made changes in the second half, replacing Ter Stegen with Iñaki Peña, as the team sought to turn the tide.
Valladolid seized the initiative after just two minutes when Andreas Christensen inadvertently headed a cross from Darwin Machis into his own net.
Barcelona’s situation worsened when Eric Garcia fouled Gonzalo Plata, leading to a penalty that Kyle Larin confidently converted. Larin, the Canadian international who joined the club in January, has now scored eight goals since his arrival.
Jordi Masip, Valladolid’s goalkeeper, displayed excellent skills throughout the first half, making three impressive saves.
His most notable stop came from a header by Christensen, who was attempting to make amends for his own goal.
In the second half, Valladolid threatened to extend their lead on several occasions, with Larin and substitute Lucas Rosa both hitting the woodwork.
Eventually, Valladolid sealed their victory through a swift counter-attack. Larin sprinted down the right flank and provided a precise cross for Plata, who scored his first goal of the season.
Although Plata refrained from celebrating due to an offside flag, it was revealed that Eric Garcia had played Valladolid players onside on the near side, leading to the goal being awarded.
With the match seemingly beyond reach, Barcelona managed to find a consolation goal. Frenkie de Jong’s well-placed through ball released Robert Lewandowski, LaLiga’s top scorer, who was pushed wide by Masip. Despite the tight angle, Lewandowski skillfully found the net, making it 3-1.
Valladolid will now hope that their relegation rivals, Getafe and Cadiz, stumble in their respective matches on Wednesday night.
If so, Valladolid will enter the final two fixtures outside of the relegation zone. Their impressive performance under Ronaldo’s ownership provides optimism that the club will successfully secure survival in the league.