Spanish Recap: Dest and Barcelona back on track against Levante

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Matt Miazga helped the Alaves defense lock down Atletico Madrid’s attack to score a major upset, while Yunus Musah earned his first start of the season in Valencia’s draw against Bilbao.

Alaves 1 – 0 Atletico Madrid

Matt Miazga and Alaves earned their first win of the season in style, knocking off title contenders Atletico Madrid in a tight, defensive contest on Saturday.

The game was already decided within the first five minutes, as a momentary defensive lapse by the visitors gave Alaves the opening they needed for the upset.

Rubén Duarte delivered an inswinging corner from the right side to the far upper edge of the six-yard box, where team captain Victor Laguardia broke into open space for a lunging header that left Atletico keeper Jan Oblak no chance.

The visitors still dominated following the fourth-minute setback, enjoying an impressive 71% of possession and constantly threatening their hosts with an array of dangerous chances.

Nevertheless, the Alaves defense put on a heroic performance to shut down their opponents for the final 86 minutes, sending Diego Simeone’s men to their first defeat in any competition since late-April.

The first points of the season for Alaves still leaves them in the relegation zone at second-bottom. They will need another strong performance if they hope to get a result from their next outing on Friday evening, a daunting visit to seventh-place Bilbao.

FC Valencia 1 – 1 Athletic Bilbao

Yunus Musah was in Valencia’s starting lineup on Saturday, playing 83 minutes as the team secured a thrilling last-second draw after being reduced to ten men.

A defense-dominated affair saw the visitors make the first real breakthrough in the 69th minute, with Inigo Martinez leaping high to put away a corner from Alex Berenguer.

Valencia looked to be headed for a loss when Maxi Gomez received his second yellow card of the game in the 82nd minute for a bad foul on Berenguer. Musah, who had painfully gone down to the turf in a tangle during the run of play moments before the infraction, left the field under his own power moments later in favor of Jason.

Despite being undermanned, Valencia still pressed hard for an equalizing goal, and were rewarded for their tenacity in the final moments of seven minutes of added time.

A well-placed lob into the left of the area by Hugo Guillamón found Gonçalo Guedes. The Portuguese international centered the ball on his first touch, laying off a perfect pass to Marcos André for a six-yard finish.

The point leaves Valencia in fifth place, well within striking distance of the top four. They will next face midtable Cadiz on Saturday afternoon.

FC Barcelona 3 – 0 UD Levante

Sergiño dest was once again deployed at left back for Barcelona in their home matchup against Levante on Sunday afternoon, putting on perhaps his best performance of the season to help the team earn all three points.

Faced with a team that could be considered as cannon fodder, Barcelona looked back to their dominant selves from the get-go, jumping to a two-goal lead within the quarter-hour.

At the five-minute mark, summer arrival Memphis Depay took a throw-in from Dest and wove into the left side of the area looking for a line on goal. Before he could create any space, he was toppled by Nemanja Radoja, and calmly converted the spot kick with an ice-cold finish to the left.

Dest was perhaps the catalyst as Barcelona made it 2-0 in the 14th minute, receiving a pass from Depay on the left flank and working his way forward before taking a quick cut to the middle to lose his defender. This created enough of a diversion to allow Luuk de Jong to break free in the middle, where he ran onto a perfectly weighted pass from his American colleague and struck it low on the first touch to double the lead.

Levante did well to lock down the defense and prevent their hosts from turning the early deficit into a complete blow-out, although they never really showed any threat of mounting a comeback.

With the result already confirmed, the final moments saw a display that could only give the Barcelona faithful some hope that their season is perhaps on an upward swing.

18 year-old phenom and great hope Ansu Fati, who has missed the last nine months with a knee injury, returned to the pitch to great aplomb in the 81st minute, and made the score 3-0 moments into injury time.

Receiving the ball under pressure in the midfield, the apparent Messi-heir made a nice spin to lose two defenders and worked his way forward to the edge of the 18-yard box, before placing his low shot to the left of goal to complete his comeback and the 3-0 win.

With the victory, Barcelona climb to sixth place on 12 points, although with a game in hand in comparison to most of the teams ahead in the table.

They face a tough trip to Benfica on Wednesday in the Champions League before resuming their la Liga season on Saturday at Atletico Madrid.


Matthew Hoppe was an unused substitute for Mallorca on Sunday as they blew a chance to climb the la Liga table, allowing visiting Osasuna to come back to notch a 3-2 win. Hoppe will have his next chance to see time on the field before a potential USA call-up when the team hosts UD Levante on Saturday.

Shaq Moore was an unused substitute for Tenerife on Friday evening in their 3-1 road loss at UD Almeria. They will be back on the road again with a visit to Huesca on Sunday.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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