Barcelona vs. Real Valladolid  2 - 1

Article

Vilanova staying, says Roura

20 May 2013 04:13

Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura has rubbished claims that head coach Tito Vilanova is set to leave the La Liga champions.

Vilanova addressed the crowd following Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Real Valladolid on Sunday after the Catalan club had been presented with the Spanish league trophy.

The 44-year-old coach, who has missed a number of games this season due to his treatment for cancer, urged the Barcelona fans to give his players and coaching staff plenty of support next season, which was interpreted as a farewell speech.

But at the post-match press conference, Roura denied Vilanova will leave Barcelona.

"Well, I think that the message from Tito Vilanova was extraordinary, I really liked it," Roura said.

"But we should not interpret it the wrong way.

"He just wanted to thank the big work of all the team and just to give the trust to the people that this group of players are going to keep winning trophies, so we cannot interpret it as him leaving."

Vilanova was thrilled to bring the La Liga trophy back to Barcelona after Real Madrid had claimed the championship last season.

"I want to thank you (the fans) for your confidence and for the help you've given to us throughout the season, through the good moments and the not so good moments," Vilanova said after the trophy presentation.

"Without you this would have been much more difficult.

"I also want to thank my technical staff, who have done a fantastic job."

Vilanova also told Barcelona fans that the current squad at the Catalan club will continue to bring success.

"Help them and encourage them, they will make you enjoy," Vilanova said.

Article

La Liga Wrap: Barcelona, Deportivo notch victories

20 May 2013 00:47

La Liga champions Barcelona remained on track to match Real Madrid's record tally of 100 points by beating Real Valladolid on Sunday.

The newly crowned champions dominated proceedings at Camp Nou and a strike from Pedro combined with a Marc Valiente own goal were enough to see off Valladolid in a 2-1 victory.

Victor Perez scored a late penalty for the visitors, after Javier Mascherano brought down Manucho, but it was not enough to spoil Barca's title celebrations or damage their chances of equalling Madrid's record from last season.

Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 victory over Espanyol at the Estadio Riazor.

Bruno Gama gave his side the lead after 50 minutes when he hit a wonderful curling drive from outside the area beyond Cristian Alvarez.

The victory was sealed deep into stoppage time as Deportivo broke forward and Nelson Oliveira lobbed the on-rushing Espanyol goalkeeper.

Real Zaragoza's chances of survival were dealt a blow after Athletic Bilbao scored two late goals to beat them 2-1.

Helder Postiga gave Zaragoza a first half lead when he headed Federico Montanes' cross over the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.

However, Bilbao found an equaliser ten minutes from time through Fernando Llorente before Ibai Gomez netted the winner with a deft back-heeled flick in the 92nd minute.

Rayo Vallecano survived a late fightback from Levante to win 3-2 and stay in the hunt for a Europa League spot.

Piti opened the scoring in the 20th minute when he smashed in the rebound of an Adrian free-kick, before Levante's Robert Acquafresca levelled the tie in the 52nd minute.

However, the hosts were back in front just four minutes later, through Franco Vazquez, and they had the chance to score a third from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.

Alejandro Dominguez was brought down by Ruben Garcia inside the area and Piti sent Keilor Navas the wrong way for his 17th goal of the season.

Levante gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 86th minute when Vincente Iborra headed home Garcia's cross from close range, but Acquafresca missed a great chance to equalise in the closing stages as he shot too early when through on goal.

Meanwhile, Real Mallorca kept their hopes of survival alive with a 1-0 win over UEFA Europa League-chasing Real Betis on Monday as Tomer Hemed's first-half goal moved them three points adrift of 17th-placed Deportivo with two games remaining.

Article

La Liga: Barcelona 2 Real Valladolid 1

19 May 2013 23:06

Barcelona remained on track to match Real Madrid's record tally of 100 points in La Liga with a narrow win over Real Valladolid on Sunday.

The newly-crowned champions dominated proceedings and a strike from Pedro as well as a Marc Valiente own-goal were enough to see off the visitors, despite Victor Perez’s late penalty for Valladolid.

