Barcelona thrashed Valencia 4-1, Sevilla fell behind against Espanyol

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his debut as Barcelona’s goalscorer by celebrating a brace in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Valencia in the Spanish league.

The Gabonese striker opened the scoring at the Mestalla after controlling a deep pass from Jordi Alba, headed for goal and sealed his first goal as a Barça player with a powerful shot up in the 23rd minute.

Shortly before the break, Aubameyang completed his double by finishing off a pass from the right wing by Gavi in ​​the 38th minute.

In a dream first half for the visitors, Frenkie de Jong scored his third goal of the season, shaking the nets in the 32nd minute when he took advantage of a diagonal pass served by Ousmane Dembélé from the heart of the area.

Pedri made the victory more resounding with a superb right foot from outside the area in the 63rd, one that Aubameyang managed to graze, embedding the ball next to the crossbar before goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili’s useless shot.

“We have been very effective and have given us control of the game”, commented Barça midfielder Sergio Busquets. “In other games, not being effective, made the rivals get into the game and today it hasn’t happened”.

Carlos Soler discounted for the hosts in the 52nd minute, diving to hit a Bryan Gil cross with his head.

Barcelona responded to the previous day’s wins by Atlético de Madrid — 3-0 over Osasuna — and Villarreal — 4-1 over Granada — to regain fourth place. They reached 42 points and have a game pending.

The Catalans are 15 units behind the leader Real Madrid, who defeated Alavés 3-0 on Saturday.

Valencia continues in free fall as it strings together its seventh day without a victory — five losses and two draws — placing itself in 12th position with 30 units. They have failed to win in the league so far in 2022.

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Aubameyang was the latest signing to join Barcelona over the winter transfer window limit as he left Arsenal. In the middle of the week he started for the first time in the first leg of the tie against Napoli. The 32-year-old veteran striker became the first Gabonese footballer to score a goal in the Spanish league.

Valencia, which disputes the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, ran into bad luck in the attack zone after an advanced position by José Gayá spoiled a shot that ended up in the bottom of the goal, after a mistake by the goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, minutes after being down on the scoreboard.

In the final stretch of the first half, referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande resorted to video replay to point out that the ball had gone out before Soler managed to execute a bicycle kick to score a goal that did not go up on the scoreboard at 42.

SEVILLE BEHIND

Sevilla was unable to maintain the advantage and equalized 1-1 on their visit to Espanyol, a result with which they dropped in the fight for the top with Madrid.

Rafa Mir opened the scoring for the Andalusian team at 36, but Sergi Darder equalized at 50 for the home side.

Sevilla left points along the way to stay with 51, six behind the leader.

The bad news for the Andalusians was harder when French defender Jules Koundé was sent off in the 76th minute, for which he will miss the derby against Real Betis the next day.

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