8th October, 2018
It was a game in which both teams needed a win.
Before this match, Valencia had won just one of their first seven Liga encounters. As for Barcelona, they have not won in their last three LaLiga matches. And so, it was expected that something was going to change for either of the two teams at the end of the match. But alas, it was not to be, as both battled to a 1-1draw at the Mestalla.
It proved to be a hotly contested game though, with Valencia entering into it the stronger team and their efforts paying off as early as in the 2nd minute of the game.
Their first goal came as a corner kick into the near post bounced off Gerard Pique, and that deflection found Ezequiel Garay who wasted no time in scoring the first goal of the match.
One would have expected that to be a wake up call for the Barca players but it was not to be as Valencia continued to dominate the game in those early minutes of the game. They came close to scoring their second goal of the match through Michy Batshuayi, but the visitor’s goal-keeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen was able to save the situation.
The hosts unfortunately lost star winger Goncalo Guedes due to injury in the 12th minute and that somehow dis-organised their game as Barcelona came stronger into the game in search of an equaliser.
When Barcelona starts looking for a much needed goal, then there is one man you need to watch out for as long as he is on the field of play – Lionel Messi.
The mercurial striker somehow found himself with a bit of space roughly 30 yards away from goal, and that’s all he needs to make things happen. Messi had a one-two with Luis Suárez, before placing a shot into the bottom right corner from roughly 20 yards out to make the scoreline stand at 1-1.
That seemed to be a wake-up call for Valencia as they came out blazing in search of another goal. They got the chances to score but frittered them away as both Denis Cheryshev – who had come in to replace Guedes – and Jose Gaya had chances to score, but missed them.
With the way the first half was hotly contested, the fans expected a very interesting second half game but that was not to be. Both teams just could not match their first half performances as they could not manage to create clear scoring chances.
Of course, there were a few of those that fell to Messi and Philippe Coutinho but nothing came out of them. Valencia also did not fare much better as Cheryshev and Gameiro looked active but somehow could match their first half performance as they failed to threaten the visitor’s defence line as expected.
This ultimately culminated in the game ending in a 1-1 draw that did no good to any of the two teams.
The consequence of this result has Barcelona dropping to the second position on the league table on 15 points with only their superior goals advantage putting them ahead of Atletico Madrid who are also on 15 points.
As for Valencia, they are in a very precarious situation as they occupy the 14th position with 9 points on the log with superior goals advantage separating them from Girona who are on the same number of points.
Valencia: Neto (6); Piccini (6), Garay (7), Gabriel (6), Gaya (5); Soler (5), Parejo (7), Kondogbia (6) (Coquelin (-), 79′), Guedes (-) (Cheryshev (6), 12′); Batshuayi (5), Gameiro (6) (Rodrigo (5), 67′)
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen (6); Semedo (6), Pique (6), Vermaelen (4), Jordi Alba (6); Rakitic (6), Busquets (7), Arthur (6) (Rafinha (-), 88′); Messi (8), Suárez (6), Coutinho (5) (Dembele (-), 84′)
Goals: Garay (1-0, 2′), Messi (1-1, 23′)