Barcelona were missing Lionel Messi, who aggravated a hamstring injury in the victory at Atletico Madrid last weekend and is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Valladolid defender Antonio Rukavina was suspended after being shown his fifth booking of the season in the 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna last Saturday.

The visitors formed a guard of honour for the newly-crowned champions at Camp Nou, which was not at full capacity due to severe weather warnings in the city of Barcelona.

Gerard Pique made a bright start to the match and denied Omar Ramos with two strong blocks before floating a fantastic pass over the top of the Valladolid defence for David Villa, who was foiled by Carlos Pena.

Barcelona were in a celebratory mood and it did not take long for them to find their rhythm, with Pedro opening the scoring in the 21st minute.

Xavi stole possession in a dangerous area and slipped a pass into the path of the Spanish winger, who squeezed his strike underneath the goalkeeper from the right-hand side of the box.

Jordi Alba whipped a great cross towards Pedro at the far post as the hosts went in search of an immediate second goal, but Pena was on hand to produce a vital clearance.

The champions continued to pile on the pressure and Andres Iniesta saw an effort deflected just over the crossbar, after weaving his way into the Valladolid box.

Barcelona eventually found the net for a second time just before half-time when a whipped corner from Xavi bounced straight off former Barcelona defender Valiente and into the net.

The second half started in similar fashion as the first, as the torrential rain continued to pour down and Barcelona controlled proceedings.

Xavi went close with a side-footed effort from the edge of the area but Jaime managed to get down well to palm the ball away from the bottom corner.

The champions dominated possession throughout the second half and had a great chance to grab a third in the 63rd minute, following some good work down the left by Cesc Fabregas.

Pedro did well to shift the ball onto his right foot in front of goal but the 25-year-old blasted over the crossbar from 12 yards out when he looked certain to score.

Fabregas went close to finding the top corner, before Valladolid goalkeeper Jaime made two great saves to deny Barca a third in the closing stages.

He palmed away a curling Martin Montoya strike from inside the area before denying Villa with a wonderful stop to his left.

The rebound fell straight to Pedro and the midfielder had the simple task of finishing into an empty net, but he somehow hit the side-netting.

Valladolid were awarded a penalty against the run of play two minutes from time, after Javier Mascherano brought down Manucho.

Perez gave Victor Valdes no chance with the spot-kick as he drilled the ball high into the top corner.

However, the goal did not matter as the home side saw out the final few minutes to keep their record bid on track.

Article

La Liga Preview: Barcelona v Valladolid

17 May 2013 14:24

Barcelona may have limped over the line in securing their 22nd La Liga crown, but they will celebrate at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Valladolid are the first visitors to Barcelona since last weekend's results confirmed the destination of the title and, having already avoided relegation, are probably expected to roll over for the newly-crowned champions.

In truth, with Tito Vilanova's side having lost just two league fixtures all season, the visitors have little choice.

Valladolid's last away win over the Catalan side came in November 1997, when goals from Alen Peternac and Eusebio Sacristan earned a shock 2-1 victory.

They had no such luck in the reverse fixture at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla in December though, suffering a 3-1 loss in front of their own fans.

One of the goalscorers for Barca that day, Lionel Messi, will miss this game after suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has plagued him in recent weeks.

Despite that, the Argentine looks a certainty to secure the Pichichi trophy - awarded to the league's top scorer each season - having netted 45 goals to Cristiano Ronaldo's 34 with three games remaining.

Miroslav Dukic's men, meanwhile, have no new injury worries as they bid for a top-10 finish with the campaign reaching it's conclusion.

Valladolid have in fact scored five goals in total against Barcelona's great rivals Real Madrid this term, but were unfortunate to find themselves on the wrong end of 4-3 and 3-2 defeats.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +75 100
2 38 +61 85
3 38 +34 76
4 38 +21 66
5 38 +13 65
6 38 +3 57
7 38 +1 56
8 38 -16 53
9 38 +4 50
10 38 -14 47
11 38 -17 46
12 38 -21 45
13 38 -9 44
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -17 42
16 38 -17 39
17 38 -15 37
18 38 -29 36
19 38 -23 35
20 38 -25 34