Sergiño Dest filled in for Barcelona legend Dani Alvez for the final minutes of their huge win while Yunus Musah earned the start for Valencia in their tough home draw against Real Sociedad
FC Valencia 0 – 0 Real Sociedad
Yunus Musah survived his experience stateside and the trip back across the Atlantic, earning the start for Valencia to help them battle to a tough, scoreless draw against Real Sociedad on Sunday.
In perhaps a bit of a surprise, the budding American star was directly inserted into Valencia’s starting lineup by head coach José Bordalás, barely four days after returning to Spain from USMNT duty.
The 19 year-old played on the right side of a three-man midfield, putting in an effective 80-minute shift, with 30 total touches, a pair of crosses sent into the area and one shot.
His lone attempt on goal came in the 12th minute when he connected with a cross by José Gayà, sending his attempt wide-right. He in turn played provider for Gayà eight minutes later, however his teammate’s shot was also wide of the mark.
Even though the visitors dominated possession, holding the ball 60% of the time, Valencia were able to create more chances, although were unable to convert any of their 14 shots.
In the end, the teams settled for a point apiece, a minor disappointment for both, even if a justified result.
The result sees Valencia fall to 11th in the La Liga standings, with a three-day break before they are back on the field at Athletic Bilbao for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday.
FC Barcelona 4 – 2 Atletico Madrid
Sergiño Dest came off the bench for Barcelona in their convincing and critical win over Atletico Madrid, covering for Dani Alves after the Brazilian legend capped off a spectacular performance with an unspectacular red card.
Atletico was first on the board in the eighth minute when Yannick Carrasco easily put away a cross from Luis Suarez, however the game was all-Barcelona after that initial hit.
Jordi Alba pulled the Blaugrana even two minutes later, volleying an Alves cross from the left corner of the area, then they pulled ahead in the 21st thanks to a leaping header from Gavi.
Now with the taste of blood in their mouths, they bit harder on their prey, with an Alves free kick from distance leading to disarray in the box, which ended with Ronald Araujo opportunistically finishing from five yards out.
Still not finished with the carnage, Alves netted his own four minutes after the half, sneaking in at the top of the box and whomping the ball from 18 yards out for the commanding 4-1 lead.
Atletico pulled one back in the 58th minute after Suarez headed into an open net following a corner, and thought they had a distant lifeline ten minutes later when star-of-the-evening Alves was sent off for an idiotic stomp on Carrasco.
Dest immediately came into the game in place of Gavi to cover the right side of the defense, a role he will likely keep next Sunday in the Barcelona derby, and did what was needed to help the hosts lock down the convincing win.
The victory is an important for the Blaugrana, as it leapfrogs them past Atletico into fourth place. They have a week off before taking the field on Sunday against 13th-place Espanyol, in a derby game that will surely be much trickier than it looks on paper.
Matt Miazga was an unused substitute on Friday in the 3-0 loss by Alaves at Elche. Alaves fall deeper into the hole, in 19th place, now with a six-point gap to safety.
Matthew Hoppe didn’t make it off of the Mallorca bench on Saturday in their important 2-1 home win over Cadiz. The result gives them a five-point distance to the relegation places, with their next outing on Valentine’s day at home against Athletic Bilbao.
Jonathan Gomez was an unused substitute for Real Sociedad B on Saturday evening as they battled back for a 1-1 draw at home against CD Lugo. Gomez will have his next chance to debut for his Spanish team when they are back in La Liga 2 action on Sunday against SD Ponferradina.
Shaq Moore was an unused substitute in Tenefife’s disappointing scoreless draw at home against CD Leganes on Sunday night.