Skip to main content

Barcelona's title hopes dented by shock defeat at Valladolid

updated 2:38 PM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014
Dejected Barcelona players contemplate defeat at lowly Valladolid in La Liga.
Dejected Barcelona players contemplate defeat at lowly Valladolid in La Liga.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Barcelona beaten 1-0 at Valladolid
  • Third defeat in seven La Liga games
  • Fausto Rossi scores only goal after 17 minutes
  • Bayern Munich crush Wolfsburg 6-1 in Bundesliga

(CNN) -- Barcelona's faltering defense of the La Liga title plumbed a fresh low Saturday with a 1-0 defeat at relegation strugglers Valladolid -- the third in the last seven league games.

No matter that Barca enjoyed 80 per cent of the possession, the only statistic that mattered was a 17th minute strike from Italian Fausto Rossi.

Arch-rivals Real Madrid can move four points clear of Barca with a home victory over Levante Sunday.

But it was Real's city neighbors Atletico who topped the standings Saturday night as a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo saw them leapfrog both the 'big two' in Spain.

David Villa scored twice to help them draw level with Real on 64 points, with a better head to head record, but having played a game more.

Barcelona will be ruing the missed opportunity to keep the pressure on leaders Real, despite boss Gerardo Martino fielding a strong team after the international break.

Read: Barca stalwart Puyol to leave Nou Camp

Lionel Messi was kept off the score sheet by excellent saves from home keeper Diego Marino and he was forced into action by the Argentina ace before the only goal of the match.

Rossi fired home from close range past Victor Valdes after indecision in the Barcelona defense.

Messi had to more efforts saved by halftime but after the break it was Neymar who missed Barca's best chance, blazing over from close range after being set up by Cesc Fabregas.

The home side held out comfortably enough and might have added to their tally when Oscar spurned a fine chance.

But they were left to celebrate a famous victory to move out of the relegation zone.

"We lacked ideas, movement and penetration, but I didn't in any way see a lack of attitude," Martino told AFP after the defeat.

His side will have to regroup ahead of the visit of Manchester City Wednesday in the Champions League, but lead 2-0 from the first leg in the last 16 tie.

The Catalan giants suffered a stinging 6-0 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Bayern Munich in the semifinals of last year's competition but had been in impeccable form under Martino until recent domestic setbacks.

We lacked ideas, movement and penetration
Gerardo Martino

Meanwhile free-scoring Bayern have continued their all-conquering form, thrashing fifth-placed Wolfsburg 6-1 in the Bundesliga Saturday, despite the match being tied 1-1 at halftime.

Read: Unstoppable Bayern hammer Schalke

Bayern even trailed to a goal from Wolfsburg defender Naldo before Xherdan Shaqiri equalized by the break.

Five goals in just 17 minutes continued the incredible scoring feats of the Bavarian giants with Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic each getting a double.

Franck Ribery added the other for the defending German champions, who stretched their unbeaten league run to a record 49 matches.

In 24 league matches, Pep Guardiola's team have registered an impressive 72 goals to leave them 23 points clear of nearest rivals Borussia Dortmund, who play Sunday.

In France's Ligue 1, Paris Saint Germain took another big step towards retaining the title with a 3-0 win at Bastia.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the opener and set up Ezequiel Lavezzi for the other two goals, the first assist from a impudent back-flick.

The win left PSG eight points clear of title rivals Monaco, who beat Sochaux 2-1 in a later game.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
updated 2:58 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
updated 12:49 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
updated 6:12 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT