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Rediff.com  » Sports » La Liga: Barcelona scrape past Valladolid on 'deplorable' pitch

La Liga: Barcelona scrape past Valladolid on 'deplorable' pitch

Last updated on: August 26, 2018 13:26 IST

Barcelona players celebrate after Ousmane Dembele scores the first goal against Real Valladolid CF during their La Liga match at Jose Zorrilla in Valladolid, Spain, on Sunday

IMAGE: Barcelona players celebrate after Ousmane Dembele scores the first goal against Real Valladolid CF during their La Liga match at Jose Zorrilla in Valladolid, Spain, on Sunday. Photograph: Octavio Passos/Getty Images

A last-minute VAR decision helped Barcelona secure an unconvincing 1-0 La Liga win over newly-promoted Valladolid on Saturday.

 

After Ousmane Dembele gave the champions a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute, Keko thought he had snatched a stoppage time equaliser for Valladolid but was denied the goal as the video assistant referee ruled that the winger had netted from an offside position.

On a newly-laid pitch that began cutting up in the warm-up, a number of Barca players were left visibly frustrated as they struggled to impose their usual passing style.

"It was deplorable," said defender Gerard Pique of the surface.

"It's not even a question of being able to play football, rather the risk of injury to professionals. I hope those in charge do their jobs and sort this out because it's a disgrace."

Despite the obvious issues, they did eventually get going but former Barca academy keeper Jordi Masip spectacularly denied Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho.

There was nothing Masip could do when Dembele fired in from Sergi Roberto’s knockdown 10 minutes after the restart.

With the game in the balance, Valladolid appeared the more likely winner, going close a number of times.

But Keko blew his side’s major opening when he headed straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen with minutes remaining.

Suarez then beat Masip but was flagged offside, before the keeper kept out an effort from substitute Malcom as the home side pushed on and Barca looked to play on the counter.

Keko thought he had redeemed his late miss with virtually the last kick of the game as he stooped to head in at the near post in front of Ter Stegen, however, wild celebrations were cut short by the technology, with the forward having strayed offside as the cross came in.

The win ensured the Catalans maintained their 100 percent start to the season, while Valladolid have one point after two games.

Griezmann goal earns Atletico first win of season

Antoine Griezmann’s second-half strike earned Atletico Madrid a first win of the Liga season on Saturday as they defeated local rivals Rayo Vallecano 1-0.

Before the Frenchman’s intervention on the hour it had been a frustrating evening for Diego Simeone’s side, who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but struggled to break down their resolute visitors.

That all changed in the 63rd minute when Griezmann turned in Stefan Savic’s header from close range following a corner.

Angel Correa had Atletico’s best opportunity in the first half, but Rayo keeper Alberto Garcia did well to keep the Argentine’s effort out.

Shortly afterwards, the Wanda Metropolitano got its first taste of VAR as Diego Costa’s screams for handball in the penalty area were turned down by referee Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez, whose decision was vindicated by video replays as the game continued.

"We weren't great," France forward Griezmann said.

"I'm not sure if we felt it in our legs or what, but we'll continue to improve."

He added: "We're going to try and win all our games and we'll see where it can take us. It's great to be here and hopefully I can take the club to the highest I can."

Atletico will be sweating on the fitness of fullback Juanfran, who hobbled off after half an hour with what the club described as a muscle problem.

The win lifts the Europa League champions on to four points after two games, while Rayo remain pointless.

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