With his first home goals and second brace in a row, Robert Lewandowski fired FC Barcelona to a commanding must-win against Valladolid on Sunday night.
The Catalans, with coach Xavi bringing on Busquets, Raphinha and recently registered new signing Koundé for de Jong, Ferran Torres and Christensen after the 4-1 win at Real Sociedad, dominated from the kick-off in front of their home crowd. After a couple of half-chances, Lewandowski recorded the first big chance of the game in the 12th minute, but was unlucky in a curious scene when the ball somehow bounced back out of the net after his header hit the post and Masip.
Exactly ten minutes later, Dembelé scored the hosts’ second goal from the corner of the net before Lewandowski broke the spell with the next opportunity, converting a Raphinha cross to take the lead (24th) – the Pole’s first competitive goal in front of his home crowd. For Barça, however, this was no reason to turn back. Although there was a lack of clear-cut goals in the following minutes, Pedri added the 2-0 before the break (43rd) and the team went into the dressing room with this lead.
The picture did not change in the second half either: The Blaugrana remained dominant, but lacked the final edge. Nevertheless, Garcia only narrowly missed the decisive goal when he was blocked from a corner (52nd). Lewandowski did the same ten minutes later when he hacked over Joaquin’s leg for his second brace in succession (64th).
Valladolid fail to score three times
The start of a furious exchange of blows in which first Sergi Leon and Oscar Plano missed a double chance to connect, with Koundé saving for the beaten ter Stegen (69th), before Anuar missed Valladolid’s third huge chance in a row just seconds later (70th).
The home side responded with a dangerous effort from Dembelé (74), before slowing down the tempo in the final quarter of an hour.
Nevertheless, the home fans were able to cheer again in injury time when substitute Sergi Roberto converted a save to make it 4-0.
Barcelona face Sevilla FC on Saturday evening (9pm). Valladolid return to the points hunt on Monday 5 September against Almeria.