Lewandowski treble fires Barca to Valencia win

football29 April 2024 21:30| © AFP

Robert Lewandowski hit a second-half hat-trick to power Barcelona to an entertaining 4-2 win over 10-man Valencia on Monday in LaLiga.

The champions' victory denies leaders Real Madrid the chance to take the crown by simply beating Cadiz next Saturday.

Los Blancos are 11 points clear with five matches remaining.

Fermin Lopez sent Barcelona ahead before Hugo Duro levelled and Pepelu netted from the spot to turn the game round.

Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili was sent off late in the first half for handball and Lewandowski equalised soon after the break before adding another two late on.

It rained all day in drought-ridden Barcelona and the threat of a soaking left the Olympic Stadium half empty, with an attendance of 30 000.

The small crowd might also have been a response to last weekend's Clasico defeat, which laid out the red carpet for Real Madrid to whisk away Barcelona's title as well as the detested Monday night slot. LaLiga rescheduled the game at only a week's notice, meaning many could no longer attend.

Those who were present saw a surprisingly entertaining clash.

Visitors Valencia, eighth and striving for European football next season, carved out the best early chances.

Hugo Duro's flick from close range was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. On-loan Real Madrid winger Peter Federico dragged a shot wide when barrelling through on goal.

Barcelona took the lead when Lopez headed home from Raphinha's whipped cross.

Valencia were quickly level after a grievous error by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who ran out of his box to try and intercept a long ball.

He got there first but botched his attempted dink over Duro's head and the striker controlled the ball and held off Ronald Araujo to roll home.


It soon got worse for Barcelona, with Araujo – crucially sent off in the Champions League quarterfinal defeat by Paris Saint-Germain – foolishly giving away a penalty by felling Federico. Valencia midfielder Pepelu fired the penalty down the middle to put Los Che ahead.

The game turned Barcelona's way shortly before the break when Valencia's goalkeeper erred.

Mamardashvili miscontrolled the ball on the edge of his box, giving it away to teenager Lamine Yamal.

As the youngster tried to round the goalkeeper, the Georgian touched the ball with his arm outside the area and, after a VAR review, was dismissed.

Replacement Jaume Domenech saved Raphinha's free-kick, but could not keep out Barcelona's equaliser, early in the second half.

Lewandowski headed home from a corner to start Barcelona's comeback.

The game lurched from end-to-end, with Domenech saving brilliantly from Araujo's header and Barca substitute Pedri making a last-ditch challenge to stop Diego Lopez from striking.

Eventually, Lewandowski nodded Barcelona back in front from close range when Araujo's header from a corner dropped into his path.

The Polish international wrapped up his treble in stoppage time with a well-placed free-kick, his 16th league goal of the season.