Sergiño Dest and Barcelona easily won their lopsided battle at Valencia, while Matt Miazga and Alaves put up a valiant fight against Real Madrid before predictably falling well short thanks to a late surge from the likely champions.
FC Valencia 1 – 4 FC Barcelona
Sergiño Dest put in a solid 90-minute shift for Barcelona on Sunday, manning the right side of the defense, as they were impolite guests in their lopsided win at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium.
Over the course of the game, Dest had 66 total touches, completing close to 90% of his 36 attempted passes, while drawing post-game praise from Barcelona head coach Xavi.
Yunus Musah was in uniform for Valenca, but was not called into action as any of their five substitutes in the blow-out loss.
The Blaugrana effectively put the game out of reach before the intermission, scoring a flurry of goals in a 15-minute space of time beginning at the midway point of the half.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring – and his Barcelona account – in the 23rd minute with his first of three goals in the game. Jordi Alba lofted a long ball over the defense, triggering an Aubameyang run into the area, where he smashed his shot from the right side to the near post.
Two minutes past the half-hour, Frenke de Jong made it 2-0, timing his run into the six-yard box perfectly to connect with a short cross from Ousmane Dembélé, poking it over the line under heavy pressure from Mouctar Diakhaby.
Aubameyang then brought the lead to 3-0 in the 38th minute to cap off a solid team effort, with Gavi providing the final pass from the right side for an effortless finish to redirect over the goal-line.
Valencia did pull one back seven minutes after the restart, with Carlos Soler heading in a fantastic, pinpoint cross that Bryan hit from the left flank, however it was too little, too late, with the visitors striking a fourth goal nine minutes later.
While the official scoresheet will credit Aubameyang with the score, thanks to an ever-so-slight deflection off his backside, the catalyst was Pedri, who struck a 27-yard laser from seemingly out of nowhere which eventually flew in near the upper right corner of goal.
The victory keeps Dest and Barcelona in La Liga’s fourth Champions League spot, even on points with Atletico Madrid but ahead on tie-breakers. They travel to Napoli on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League knockout contest, then host Athletic Bilbao three days later.
Dest was kept as a substitute in the first leg against Napoli, however his coach’s post-game praise could see him retain the starting spot.
Real Madrid 3 – 0 Alaves
Matt Miazga got the nod for Alaves on Saturday in place of suspended starter Victor Laguardia, playing the full 90 minutes in their unsurprising shut-out loss to Real Madrid.
The current first-place team in La Liga dominated from start to finish, and in every category, however were held scoreless over the first hour, thanks to the gutsy play by Miazga and the rest of his teammates.
For his contribution, the American blocked two shots, had a total of five clearances and intercepted a pair of passes by the opposition.
Nevertheless, the dam finally broke three minutes past the hour, allowing the hosts to pile on a trio of goals before the final whistle.
A wonder strike by Asensio in the 63rd minute from the upper right corner of the area set the tone, then the team kept up the pressure until they were able to add another late pair.
Karim Benzema played a quick give-and-go with Asensio to spring into the right side of the area, then laid off a cross towards the center, where Vinicius Junior was free for a seemingly effortless tap-in.
Benzema then scored their third and final goal in the 91st, nailing a spot kick low and to the right of goal after Miazga’s defensive partner Florian Lejeun toppled Rodrygo on a run in the area.
The loss drops Alaves further in the hole, where they are currently four points below the surface. They will be under pressure to get a result when they visit 15th-place Getafe on Saturday.
Real Sociedad B 2 – 0 FC Malaga
Jonathan Gomez continued his upward rise at Real Sociedad B on Saturday, starting and playing the full 90 minutes for Real Sociedad B at left back in their shut-out victory over Malaga.
Xabi Alonso’s squad scored one goal on either side of the half, with the first coming in the 35th minute.
In the 35th minute, Xeber Alkain received the ball as he worked his way towards the endline to the left of goal, and passed it back to the edge of the six-yard box with his first touch. Jon Karrikaburu took a couple touches to control the pass, then lifted a shot beyond the Malaga keeper’s reach that hit in far upper corner of the back-netting for 1-0.
Then, in the 52nd minute, Robert Navarro beat his defender on the left before picking out Roberto López, who had quietly snuck to the edge of the area with no defender in the vicinity. López lashed the ball with his first touch to the left side, just inside the upright, doubling the advantage.
Alonso’s squad are still second-bottom in the division, with a weeklong break until the face Real Oviedo on Sunday.
Matthew Hoppe stayed glued to Mallorca’s bench on Sunday in their 2-1 road loss to Real Betis.
Shaq Moore was not called into action for Tenerife in their 2-0 home victory over Ibiza. Samuel Shashoua was a garbage-time sub for the hosts, coming onto the field in the 88th minute.