Sergiño Dest earned his first La Liga start since February in an unexpected Barcelona loss to Cadiz while Jonathan Gomez was deployed in a more offensive role for Real Sociedad B in Monday night action in Spain.
Barcelona 0 – 1 Cadiz
After returning to the field as a second-half substitute in Barcelona’s Europa League defeat last week, Sergiño Dest was in the team’s starting lineup on Monday night, putting in a solid shift despite the surprise loss to relegation-threatened Cadiz.
Xavi’s squad was dominant on the field in every category except the one that matters – putting goals in the opposing net – with 75% of possession, an 18-6 advantage on total shots, and more than four times as many completed passes as Cadiz.
From his role on the right side of the defense, Dest had similarly gaudy numbers in his 89 minutes on the field, completing a remarkable 72 of 75 passes amongst 90 total touches, making nine recoveries, winning five of eight duels and earning a yellow card.
Ousmane Dembélé was a force for the hosts, by himself out-shooting the opposition, and having a number of close calls that could have turned the game. He already forced Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma into a save in the fourth minute, which Feran Torres almost put away on the rebound, and was also in perfect position shortly before the half to give the hosts the lead, but couldn’t get enough power behind his shot to beat the opposition.
Much to Barcelona’s surprise, Cadiz scored what would be the only goal of the game three minutes after the restart. Marc-Andre ter Stegen clawed away Ruben Sobrino’s point-blank header as well as his immediately follow-up in impressive fashion
However, the second block simply dropped the ball at the foot of Lucas Pérez, who opportunistically side-footed it over the line from one yard for the 1-0 lead.
Dest nearly triggered an equalizer moments later, dribbling into the right of the area, and laying the ball off to Frenkie de Jong, who immediately tapped it back to Dembélé for an 18-yard rocket that flew just wide right.
The story was largely the same from that point on until the final whistle, with Barcelona practically camped out in the Cadiz half of the field and creating chance after chance, however always failing to beat Ledesma with the final ball.
In the end, Cadiz remarkably held on for the three points. The result does leave Barcelona in second place, still even with Sevilla and Atletico on points, but beating both in head-to-head, and also having a game in hand. They will already be back on the field on Thursday, visiting Real Sociedad in midweek action.
Girona 2 – 0 Real Sociedad B
Jonathan Gomez put in a full shift for Real Sociedad B on Monday night, picking up a yellow card in their 2-0 road loss at Girona.
The American kept his spot in the team’s starting lineup, however with head coach Xabi Alonso opting for a back-three, he was deployed in a more advanced role on the left of a four-man midfield. Over the course of the full game, he had 37 total ball contacts, completed 17 of 19 passes, won two tackles and four of five duels on the defensive end.
All of the action was saved for the second half, with Girona getting on the board three minutes past the hour when Cristhian Stuani struck from the spot after being taken down in the area.
The visitors still stayed within striking distance as full-time approached, but were forced to pick the ball out of their net a second time in the 84th minute. Arnau Martinez lost Gomez to break free while storming up his right flank, worked towards the middle, and slid a pass to Nahuel Lautaro Bustos just to the left of the penalty spot, for an ice-cold finish to the near post.
The loss leaves Gomez and his teammates now with a ten-point deficit below the surface and only six game remaining, making relegation all but certain. They return to the field on Sunday when they host Amorebieta.
Yunus Musah is out with a groin injury and missed Valencia’s 2-1 home loss against visiting Osasuna on Saturday.
Matthew Hoppe didn’t make it off the bench for Mallorca on Saturday in their 3-0 road loss at FC Elche. With Cadiz beating Barcelona, they drop into the relegation places.
Matt Miazga was on the bench for Alaves as they slightly improved their dim hopes for survival with a 1-0 home win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
Samuel Shashoua played the the final 12 minutes of regulation as a substitute while Shaq Moore never left the bench in Tenerife’s 3-1 win over visiting Fuenlabrada on Sunday. With six games left in the regular season, the team is firmly entrenched in the playoff spots, and will host ninth-place Huesca on Sunday.