Canada's Cyle Larin turns heads in Valladolid's 3-1 upset win over Barcelona
VALLADOLID, Spain — Canadian forward Cyle Larin scored a goal and added an assist to help Real Valladolid move out of La Liga's relegation zone with a 3-1 upset win over champion Barcelona on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old from Brampton, Ont., who joined the Spanish side in late January from Belgium's Club Brugge, now has eight goals and two assists in league play this season.
Valladolid (11-20-5) moved into 17th place in the standings, three points above Getafe. There are two rounds remaining in the season.
Valladolid, owned by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, can stay safe going into the last two rounds if Getafe fails to win at Real Betis on Wednesday.
Barcelona (27-5-4) came into the game with a 50-point edge over Valladolid. The Spanish powerhouse clinched the title, its first since 2019, on May 14 with a 4-2 victory over Espanyol. It has lost twice since, with the Valladolid setback following a 2-1 defeat to Real Sociedad.
Larin was involved in all three goals Tuesday.
The opening goal came in the second minute with Darwin Machis looking to find Larin in the penalty box with a low cross. Barcelona's Andreas Christensen and Larin both dove for the ball with the Danish defender heading it into his own goal.
Larin scored the second in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot after Ecuador's Gonzalo Plato was taken down by Eric Garcia in the penalty box after taking a Larin pass. The Canadian slotted the penalty under a diving Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Plata made it 3-0 in the 73rd after Larin was put behind the Barca defender with a fine pass. Larin found Plata with a low cross and the midfielder from Ecuador knocked it home. The goal survived video review for offside.
Robert Lewandowski scored a consolation goal for Barca in the 84th minute.
Valladolid had lost five straight matches prior to Tuesday.
“Beating Barcelona gives us a lot of confidence going forward," Plata said. “Now we have two finals left and hopefully we can reach our goal of staying in the first division.”
It was the first matchday in the Spanish league since the outpouring of support for Vinícius Júnior following the latest case of racial abuse against the Real Madrid forward.
Barcelona forward Raphinha showed a message of support for Vinícius, his teammate with Brazil's national team.
The message, which included anti-racism words in Portuguese and the phrase “we are together, Vini,” was on his undershirt and was revealed when he removed his jersey after being substituted in the second half. He also raised his right fist while leaving the field.
Players from both teams held a banner before the match with the words “racists out of football,” which is one of the slogans of a campaign against racism launched jointly by the Spanish league, Spanish federation and the government’s top sports authority. Anti-racism slogans were also shown during the national and international broadcasts of the game.
SOCIEDAD CLOSER TO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Real Sociedad strengthened its hold on the final Champions League spot with a 1-0 home win over 10-man Almeria.
Takefusa Kubo scored the winner in first-half stoppage time to give Sociedad its second straight victory — and fourth in five matches.
The win allowed Sociedad to open an eight-point gap to fifth-place Villarreal, which hosts relegation-threatened Cadiz on Wednesday. Sociedad will clinch the Champions League place if Villarreal fails to beat Cadiz.
Almeria, sitting four points from the relegation zone, has lost three of its last five games. It had forward Luis Suárez sent off with a straight red card in the 36th.
CELTA VIGO HELD
Celta Vigo opened a five-point gap to the bottom three after a 1-1 draw with Girona.
Celta got on the board first with a goal by Carles Pérez in the 42nd. The visitors equalized with a penalty kick converted by Cristhian Stuani in the 59th. Stuani scored on his second attempt after the first was saved by the goalkeeper. The penalty was ordered to be retaken because a Celta player entered the area before the kick.
Celta has won only one of its last 10 matches. Eighth-place Girona is winless in three games.
With files from The Associated Press's Tales Azzoni in Madrid
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2023
The Canadian Press