Spanish Recap: Dest Helps Barca Lock Down Road Victory

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Sergiño Dest did his part to help Barcelona keep their grip on the race for La Liga’s best-of-the-rest award, while Yunus Musah and Valencia put in a lackluster performance ahead of their upcoming Cup final.

Real Sociedad 0 – 1 FC Barcelona

Sergiño Dest put in a solid performance as a second-half substitute to help Barcelona lock down a narrow win over Real Sociedad on Thursday night.

The American played from the 66th minute onwards, including an exhausting ten minutes of added time, competing 19 of his 22 pass attempts, having 29 total touches, winning all three of his duels, and hitting two of his three long-ball attempts.

The Blaugrana netted the lone goal of the game early in the first half, with winter arrival Pierre Emerick Aubameyang doing the honors. An attempt from Ousmane Dembélé left the defense off-balance, allowing Ferran Torres to break free on the right edge of the six-yard box.

Gavi’s resilience in the following moments perhaps made him the the true catalyst of the winner, scraping himself off the turf directly in front of goal to track back and claim the ball at the edge of the area. He quickly lobbed a cross to the wide-open Torres, who took a touch before lofting a cross to the far post where Aubameyang leapt to put a schoolbook header into the open net.

Barcelona were far from dominant in the game, with their hosts holding 56% of possession, although failing to convert any of their chances.

Dani Alves, Xavi’s preferred starter at right back in La Liga play, was forced out of the game after a hard challenge by fellow Brazilian Rafinha in the 64th minute, with his understudy Dest taking over for the remainder of the game.

The victory allows Barcelona to remain in second place, even on points with Sevilla but with the edge on tiebreakers. They do have a game in hand compared to the rest of their immediate competitors, which they will play on Sunday night against visiting Rayo Vallecano.

Villarreal 2 – 0 Valencia

Yunus Musah earned the start in Valencia’s midfield, putting in a 55-minute shift in their shut-out loss at Villarreal on Tuesday.

The USMNT starter manned the right side of Pepe Bordalas’s five-man midfield, completing 15 of his 19 pass attempts, having 38 total touches, and winning half of his ten duels.

The hosts did all the damage they needed within the first 20 minutes, then locked down their visitors with generally stifling performance over the last hour to secure the victory.

The opening goal came after ten minutes, after a moment of confusion between Musah and Rubén Iranzo on a dispossessed ball led to Giovani Lo Cienso earning a corner. On ensuing corner kick from left, a header by Aïssa Mandi at far post struck Eray Cömert on the arm, with Arnaut Danjuma sending Valencia keeper Jesper Cillessen the wrong way for the 1-0 lead.

Seven minutes later, the hosts added a second, with a quick strike that caught the Valencia defense sleeping. Juan Foyth maintained possession under pressure, and quickly advanced into Valencia half before seing Danjuma streaking up middle with space.

He picked out the Dutch international with a low pass that he controlled on his way into the penalty area, and struck with a left-footed shot to the lower right corner for the two-goal lead.

Valencia are all but mathematically eliminated from European qualification based on league placement, however can gain an automatic spot in the Europa League group stage if they are able to beat Real Betis in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday night.


Neither Matthew Hoppe nor Matt Miazga made it off of their teams’ respective benches on Tuesday when Mallorca beat visiting Alaves by a 2-1 margin. The result lifts Mallorca out of the bottom three, while Alaves are in last place, needing to make up six points with only five games left.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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