The Catalans were nine points behind La Real before kick off and should they lose the gap would have been extended to 12.
Barcelona controlled the first half comfortably against what was quite a jaded La Real team. The second half was more tense but they managed to hold out for an important win.
De Jong was integral to the victory, putting in a performance that underlined the fact that he’s slowly but surely beginning to return to the level that he hit while at Ajax as per Mundo Deportivo.
The Dutch playmaker started in a more advanced position than his usual slot as pivot and was given greater freedom to join attacks by his coach and countryman Ronald Koeman.
His statistics were strong. De Jong played 90 minutes, scored a goal, created two chances, made seven recoveries, completed 49 passes, had 68 touches, made one successful challenge, lost 12 balls, completed one dribble and committed one foul.
De Jong had spoken recently about how happy he is at Barcelona but how he’s cogent of his need to improve. He, and the club, will be hoping that his opening league goal of the season can serve as an effective launchpad.
Featured image courtesy of FC Barcelona.