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Deportivo La Coruña
1 February 2014
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero
• Attendance: 66969
A. Sánchez 7'
L. Messi 54'
Dani Parejo 44'
P. Piatti 48'
Paco Alcácer 59'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. Have a great night.
It looked like it would be a routine home victory for Barca when Sanchez opened the scoring in the first half but goals from Parejo and Piatti put the visitors ahead just after the interval. Messi equalised from the spot but los Che attacked again and secured the win through Alcacer. Alba was dismissed late on and that ended the Blaugrana hopes of a comeback.
FULL TIME - Barcelona 2-3 Valencia: Los Che pick up their first win at Camp Nou in over 10 years, meaning the Blaugrana could be knocked off their perch at the top of the league. It was an impressive defensive display from the visitors who stunted the Catalan attack but also threatened on the break themselves. Wow. What a game that was.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Diego Alves
90' + 4'
The final whistle goes! Valencia pick up an extremely impressive win at Camp Nou!
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Diego Alves goes into the book for wasting time but he will take that one. The seconds tick by for Barca now.
90' + 2'
UNBELIEVABLE SAVE! That was mesmerising football with Dani Alves, Messi and Iniesta all combining to scythe through the Valencia defence. The move ends with Messi sliding a shot towards the far corner but Diego Alves flicks a foot out to divert the shot wide of the target. Stunning save.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional four minutes.
Messi drifts into space 20 yards from goal and gets ready to pull the trigger. He lets loose with his effort but Romeu storms in front of him to make an important block.
Messi feels he should have a free kick! The Argentine passed the ball into Iniesta and as he went for the return it looked as though Javi Fuego tugged on his shirt. The Valencia man came away with the ball and the referee allowed play to continue.
Federico Nicolás Cartabia
Pizzi decides to bring on more fresh legs as Piatti ambles off of the pitch to be replaced by his compatriot Cartabia.
Barragan has been relentless this afternoon and once more he pushes down the right and slings a cross into the box. Mascherano blocks it at the near post and the Valencia man thinks he did so with his arm, but his appeals are fruitless and he settles for the corner.
An important clearance from Mascherano there as Piatti's cross had evaded Valdes at the near post and Vargas was lurking to add the finishing touch. Barca's threat has been stunted following the dismissal of Alba.
WHAT A SAVE!! Diego Alves gets his fingertips to another searing shot from Dani Alves to turn it around the post. The touch was so light that the referee didn't see it though and a goal kick is given.
THAT IS SO CLOSE! Parejo's delivery almost finds Mathieu at the near post but it is Pique that actually connects with it. Fortunately for him his touch sails over the top, but that could so easily have gone into his own net.
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
A free kick to Valencia on the corner of the box now as Macherano stops Feghouli's pass from getting past with with the use of his arm. Lucky not to get a booking himself there.
Yellow/Red Jordi Alba
BARCELONA ARE DOWN TO 10 MEN! Alba is shown his second yellow card of the game for blocking off Feghouli as the Algerian looked to initiate a counterattack. This task just got harder for the hosts.
Valencia eventually pick up the ball and look to break through Vargas. The Chilean holds up the play well and los Che eventually decide to take some of the sting out of the game and make a number of composed passes before sending it back to Diego Alves.
Barca have just 15 minutes to salvage a result here. Valencia again have everyone but the striker behind the ball here, compressing the space and forcing the hosts to shift the play from flank to flank.
Eduardo Vargas comes on for his debut here. The Chilean is a bullish striker who possess plenty of pace. Watch yourselves Pique and Mascherano!
A great chance for Valencia here as they surge forwards on the counterattack. Alcacer points and asks for Mathieu to slip him in behind, but the Frenchman holds onto it too long and his eventual cross is deal with by the Blaugrana defence capably.
WHAT IS HE DOING?! Diego Alves again takes too long on the ball inside his own area and is closed down by a Blaugrana shirt. He quickly jumps on top of it after being challenged, and it is allowed as there was a slight touch from the opposition following the back pass.
SO CLOSE!! Pedro finally shows his pace out wide and whips a great cross in between the defence and the keeper. Alba is in the box and attacks it at the near post but he is unable to steer it on target to worry Alves.
Barcelona have been top of La Liga for 59 consecutive rounds. Should the game end like this they will be in real danger of seeing that run end. Iniesta attempts to find Alves out on the right but his pass has too much power on it.
Piatti is found in space on the top of the box but his attempts to wriggle between three Barca shirts are fruitless and the ball is hoofed away from danger.
Iniesta is getting stripped on the touchline and looks certain to enter the fray in a few moments. Martino wil certainly be hoping he can unlock this stout Valencia defence now.
Well, well, well! Camp Nou is shellshocked. They are going to have to redouble their efforts yet again to avoid slipping off top spot this weekend.
Assist Sofiane Feghouli
Goal Paco Alcácer
GOOOOOAAL!! VALENCIA ARE BACK AHEAD! This is incredible. Slack defending from Barcea as Feghouli controls the ball inside the box and runs past three Blaugrana shirts. He cuts it back for Alcacer at the near post who sweeps a finish past Valdes.
