Sergiño Dest put in a strong shift at left back for Barcelona in their critical win over Bilbao while Jonathan Gomez maintained his starting spot for Xabi Alonso in Real Sociedad B’s victory.
FC Barcelona 4 – 0 Athletic Bilbao
With Jordi Alba suspended, Sergiño Dest shifted to the left side of Barcelona’s defense, and put in a solid shift in helping them to a dominant shut-out performance against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Any questions regarding Dest’s role in Barcelona’s starting eleven after the return of Dani Alves from suspension were put off for another week, as head coach Xavi opted to use him as cover for suspended Jordi Alba at left back.
With Barcelona dominating from start to finish, Dest was heavily involved in the overall run of play, having 124 touches, attempting one shot, and completing a gaudy 84 of 88 attempted passes for a 95% completion rage.
Barcelona needed 37 minutes to get onto the scoreboard, but it was worth the wait. After Bilbao keeper Unai Simon did amazing work to deflect headed attempt following a corner, the ball landed near Pierre-Emerick AAubameyang just outside of the six-yard box. Without hesitation, he awkwardly positioned himself to volley a shot behind the back of his marking defender and just inside the right post for the 1-0 lead.
Bilbao did well to stem the tide for some time, but the flood gates came loose in the final 20 minutes.
In the 72nd, Ousmane Dembélé received a long pass from Frenkie de Jong near the upper left corner of the 18-yard box, advanced towards the endline inside the area and unleashed a high shot to the near post that left Unai Simon no chance.
Then with three minutes left in regulation, Dembélé turned provider, sending a cross from the right towards the center of the area that Luuk de Jong rose high to head in for the 3-0 advantage.
Finally, in the third minute of added time, Dembélé again was the trigger-man in similar fashion, whipping in a cross from nearly the same spot that Memphis Depay put over the line with a lunging shot.
The victory brings Barcelona to within one point of third-place Betis. They have a week break until they visit Elche on Sunday.
RCD Mallorca 0 – 1 FC Valencia
Yunus Musah returned to Valencia’s starting lineup on Saturday for their narrow victory over Mallorca, playing the first 78 minutes before making way for Helder Costa.
Matthew Hoppe was in uniform for Mallorca, but was not called into action over the course of the 90 minutes.
The game was essentially won within the opening minutes. A headed clearance from the Mallorca area landed at the foot of Gabriel Paulista more than 30 yards from goal.
The Brazilian central defender showed no hesitation whatsoever before utterly whomping the ball towards the upper right corner, where it hit the aluminium and dropped over the line for what would be the winning goal.
Positioned on the right side of a four-man midfield, Musah put in a good performance, even if the team struggled to create chances after the goal. He won 11 of his 15 duels, completed 18 of 26 passes amidst 50 total touches, and won all three of his attempted tackles.
In the end, the only action of note following the goal was the late sending off of on-loan RB Leipzig midfielder Ilaix Moriba, who managed to collect two yellow cards in his 31-minute substitute appearance.
Valencia climb to ninth in La Liga standings with the victory. They have a short rest before returning to action on Wednesday night for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal against Athletic Bilbao.
Mallorca remain in 16th place, with some distance ahead of the relegation places but plenty of work left to do in order to secure their survival. They also return to action quickly, with a Wednesday evening La Liga contest against Real Sociedad.
Real Oviedo 0 – 1 Real Sociedad B
Jonathan Gomez earned a second straight start for Real Sociedad B head coach Xabi Alonso on Saturday, lining up as left wingback in their narrow 1-0 victory at Real Oviedo in La Liga B action.
Gomes played the full 90 minutes in the defense, completing 61% of his 23 passes, winning only three of his nine duels against opposing players, while intercepting one pass and making a pair of clearances.
The game was ultimately decided in the final moments, after Real Oviedo’s Carlos Isaac earned a second yellow card in the 86th minute for tripping up German Valera as he charged towards goal. Valera took the spot kick himself sending the keeper the wrong way as he nailed his attempt to the lower right.
The hosts were handed a lifeline moments later when Gomez was judged to have brushed the ball with his upper arm while attempting to leap for a clearance. Fortunately for the once-capped USMNT player, Borja Baston attempt to the lower right corner was saved by Andoni Zubiaurre, preserving the victory.
The team still remains entrenched deep within the relegation places after the win, a full six points below the surface. They will continue their difficult fight for survival in La Liga 2 on Sunday when they host Sporting Gijon.
Matt Miazga was in uniform for Alaves on Saturday afternoon, but was not called into action for their 2-2 draw at Getafe.
Samuel Shashoua was a halftime sub for Tenerife on Saturday while Shaq Moore was not called into action for their 2-1 loss on the road to Mirandes. Shashoua had one shot on-target amidst his 34 total touches. Tenerife are still well within the promotion playoff places, however face a widening gap to the top two spots that secure automatic placement in La Liga next season.