Alaves 0-1 Barcelona summary: score, goals, highlights, LaLiga
Alavés 0-1 Barcelona: as it happened
Alavés 0-1 Barcelona: match summary
Barcelona moved to within a point of Atlético Madrid and the Champions League places following a 1-0 victory at Alavés, courtesy of a Frenkie de Jong strike that the home side felt should have been ruled out for offside. The Netherlands midfielder had strayed beyond the last defender but backtracked to receive a Ferran Torres layoff and planted the ball past Fernando Pacheco in the 87th minute.
VAR had a look and decided the goal was legal, despite the protestations of the home side, led by José Luis Mendilibar, who was sent off for his take on the matter.
Alavés had at least two gilt-edged chances to take the lead, both falling to Pere Pons, and late on Joselu conspired to head wide from a few metres out with only Marc-André ter Stegen to beat.
El Glorioso will take heart from having played well, defended solidly and showed further evidence that they are adapting to incoming boss Mendilibar's preferred style, but that will be scant consolation when the table is viewed in the cafés of Vitoria on Monday morning to show Alavés still firmly in relegation trouble.
That victory takes Barça up to fifth, within a point of Atlético Madrid.
Ter Stegen gathers the delivery and there's no time for anything else! The ref blows and Barça carve out a vital victory that will be the focus of several back pages tomorrow due to that offside decision.
Joselu! A half chance and the striker tries his luck, it hits Araújo for a corner and Pacheco is coming up....!
And Mendilibar gets his marching orders for his observations on that.
Alba goes down after running into Laguardia and stays down, much to the annoyance of Alavés.
Three minutes added.
Pedri heads off for Barça, Lenglet on as Xavi looks to run down the clock.
Toni Moya on for Pina while VAR was doing its thing.
The Dutchman has a tap-in from Torres' layoff after nice build-up play from Barça. Alavés appeal for offside and it'll be checked.
Gooooooooooooooooool! Frenkie de Jong!
Xavi rolls the dice, Jutglá coming on for Luuk de Jong.
Jason protests his innocence as the ref blows for a foul on Alba. The delivery takes a nick on its way through though and skies into the gloves of Pacheco.
Solid defending from Araújo to deny the fresh legs of De la Fuente a clear path to goal.
Ten minutes left in Mendizorrotza and on current balance, Alavés look the most likely to nick this.
Joselu! Jason sends in a cross that beats the defence and the striker meets it full tilt but somehow manages to miss the target!
That Barça change has seen Xavi switch to a 3-4-3 with Dest and Alba pushed up as wing backs.
Hello, Pina goes down in the area and Alavés are convinced they have a penalty! Nico body checked the Alavés midfielder but the ref rules he had no opportunity to get out of the way, nutmegged as he was.
Decent opportunity for Alavés as Alba catches Laguardia.
And for Alavés, as Pons makes way for Miguel de la Fuente.
Change for Barça: Abde off, Nico on.
De Jong delivers, De Jong meets, but his header clips a defender and it's out for a corner.
Free kick for Barça as Pedri is taken down by the indefatigable Pina.
Alavés have a brief respite as Pedri trips Pina. Changes imminent on the touchline.
Pacheco! Pedri's low free kick eludes everyone and falls to the feet of Piqué, who is denied on the line by a sprawling save!
Aguirregabiria! What a tackle from behind to prevent De Jong from pulling the trigger when clean through! The flag was up, but neither player knew that.
Abde twists and turns on the right and flashes a shot over when a cross may have been more prudent.
Alavés have a glorious chance as the ball falls kindly for a break but Joselu can't thread the ball to Rioja. Mendilibar needs more support for the lone striker here.
Movement on the Alavés bench as well now.
Barça have a free kick in midfield as Laguardia clatters into Torres.
Frenkie de Jong goes down under a challenge from Tomás Pina and appeals for a card but the ref says a foul will suffice. No yellows so far.
Pons! Another golden chance for the Spaniard, who turns Joselu's low cross across the face of goal away from Ter Stegen rather than towards him. It was a tricky chance but again, Alavés are not going to get too many.
De Jong! Great work from Abde and the Dutch striker almost connects in front of goal.
14,056 hardy souls in a freezing Mendizorrotza this evening.
We're back underway! No changes at half time.
And there's the whistle! 0-0 it remains at half time, with Barça bossing possession but Alavés looking dangerous on the break.
Pons! The midfielder's hands go to his head as he's played in and hits a shot straight at Ter Stegen with Rioja coming into the area unattended. Pons apologises instantly: he knows Alavés may have one or two more chances like that, at best.
The vast majority of Barça attacks are being forged down the Alavés left, bread and butter for a coach of Mendilibar's wiles to counter. Nico also out to stretch his legs on the touchline, a possible answer to that issue for Xavi.
Joselu finally warms Ter Stegen's gloves with a mishit cross.
Martin Braithwaite is out to warm up... not sure if that's ahead of a change after the break or because someone in Barça's front line is carrying a niggle.
Pedri manages to turn the delivery goalwards, but Pacheco gathers with little fuss.
You fancy if Alavés are going to get anything out of tonight's game, they'l need to capitalize on opportunities like that. Now Barça have another corner, which the visitors have not made much use of either.
Jason swings it into the area but Piqué clears.
