Barcelona extended their advantage at the top of La Liga with a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid, though it was far from a compelling performance.
The Catalans secured their first league win at the Nou Camp since midway through January courtesy of none other than Lionel Messi.
The Argentine converted a penalty won by Gerard Pique just prior to half-time, proving the difference in establishing his side’s seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid.
However, Messi hit the target with only five of his 12 shots and missed a second penalty in what can only be described as a poor outing.
Being one of the rarest occurrences in football, his off-colour display drew most of the attention, although none of his teammates were any better.
Kevin-Prince Boateng also drew his fair share of the spotlight in what was his league debut for the club he rather surprisingly joined from Sassuolo last month.
Moreover, Ernesto Valverde chose to deploy him as the central member of a three-pronged attack alongside Messi and Ousmane Dembele.
The Ghanian was afforded an hour of action until Luis Suarez was called upon from the bench - perhaps more than a bit later than Barca fans would’ve liked.
Boateng managed only two shots and a pass accuracy of 75 per cent before being replaced by his new Uruguayan colleague - who tested Jordi Masip three times in his brief cameo.
The numbers suggest it was an easy decision for Valverde to drag him off with half an hour remaining, ending a forgettable first day at the office for the 31-year-old.
As expected, the Barcelona faithful weren’t feeling particularly patient as they watched Boateng struggle to impose himself in a team of world-class players.
After making his bow in a 2-0 Copa del Rey loss to Sevilla, Boateng hasn't really capitalised on either of his two opportunities to impress.
He arguably needed to score against Valladolid to have any hope of shaking off the negative connotations of his shock signing.
Then again, few players can walk the Barcelona walk without soaking up at least a month or two of experience at the club.
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