Valencia 2-2 Barcelona: Fabregas nets late leveller as champions twice come from behind
Honours even at the Mestalla as the Catalan giants played out an entertaining clash with the Andalucian side, who remain top of the table with Barca settling for third place
By Martin Macdonald
The hosts went into half time with a 2-1 advantage after an own goal from Eric Abidal and a Pablo Hernandez strike. However, a Pedro effort in the first half and a Cesc Fabregas strike late in the second period gave Pep Guardiola's men a share of the points, in what was an enthralling, end-to-end encounter.
The home side took the lead over the champions in the 12th minute when Jeremy Mathieu made a strong run down the left hand side and fizzed a ball into the Barcelona penalty area where Eric Abidal accidentally glanced the ball into his own net.
This lead was short lived, however, as the visitors equalised just two minutes later when Lionel Messi slipped a pass down the left of the Valencia box for Pedro who managed to squeeze the ball past Guaita at his near post with a left footed shot.
Barcelona grew into the game from this moment, and perhaps should have had a penalty when Rami brought down Messi in the penalty area.
Valencia regained the lead half way through the first half, when Mathieu, again, drove to the byline and whipped in a cross, and this time it was Pablo who came in totally unmarked at the back post and finished expertly with a first time shot into the bottom right corner.
In front of a vibrant Mestalla crowd, the hosts took the game to the champions in the first half, constantly stifling Barcelona's attacks with intense pressing and brilliant anticipation. They were always a threat on the counter attack and should have took a two goal lead when Roberto Soldado got on the end of another Mathieu cross but agonizingly missed from a yard.
The second half was a tighter affair than the first period, with both sides involves in a midfield battle. However it was Barcelona who looked most likely to score and they eventually grabbed the equaliser when Lionel Messi clipped a pass over the Valencia defence to Cesc Fabregas who coolly passed the ball into the bottom left corner.
Pep Guardiola's side probed for a winner in the last few but Unai Emery's men remained solid to hold out for an impressive victory.
This result leaves Barcelona fourth place in La Liga whereas Valencia find themselves proudly top of the table with an unbeaten record so far.
|William Hill: £25 in free bets|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
- Own Goal
- Penalty Missed
- Yellow Card
- Penalty Save
- Penalty Shootout Goal
- Penalty Shootout Miss
- Yellow Card / Red Card
- Red Card
- Substitution IN
- Substitution OUT
- Goal.com Rating
- Goal.com Man of the Match
- Goal.com Flop of the Match
- Top & Flop Global Ranking
- Fans' Man of the Match
- Fans' Flop of the Match