Ansu Fati scored on his first start of the season for Barcelona in a 3-1 win over Valencia in La Liga at the Camp Nou. The teenager, who is just back from 10 months out with a knee injury, needed just 13 minutes to get on the scoresheet with a fine strike.
Barcelona’s new No. 10 also posted an unreal stat during the game when his goal flew past goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. The goal means the striker has scored 11 times from his last 16 efforts on target, as shown by Opta.
Fati’s goal made it 1-1 to Barcelona after Jose Gaya had put Valencia ahead in the fifth minute. The teenager then won a penalty from which Memphis Depay made it 2-1 to the hosts, before Philippe Coutinho scored his first of the season to wrap up a 3-1 victory.
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Frenkie de Jong Praises Ansu Fati
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong praised Fati after the win over Valencia. The three points see Barca move up to seventh place in the table and just two points behind rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
De Jong told Movistar that it was important to return to winning ways, after defeats to Benfica and Atletico, and to have Fati back in the starting XI once again, as reported by Marca.
“It is very important to win, it is a key week in the season. We are starting the week well. Now we have to add confidence, it is very important for the team,” he said. “Ansu is very important with his speed, his one on one … and he also has a goal. We are very happy that he is back. Now we have to prepare Kiev and then the Clasico. The fans are very positive, it helps us a lot.”
Barcelona welcome Dynamo Kiev to the Camp Nou on Wednesday in the Champions League and need a victory after suffering consecutive 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in their opening two group stage matches.
Ronald Koeman’s side then face another crunch game on Sunday, October 24 when Real Madrid visit the Camp Nou in La Liga. A victory over Los Blancos would see Barca leapfrog Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the table.
Koeman Talks Ansu Fitness
Fati was replaced on 59 minutes by Coutinho with Barca keen to handle his return after such a lengthy lay-off carefully. Koeman spoke about the decision to take Fati off so early after the match, as reported by Marca.
“We try to get Ansu Fati to the maximum, it has been his first start and we have agreed that change with the doctors so as not to burden him with minutes so soon,” he explained. “We lacked players like Ansu. He has speed, one on one … it’s not a change that we want to make normally but we have to do it for physical reasons.”
It’s not clear yet if Fati will start again in midweek in the Champions League or whether Koeman will opt to keep the teenager on the bench with a view to starting him in El Clasico on Sunday.
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