Ousmane Dembele’s late winner moves Barcelona to within touching distance of La Liga summit

With Real Madrid simply two factors additional again, it means Spain’s “Big Three” are actually separated by simply three factors as groups enter the ultimate stretch of the season.

Atletico had loved a snug lead at La Liga’s summit after a blistering begin to the season, whereas each Barcelona and Real struggled to discover kind within the opening weeks. However, the stress seems to be getting to Diego Simeone’s facet, which has now received simply two of its final 5 La Liga matches.

Barcelona, conversely, is on a blistering run and hasn’t tasted defeat domestically for the reason that starting of December, whereas Zinedine Zidane’s Real has misplaced simply as soon as for the reason that finish of November.

Though there was a component of luck to Dembele’s aim — the ball falling kindly after bouncing between two heads within the penalty space — it was nothing lower than Barcelona deserved for its superiority all through the 90 minutes.

Valladolid definitely seemed threatening at instances, even putting the crossbar within the first half, however a 79th-minute pink card for Oscar Plano compelled the facet onto the again foot for the rest of the match.

It was the proper begin to a probably season-defining fortnight for Barcelona, with El Clasico developing on Saturday and the 2021 Copa del Rey last in opposition to Athletic Bilbao the next weekend.

After a rocky begin to the season — throughout which head coach Ronald Koeman was rumored to be in danger of dropping his job after solely a matter of weeks — Barcelona now has its eyes firmly set of the home double.

Of course, enormous questions nonetheless linger like a darkish cloud over Barca; captain Lionel Messi may but depart on the finish of the season and the membership continues to face historic ranges of debt, however latest performances coupled with the emergence of younger expertise has given some hope for the long run.

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