Sergiño Dest continued his fine form in Barcelona’s crucial victory over Yunus Musah and Valencia while Matt Miazga and Alaves had their hearts broken in a last-second loss to Real Betis.
FC Barcelona 3 – 1 FC Valencia
Barcelona look to have rounded a corner after their straightforward win against FC Valencia, with Sergiño Dest showing his best footwork to set up their final goal.
Yunus Musah also made a quick turnaround after starting all three games for the USA in the days prior, playing the final 15 minutes of the game as a late substitute.
The game got off to a nightmare start for the Blaugrana, after a poorly cleared corner slowly rolled to the foot of Valencia defender José Gayà outside of the box, where he emphatically thumped his shot past the reach of keeper Marc-André ter Stegen for the fourth-minute lead.
Barcelona needed a mere nine minutes to even the score, with 18 year-old phenom Ansu Fati playing a quick give-and-go with Memphis Depay while working his way in from the left flank, and placing his shot to the lower right corner for 1-1.
The hosts then took the lead from the spot, as Fati was upended directly in front of goal by Gayà in the 39th minute, with Depay striking a perfect blast from the spot to the upper right corner.
Musah was called into action with 15 minutes left on the clock, but was unable to help his team turn the tide, and must take some of the blame for Barcelona’s final goal with five minutes remaining.
Dest did most of the work, receiving a pass into the area from Depay, then proceeding to make a gaggle of Valencia defenders look like recreation-league amateurs as he maintained possession while weaving into position for a pass to the middle.
Perhaps mesmerized by his international teammate’s fancy footwork, Musah lost track of his man Philippe Coutinho, who calmly walked inside the six-yard box unmarked, and easily put away Dest’s cross for the final 3-1 scoreline.
The result sees Barcelona climb to seventh place now easily within shooting distance of the top four. They will try to carry the momentum into their Wednesday evening Champions League matchup against visiting Dynamo Kiev.
Valencia fall to tenth place on 12 points, and will have more time to rest before their next outing, a home game against Mallorca on Saturday.
Deportivo Alaves 0 – 1 Real Betis
Matt Miazga and Alaves looked to have locked down another unexpected scoreless draw against a tough opponent on Monday evening, however a late defensive lapse opened the door for a winner heartbreaking winner by Real Betis.
Alaves did well to limit their opponent to just four shots on target despite having nearly two-thirds of possession, and nearly jumped head just before the hour mark when Miguel De la Fuente’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar.
Nevertheless, the visitors secured all the points in the final two minutes of regulation, with their constant pressure on the Alaves goal paying off.
Nabil Fekir picked up a deflected ball at the upper left corner of the area and adeptly fed team captain Joaquin on a run towards goal. Rather than turn inside, he hit a centering pass to the edge of the six-yard box where the onrushing Borja Iglesias could easily put away from close range for the winner.
The disappointing result leaves Alaves in 19th place on three points, slowly falling deeper into the relegation hole. They will have a solid chance to pick up points on Saturday when they visit Cadiz.
UD Las Palmas 2 – 1 CD Tenerife
Shaq Moore earned a start for Tenerife after his return from national team duty, as the team fell by a 2-1 margin on the road to UD Las Palmas.
Moore went the distance in the loss, earning a yellow late in the second half while playing on the right side of the defense.
The hosts took the lead after 26 minutes after Jonathan Viera was sent through the defense, and beat the Tenerife keeper in the one-on-one with a low shot to the left corner.
Elady tied it up for the visitors in the 65th minute with an impressive set piece from 25 yards out that took a slight deflection of the defensive wall. However the hosts netted the last-second winner in the 92nd minute when Alvaro Lemos attempted what looked to be a cross from outside the area, which took a slight deflection, before confusing everybody inside the area and bouncing in at the far post.
The loss leave Tenerife in sixth place, with a Tuesday evening visit from SD Eibar on the horizon.
Matthew Hoppe was not in uniform for Mallorca on Saturday for their 1-0 road loss at Real Sociedad.