Spanish La Liga: Barcelona beat Valladolid 2-1
Barcelona: Barcelona sauntered to a largely straightforward 2-1 victory over Valladolid in La Liga on a sodden Sunday night at Camp Nou.
Pedro opened the scoring after some sloppy play from the Pucela and former Blaugrana defender Marc Valiente inadvertently sent the ball into his own net for the second. Victor Perez pulled one back in the final moments of normal time but Barca had already done enough to bag all three points and remain on target for 100 at the season`s close.
The aftermath of the title-winning celebrations seemed to have taken their toll on Barca as a low-key start was in keeping with the subdued atmosphere inside the stadium.
In the absence of Lionel Messi, David Villa lead the way for the hosts during the early exchanges but his curling effort flew harmlessly wide of the goal.
The Blaugrana were in control of possession and despite showing a distinct lack of urgency in their play, they opened the scoring after 21 minutes.
Jesus Rueda`s misplaced pass fell straight to the feet of Xavi, who broke quickly and rolled the ball to Pedro to his right. The winger did not manage to find the corner but instead guided the ball underneath Jaime and into the back of the net.
Soon after Oscar was unable capitalise on a similar gift from the hosts and restore parity on the night as he blazed over from distance when he could have carried the ball forward.
Valladolid continued to readily surrender possession close to their own goal and were let off the hook as a deflection sent Andres Iniesta`s 33rd-minute strike over the bar.
The reprieve did not last long, though, and three minutes before half-time Mirsolav Djukic`s men fell two behind as Valiente inadvertently turned Xavi`s corner into his own goal.
The captain of the Catalan giants almost got one himself eight minutes after the restart with a curling side-footed attempt from 25 yards but Jaime dived to his right and parried the ball aside.
There was no let-up in Barca`s monopolisation of possession but Valladolid were doing a good job of remaining compact and repelling each probing move from Vilanova`s men.
But in the 63rd minute the Blaugrana finally broke through their ranks and Cesc Fabregas squared the ball to Pedro inside the area. He feigned to shoot first time, beating a defender in the process, but had to watch as his effort skimmed off the top of the bar.
Jaime produced a great stop from Martin Montoya in the 79th minute and continued to thwart the hosts in the closing stages. After batting Villa`s effort aside moments later he breathed a sigh of relief as Pedro sent the rebound into the side netting.
There was a late consolation for Valladolid, though, as Montoya brought down Manucho in the area and Perez lashed in from the penalty spot.
Nevertheless, Barca were triumphant at the final whistle, marking their trophy lift with a win and remaining on track to reach the record 100 point tally set by Jose Mourinho`s Real Madrid last season.
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