USMNT starters Yunus Musah and Sergiño Dest both had weekends to forget, with both contributing to painful losses by their respective teams.
Real Betis 1 – 1 Valencia (pen. 5-4)
Yunus Musah had a short, but rough appearance for Valencia on Saturday in their Copa del Rey final against Real Betis, missing the crucial penalty in the shoot-out in a heartbreaking loss.
Musah played the final 20 minutes of the game, coming in at the 100th minute, completing six of his eight pass attempts, having 15 total touches and winning both of his tackles. However, what was otherwise a decent substitute performance will likely be remembered for one lone kick in the final minutes.
Borja Iglesias gave Betis the lead after 11 minutes when he rose high at the edge of the six-yard box to head in a fine cross from Hector Bellerin.
However, Hugo Duro equalized at the half hour after being sprung free up the middle with a fine through-ball from Ilaix Moriba, chipping the keeper to bring the score to 1-1.
Betis came close to a late winner in the 78th minute when Juanmi’s attempt from just outside the area bounced off the left upright. However, the game would go into overtime, knotted at one apiece.
Musah entered the game after 100 minutes in place of Dimitri Foulquier, although by that point both teams had largely run out of steam ahead of the inevitable shoot-out after the 120 minutes were completed.
Both teams hit each of their first three attempts, however Musah, who was selected as Valencia’s fourth penalty-taker, skied his attempt well wide right of the targeted upper right corner.
Betis then converted their final two, and were crowned champions of the Copa del Rey for the third time in their history after taking the 5-4 shootout win.
With both qualification for European competition and relegation effectively out of the picture for Valencia, they will try to muster motivation for their final five La Liga games, beginning with a visit from second-bottom Levante on Saturday.
FC Barcelona 0 – 1 Rayo Vallecano
Sergiño Dest earned the start in Barcelona’s defense on Sunday night, however was caught off-guard on the only goal of the game as the visitors came away with all three points.
Dest lined up at his traditional right-back role with usual league starter Dani Alves dropped to the bench, only lasting for the first half before being replaced by Clément Lenglet in a tactical switch that saw Ronald Araújo shift over to the right to take his place.
The game was barely underway when Isi Palazon spotted Álvaro Garcia with plenty of space between Dest and Eric Garcia, and lobbed the ball into the path of his run. Garcia controlled the ball and with Dest failing to close down the space, and easily struck from 12 yard out to the lower right corner for the 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
Barcelona were nevertheless the dominant team with more than 70% of possession, although had issues to convert that dominance into dangerous chances. Alba saw a long attempt graze the upper right corner of the frame after 25 minutes, then Gavi hit the underside of the crossbar in the 43rd minute.
In the end, Rayo were able to hang on to the narrow lead for their remarkable second victory over Barcelona this season.
Dest and co. are still in second place, ahead of Sevilla only by tie-breakers. They are back on the field on Sunday when they host Mallorca.
Real Sociedad B 2 – 1 SD Amorebieta
Jonathan Gomez went the distance on the left of Real Sociedad B’s defense, as they kept a sliver of hope alive for their La Liga 2 survival with a win over Amorebieta on Saturday.
Over 90 minutes on the field, Gomez had an active game, having 61 total touches, completing 21 of 33 pass attempts, and winning eight of his 15 duels.
Amorebieta had an early opportunity from the spot, however Gorka Guruzeta’s attempt in the 21st minute was blocked by Sociedad keeper Andoni Zubiaurre.
The hosts did take the lead after 38 minutes when Alex Sola powerfully one-timed Robert Navarro’s chipped cross from the left, blasting his shot just inside the right upright.
A moment of stupidity on the part of Amorebieta keeper Roberto Santamaria gave them the opening for the 2-0 lead just before halftime, when Santamaria cynically elbowed Jon Karrikaburu in the face.
The referee was merciful, only giving the keeper yellow, but as his moment of petulance was in the area, a penalty was awarded to the hosts which Roberto Lopez easily converted to the lower right corner for the 2-0 lead.
Amorebieta did cut the lead to one goal in the 53rd minute, with Iker Bilbao redirecting a cross by Gaizka Larrazabal into the path of Guruzeta for a powerful strike from the left.
Xabi Alonso’s squad still managed to hold despite heavy pressure from their visitors, taking the 2-1 victory.
Gomez and his teammates are still in the relegation zone with a seven-point gap to safety and only five games left to play. While likely down for the count, they can still stay alive if they take an unlikely result on their visit to Real Valladolid on Sunday.
Shaq Moore was a garbage-time substitute for Tenerife on Friday for their scoreless home draw against Huesca. Samuel Shashoua was not in uniform for the hosts.