Rioja hits it and it fails to clear the two-man wall, but Abde is pulled up for handball. The ref's spray can inches closer to the area...
Barça have mustered five shots so far, Alavés zero. The hosts will have another free kick opportunity from just outside the area on the left now though.
Torres! The new Barça signing won't be checking Spain's version of Match of the Day to review that one, an attempted powerful curler flying into the Vitoria night.
Close! Laguardia nicks the ball off Busquets' boot as he was shaping to shoot. Piqué gets a sniff from the resulting corner but the ball hits his head and shoulder and spins over.
Mendilibar's decision to bolster the midfield with a five-man deployment is working a treat so far, forcing Barça out wide where Alavés are well equipped to deal with any threat. Abde has been very quiet on the left.
Bit of a kerfuffle as Mendilibar attempts to stop Busquets taking a quick throw with the ref having a look at Joselu, who got a ball in the face. Quickly resolved though and Piqué diplomatically lobs it back towards Ter Stegen.
Araújo clears and there's a bit of concern as Laguardia and Alba go down after a clash of heads but both players are fine and climb gingerly to their feet.
Alavés have a decent looking free kick on the left as Dest trips Javi López. The hosts are very handy from set pieces.
Dest has been the forgotten man under Xavi but the US international has been one of Barça's best attacking outlets in the opening 20 mins.
Possession stats on 15 minutes
De Jong! The Dutch striker has been one of the main beneficiaries of Xavi's clean slate and he almost adds another to his recent haul with a decent volley that flashes wide.
What a ball from Alba! The Barça defender caresses it with the outside of his boot and Pedri should have done better there, his touch letting him down in the area.
Barça are bossing the ball at the moment, Alavés looking to hit on the break through the pace of Rioja.
Lovely stuff from Torres, who races down the right and squares for Pedri. Laguardia clears the lines for Alavés but the flag was up in any case.
Barça are knocking the ball about confidently in the opening exchanges. It's a nice bit of turf at Mendizorrotza, perfect for a crisp passing game.
Barça win an early corner as Ferran Torres glides into the area.
Off we go! Barça get the ball rolling in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Fireworks light up the sky over the stadium.... Alavés are celebrating 101 years of history today.
The teams are in the tunnel now and we're about to get underway in Mendizorrotza
- 1Ter Stegen
- 2Sergiño Dest
- 4Ronald Araújo
- 21Frenkie De Jong
- 17Luuk de Jong
- 19Ferrán Torres
A confirmation of the line-ups
- 21Martín Aguirregabiria
- 27Javi López
- 11Luis Rioja
- 20Pere Pons
It's already been quite a weekend in LaLiga, with some of the big guns being held until the final stages.
It's a nippy one in Vitoria this evening, just 2º Celsius in Mendizorrotza.
Alavés XI confirmed
No major surprises from Mendilibar, who seems to have settled on a 4-4-2 since he arrived at the helm a few weeks ago. Luis Rioja, who is quicksilver when he gets going, will lead the line with Joselu.
Barcelona XI confirmed
There's a rare start for Sergiño Dest as Ronald Araújo is needed in the middle this evening, while exciting Barça B wide man Ez Abde is handed another chance to impress.
As ever, we've put together a preview of tonight's game with some info on how you can follow the game where you are.
Alavés haven't won a game since 6 November, when they beat rock-bottom Levante at Mendizorrotza, but they have drawn their last three at home, against Getafe, Real Sociedad and Athletic.
Alavés team news
Mendilibar is missing just Rubén Duarte and Ximo Navarro for tonight's game, but changes are to be expected after Alavés were thumped 4-0 at Betis last time out.
Barcelona team news
Xavi has faced multiple isses since taking over at Camp Nou but his injury and covi issues have been lessening in recent weeks. The Barça boss remains without Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto and Eric García at the back, while Ansu Fati suffered another setback in the Copa defeat against Athletic in midweek. Gavi is suspended, which is a huge blow to Barça's creativity, while Ousmane Dembélé has been ruled out with a stomach issue.
Fans of end to end deluges of goals may be disappointed this evening: to add to Barça's shyness in front of the sticks, no side in the top flight has managed fewer than Alavés' 16 in 21 games.
That is hardly the sort of form to prevent Alavés from thinking they can upset the odds here, even if the odds on such upsets have been getting shorter by the week for the visitors this season. El Glorioso could certainly do with the points. Cádiz's win at Levante plunged José Luis Mendílibar's side further into the schtuck and it's going to be a dogfight at the bottom with the cut-off point for safety likely to be well below the traditional 40-point mark.
Barcelona have enjoyed a slight upturn in fortune in LaLiga since the 1-0 home defeat by Betis in early December and are at the gates of Europe after going unbeaten in five but goals remain the issue for Xavi's side. In their last three, Barça have drawn 1-1 with Sevilla, beaten Mallorca 1-0 and were then held 1-1 by Granada.
The return fixture this season ended 1-1 in Camp Nou but Alavés have not beaten Barça in the league since 2016, with a 2-1 away win. The last time the sides met in Mendizorrotza, in the 2020-21 season, honours were even in another 1-1 draw.
Alavés vs Barcelona: welcome
Hello and welcome to AS USA's live coverage of the LaLiga Week 22 match between Alavés and Barcelona from the Mendizorrotza stadium in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Kick-of is at 21:00 CET.