Good defending from Alba, dispossessing Feghouli inside the box and then stopping the ball from going out for a corner.
That is an important block again from Costa, sliding in to stop Sanchez's cross from finding Messi in the middle of the box. The Portuguese is not letting that penalty incident faze him here.
A draw here still would not be good enough for Barca, though. It would offer both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid the chance to move above them in the table.
Penalty Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOOAAL! Messi lashes the penalty high into the top corner for his first Liga goal since September. Diego Alves got a hand to it, but the power took it up into the top corner.
Yellow Card Ricardo Costa
It looks to have been given for handball, as Ricardo Costa's shoulder deflects Pedro's cushioned pass away from it's destination. He's not happy with that.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
PENALTY TO BARCA!
GOOD SAVE!! Messi shimmies away from Mathieu on the edge of the box and blazes a shot at goal but Diego Alves flings a hand at it and diverts it over the roof of the net.
Well we've got a brilliant second half set up now! Will Valencia sit back and hope to frustrate Barca similarly as they did during the first half? You would expect so, but the hosts will certainly step up their attempts to find the net now.
Goal Pablo Piatti
GOOOOOOAAL!! PIATTI PUTS VALENCIA AHEAD! Unbelievable. Barragan once more surges down the right and whips a great ball in from the right. Alcacer loops it up with a flick on at the near post and Piatti leaps heroically into the air, soaring over Alves and lofting a header over Valdes and into the net.
We are back underway for the second half.
HALF TIME - Barcelona 1-1 Valencia: Sanchez gave the Blaugrana an early lead but the finishing soon deserted the Blaugrana despite dominating possession during the first half. Los Che had threatened on the break and they made it count on the stroke of half time as Feghouli set up Parejo for the equaliser. Pizzi looks to have got it spot on so far, but we still have another 45 minutes to play. Be sure to stick around for them!
Welcome back! The teams are back out on the pitch and the second half will begin imminently.
45' + 2'
The referee blows for half time.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Parejo
45' + 1'
That is clumsy from Parejo, grabbing Messi by the shoulders 30 yards from goal. The Argentine whips the resultant free kick into the box but Diego Alves deals with it comfortably.
Just one minute of additional time to be played.
Assist Sofiane Feghouli
GOOOOOOAAL!! Valencia level it! Barca are guilty of complacency as they give away possession in their own half and Parejo brings it forward. He slides Feghouli in at the byeline and he cuts it back to the ex-Real Madrid man who passes into an empty net.
So close! Messi does brilliantly to pick out Sanchez on the right side of the box and the Chilean attempts to return the favour with a whipped cross to the back post, but he is unable to get on the end of it.
Valencia may be happy to go in behind by just one goal as things stand at the moment. However, they have only threatened in parts and will need to show more conviction or Barca will grind out another goal.
STAT: Lionel Messi has not scored in La Liga since finding the net in the 2-0 win away at Almeria back on September 28.
HOW HAS HE MISSED!! Valdes comes to claim a corner and completely misses it. Costa therefore has the whole goal to head the ball into but he somehow puts it wide of the target. That should have been the equaliser.
This is a good spell of pressure from Valencia, with Barca temporarily down to 10 men. Barragan clips a pass over the top for Feghouli but Busquets steps in and knocks it behind for a corner kick. The break in play offers a chance for Mascherano to re-enter the action.
Busquets is dispossessed in midfield and los Che break with some neat passing. Feghouli sprays a pass out to Barragan but his cross is blocked by Mascherano on the far side. The Argentine has stayed down, clutching his midriff, so Bartra steps up his warm up on the touchline.
Valencia have an opportunity to break down the middle with Piatti and he feeds Alcacer, but the striker's return pass is poor and Valdes is able to smother the ball inside his box.
Xavi, Fabregas and Messi combine well but the former Arsenal man's flicked lay off for the Argentine is just too short and Valencia are able to come away with the ball.
Valencia are camped back in their own final third with a bank of five midifielders ahead of their defensive four. It is restricting the space in which Barca can operate at the moment, but they are by no means impenetrable.
STAT: Barca have had 14 efforts on goal already today, with Valencia only mustering two. That shows you just how one-sided this has been, but with still just one goal in it you cannot count the visitors out.
BRILLIANT BLOCK! Yet again Los Che are caught short defensively and Pedro slides a pass in behind for Messi. Mathieu matches his stride across the area and gets his body in the way of the Argentine's effort.
Dani Alves is guilty of poor decision-making there as he attempts to find Messi with an impossible pass after the Argentine had slipped him in down the right. His cross went straight to Mathieu and the attack broke down.
Los Che are leaving themselves too exposed in defence here. You have to credit them for pushing numbers forwards when they have the ball, but they really need to make sure they put the same amount of effort into getting back or this could get ugly.
TWO MORE CHANCES FOR BARCA!! First Diego Alves palms a Messi effort behind for a corner at his near post and then just moments later he has to scramble across goal with a long-distance effort from Dani Alves whistling towards the target. The right-back's shot is brilliantly-struck, but bends wide of the post.
