Ousmane Dembele deserved a moment like this. The French forward has been crucial for Barcelona this season and was again against Real Valladolid, this time in a very obvious, very big way.
Dembele volleyed home at the back post in the 90th minute to win Barcelona the game and move them a point behind Atletico Madrid at the top of the table.
It’s in Barca’s hands now. Even a draw in the Clasico next weekend would still keep that as truth.
But this was no special performance, no show of force from the Catalans. They were tired, lethargic and lucky to come away with the three points.
Real Valladolid can point to a Jordi Alba handball - probably not a penalty but you’ve seen them given - and a harsh red card for Oscar Plano - as decisions that cost them.
Plano was dismissed for cynically hacking down Dembele from behind on the break. Maybe morally he deserved the red but by the rulebook, probably not.
That gave Barcelona the chance to start accumulating pressure and territory they struggled for in the preceding 80 minutes and Dembele got the winner in the 90th.
Ronald Araujo flicked the ball his way and the French forward smashed home on the volley at the back post with perfect technique.
"We played a tough opponent who left their skin out there on the pitch, it was a difficult game but an important victory," said defender Clement Lenglet.
"It shows that this league is very hard, we have to fight each game to win. We had chances and in the end Ousmane got the goal for the win. We have to work because there’s a long way to go."
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