Fausto Rossi’s first half goal was enough to give Real Valladolid all three points against a desperately poor Barcelona side.
The Blaugrana were looking to recover from what Jose Mourinho had coined ‘the FIFA virus’ after the midweek internationals. But someone who was trying to bounce back from actual illness was Lionel Messi – the Argentina forward was revealed to be seeing a specialist about frequent bouts of vomiting, but he was given a start by Tata Martino, alongside Neymar and Pedro.
And, as expected, it was the away side who got off to the brighter start, keeping the ball and generally dominating the play. As has been noted in previous weeks however, their attack looked blunt initially, failing to create any meaningful attempts.
The Pucela weren’t ready to be trampled on by the Catalan giants though, and soon enjoyed a period of dominance of their own – but once again, their forward line failed to carve out any chances.
Manucho and Guerra both went close, only to be denied by Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique respectively, but it was that man Messi who closest – the Ballon d’Or winner curled a delightful effort from the edge of the area, only for Diego Marino to make a superb save.
And the visitors would rue that miss on 17 minutes. Rossi pounced on a ricochet off of Adriano, and fired a shot past Valdes for a deserved early lead.
Juan Ignacio Martinez’s men were by no means lucky leaders. Their pressing and intensity was forcing the Barca forward line deeper and deeper in search of the ball, and as such, rarely threatened the Valladolid area. And it was nearly 2-0 on half an hour, but Rossi’s free kick went just over.
As the half neared its end, the Camp Nou outfit began to finally get into their usual groove, and it was Messi who nearly equalised late on, only for his shot to go straight down Marino’s throat.
After the break, Martino had obviously said something at the interval as his men came flying out of the blocks. And within minutes they were almost level, but Adriano’s effort flew wide of the post.
The Blaugrana were really knocking on the door now but continued to miss chances. Messi had a one-on-one saved by Marino, but it was Neymar who had the clearest chance – the Brazilian, somehow, spooned a shot over from eight yards when it looked easier to score.
And they paid for that profligacy, as Real Valladolid defended valiantly for the remaining minutes and held out for a famous win.
Real Valladolid 1-0 Barcelona
Scorers: Rossi 17 (RV)
Real Valladolid: Mariño, Rukavina, Rueda, Mitrovic, Peña, Valiente (Sastre 59), Rossi, Álvaro Rubio, Bergdich (Rama 71), Guerra, Manucho (Oscar 65)
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Piqué (Sergi Roberto 65), Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Cesc (Alexis 61), Pedro, Messi, Neymar (Tello 72)