Messi guilty of being a little greedy there! Barca had the opposing defence in a compromising four-on-three and Messi opted to go for goal rather than slipping a pass to Alba. His shot was deflected behind and he instantly apologised to the left-back.
GREAT SAVE!! Valencia are caught short at the back and Pedro puts a left-footed cross to the back post. Once more Sanchez is there to meet it but he sends his header straight at Diego Alves, but the keeper still does brilliantly to punch it away from danger.
That could have been brilliant! More sumptuous football from Barca as Xavi spots Alves making a diagonal run into the area and picks him out with an arrowed pass from the middle. The Brazilian attempts to cushion the ball into the centre but his control lets him down as he puts it behind for a goal kick.
That is risky from Diego Alves! The keeper took too long on the ball after receiving it from Mathieu and was quickly closed down by Messi. Under pressure, the Brazilian could only hack his clearance out for a throw in.
JUST OVER!! Another short corner routine from Barca is used to tee up Busquets for a shot from just over 20 yards. He puts plenty of whip on it but it lacks enough dip to worry Diego Alves, instead dropping on the roof of the net.
Nice idea from Romeu there, switching the play out to the right as Barragan surged up from defence. The right-back's touch was lacking, though, and he failed to keep the ball in play.
Alcacer's movement has been bright so far as he continually looks to make runs in behind the Barcelona defence. This time the pass is slightly overhit and the striker cannot get to the ball before Valdes.
GOOD SAVE!! Los Che have their first decent spell in possession and they use it well, with Feghouli pulling a strong save from Valdes with a 20-yard effort from the far side. The keeper did well to get down to it and parry it off to his right. Valencia clearly not flustered by that early goal and remain capable of playing some good football.
That is a fantastic challenge from Costa! The Portuguese centre-back slid in and hooked the ball away from the magical feet of Messi as he moved into the area.
STAT: Valencia have not beaten Barcelona in La Liga since 2007, when they ran out 2-1 winners at Mestalla. You have to go back to 2003 for their last triumph at Camp Nou, though, when a Ricardo Oliveira goal provided a 1-0 win.
Assist Lionel Messi
Goal Alexis Sánchez
GOOOOAAL!! Sanchez scores from an impossible angle! Romeu concedes possession on the edge of his own box and Messi fires a low cross-cum-shot towards the far side. Sanchez picks it up at an acute angle and somehow clips a shot over Diego Alves and in off the bar. Super stuff.
Barca are playing some lovely football in these early stages. Messi clips a brilliant diagonal pass over the defence but Barragan sweeps it behind with Xavi waiting to finish.
WHAT A CHANCE! An absolutely exquisite pass from deep sails over the top of the Valencia defence but Sancez is just about beaten to it by Diego Alves. He knocks the ball away but Messi picks it up and slides a pass into the area but as Sanchez tries to flick the ricocheting ball into the net he is labelled offside.
Valencia manage to win the ball down on the near side and they look to catch Barca on the break. Parejo feeds Alcacer down the left but the striker's cross into the box is plucked out of the sky by an unchallenged Valdes.
Barca instantly monopolise the ball and force Valencia back into their own half. Los Che have everyone bar Alcacer back to help out defensively as the hosts probe for an opening. Possession is eventually switched out to Dani Alves but his cross flies straight into the arms of Diego Alves.
We are underway at Camp Nou!
The referee blows his whistle to bring the silence to a close and so the game will begin in a matter of moments.
The teams are out on the pitch and there will be a minute of remembrance for the aforementioned Luis Aragones.
I have already mentioned Barca's sublime current record in front of their own fans. In fact, they have been victorious in their last seven home matches against Valencia in all competitions. The omens certainly aren't good for los Che.
No Neymar for Barca again today as the Brazilian remains sidelined due to injury. Lionel Messi is therefore joined in attack by Alexis Sanchez and Pedro this afternoon. Valencia, meanwhile, have new signings Ruben Vezo and Eduardo Vargas on the bench, while Oriol Romeu makes his return to Camp Nou with a starting berth in midfield.
Valencia subs: Guaita, Portu, Ibanez, Vezo, Jonas, Michel, Vargas.
Valencia (4-2-3-1): Alves; Barragan, R. Costa, Mathieu, Bernat; Romeu, Javi Fuego; Feghouli, Parejo, Piatti; Alcacer.
Barcelona subs: Pinto, Bartra, Adriano, Song, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Tello.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Fabregas, Busquets, Xavi; Sanchez, Messi, Pedro.
One member of that European Championship-winning squad, Andres Iniesta, only makes the bench this afternoon as he continues his return to fitness. Full line-ups coming your way now.
Today's game may be somewhat overshadowed by the sad news that former Barcelona, Valencia and Spain national team coach Luis Aragones has passed away. He lifted the Copa del Rey as Blaugrana boss in 1988 and will be remembered fondly across the nation for leading Spain to victory in Euro 2008.
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's LIVE play-by-play commentary as Barcelona host Valencia in La Liga at Camp Nou. Today's visitors are struggling in mid-table and may not be relishing facing a Blaugrana outfit who have won all of their last 25 home league matches. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through what promises to be an exciting game.
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