Football news - Lionel Messi gives Barcelona victory over Real Valladolid
La Liga, Camp Nou - Barcelona 1 (Messi 43' pen.) Real Valladolid 0
Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga to seven, but made tough work of their unimpressive 1-0 home win over Real Valladolid.
Ernesto Valverde make a number of changes to his team, resting Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic ahead of a packed schedule which will start with a Champions League trip to Lyon on Tuesday. Ousmane Dembele started after returning from injury, with Carles Alena and Kevin-Prince Boateng also handed a place in the team.
The hosts upped their tempo for the second half, but still struggled to break down a stubborn opposition backline. Suarez was introduced off the bench, but spurned a series of golden opportunity, with Messi seeing a late penalty kick saved by the impressive Jordi Masip.
TALKING POINT - Carles Alena starting to grow into an influential role at Barcelona
He was one of the players rotated into the Barcelona team for this game and Alena made the most of the opportunity he was given. The youngster has impressed in recent weeks and is improving with every game he plays. There’s a lot of excitement at Camp Nou about the emergence of Alena and on the basis of this performance, it’s justified.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Jordi Masip (Real Valladolid)
He finished up on the losing side, but without Masip Real Valladolid might have suffered a heavy defeat at Camp Nou. The former Barcelona goalkeeper saved a penalty from Messi and denied Suarez from no fewer than fewer one-on-one situations. It said it all that Masip was congratulated not just by his own teammates at full time, but the Barca players too.
42’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! The referee points to the spot after Pique is brought down in the box by Michel. The away players aren't happy at all.
43’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Real Valladolid: Just two minutes before half time, Barcelona have made the breakthrough. The penalty was a soft one, but Messi makes no mistake from the spot. Masip went the right way, but the shot was right into the corner of the net.
50’ What a save! Masip keeps the scoreline at just 1-0. Alba found Messi, the Argentinean directed a volley on target, but the Real Valladolid keeper tips the ball over his crossbar. Wow.
53’ Big chance for Messi! That's not normally how that story ends. Dembele sets up Messi for the shot, he waits for the right moment... but then curls his shot wide of the goal. Close. He should have scored.
66’ Suarez should score! Barcelona win the ball high up the pitch, with Dembele playing through Suarez. However, Masip comes off his line to save and then saves from Messi as well.
84’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! It's a second spot kick for the Catalans. This time it's Coutinho brought down in the box.
86’ PENALTY SAVED! We've seen the Barcelona number 10 miss from the spot before, and he has missed here. Well, technically Masip saved it. The keeper guessed the right way, to his left side.
90+2’ Masip stops Suarez AGAIN! That's three one-on-ones that the Real Valladolid goalkeeper has prevented from becoming a Barcelona goal. He has been the Man of the Match.
Lionel Messi has scored 30 or more goals in each of his last 11 seasons for Barcelona (in all competitions).
Gerard Pique became only the third defender in La Liga history to reach 300 appearances for Barcelona, after Carles Puyol (392) and Migueli (391).