Defending champions slump to 0-1 loss to minnows Valladolid
Madrid: Barcelona slumped to their third defeat in seven league games as they lost away to relegation-threatened Valladolid 1-0 on Saturday. Italian Fausto Rossi scored the only goal of the game as he slammed home from close range after 17 minutes.
Barcelona's Leo Messi lines up for a free kick with Xavi Hernandez (right) against Valladolid. Pic/Getty Images.
Valladolid goalkeeper Diego Marino was forced into four saves by Lionel Messi, but it was Neymar who had the best chance to level when he ballooned over just before the hour mark. However, the Catalans couldn’t find a way through and could fall four points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid should Los Blancos beat Levante at home on Sunday. Victory for Valladolid also has significant consequences at the other end of the table as La Pucela move out of the relegation zone with just their fifth league win of the campaign.
Despite the majority of his squad having been away on international duty in midweek, Barca boss Gerardo Martino named almost his strongest starting line-up with only Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta missing out. However, after Messi had forced Marino into an early save at the end of a swift counter-attack, it was Valladolid who had the upper hand in the opening half hour.
Rossi opened the scoring with his first goal for Valladolid as he took advantage of a ricochet off two Barca defenders inside the area to fire past Victor Valdes. Barca reacted as the first-half drew to a close and Marino had to be alive to deny Messi twice from range before Cesc Fabregas also tested the ’keeper.
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