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Barcelona back in La Liga title race with late Real Valladolid win

Barcelona are now just a pint behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga
Barcelona are now just a pint behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga
ANALYST
Modified 06 Apr 2021
Feature

Barcelona have had an eventful last three months. The Blaugrana have been on their way up since December and are unbeaten in league games since the turn of the year.

Ronald Koeman’s side's last-gasp winner against Real Valladolid has seen them close the gap on league leaders Atletico Madrid - who lost at Sevilla - to a solitary point with only nine games remaining.

Barcelona could possibly win two trophies this season, as they are also in the final of the Copa del Rey.

Ousmane Dembele makes the difference for Barcelona

Barcelona were not at their best against Real Valladolid, labouring to create chances for large swathes of the game. In fact, the visitors could have opened the scoring in the first half, if not for the woodwork.

Ronald Koeman’s side began the second half on the ascendancy but had to wait till the dying embers of the game to find the breakthrough.

Ousmane Dembele got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Ronald Araujo, smashing a low shot into the net. Interestingly, the Frenchman almost left Barcelona last summer, but he’s been in impressive form in recent months.

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The Frenchman has been one of the players who have really stepped up for Barcelona since the turn of the year.

2020-21 La Liga set for thrilling finale

Following their win over Real Valladolid, Barcelona are back in second place in the La Liga table and just a point adrift of Atletico Madrid. Considering the stuttering recent form of the league leaders, Barcelona would fancy their chances of winning the league.

With the top three of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid now separated by only three points with nine games to go, the 2020-21 La Liga title race is all set for an enthralling finale.

"We didn't press them very well. I saw a slow, tired Barcelona from the start. We didn't control the game. So we changed the system and improved in the second half,” Koeman said after Monday’s win, as quoted by Marca. "It was a difficult game, and we were some way off our level. Real Valladolid did a good job defensively, but you have to know how to suffer and I think we deserved to win."

It remains to be seen if Ronald Koeman is able to close his first season in charge of Barcelona with the league title after enduring an indifferent start to his managerial reign at the Camp Nou.

Published 06 Apr 2021, 20:33 IST
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