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La Liga: Lionel Messi Gets 20th Assist as Barcelona Grind Out 1-0 Win over Valladolid to Stay on Real Madrid's Heels

Lionel Messi and Artutro Vidal (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Lionel Messi and Artutro Vidal (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Arturo Vidal scored the only goal of the match with the help of Lionel Messi's 20th assist this season as Barcelona beat Real Valladolid in La Liga.

Lionel Messi notched a 20th assist of the season to help a lacklustre Barcelona secure a 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid on Saturday, maintaining the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal struck the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, firing into the net off the post after being played in by Messi, who now has 20 assists in the league to go with his 22 goals.

Yet Barca failed to build on their early advantage and were forced to grind out the victory in the second half as Valladolid took the game to them.

The win took second-placed Barca on to 79 points after 36 games, one behind Real Madrid who can restore their four-point advantage when they visit Granada on Monday.

Should Real beat Granada and follow that with victory at home to Villarreal on Thursday, they will be crowned champions for the first time since 2017.

Valladolid meanwhile are 14th on 39, seven above the relegation zone.

"It was a very difficult game against a team who know how to play well and did just that today. The hot conditions also complicated things for us but I'm pleased we won," said match-winner Vidal.

"We knew that we’d have to work very hard and wouldn’t be able to maintain our pace throughout, we know we want to improve but we’ve kept ourselves in the title race that’s the important thing."

Valladolid’s Turkish forward Enes Unal forced Barca’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to stretch across goal and tip away his shot, moments after Kike Perez had missed the target from inside the area as the home side made a lively start after the break.