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Celta de Vigo
21 September 2011
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 52250
It turns out Alba insulted the linesman.
Valencia fans are pouring the insults down on the referee. Still no explanation for the red card. .
And that's that. I'll stay on here to tell you all what happened to David Alba if anyone actually knows. Perhaps the referee realised that Barca were playing against 11 men.
90' + 3'
Fantastic defending from Rami as Messi advanced through the box. Miguel may have fouled the World Player of the Year there.
90' + 2'
Jordi Alba has been sent off, but no one quite knows why...
90' + 1'
Red Card Jordi Alba
Nervous moments for Valencia. Messi picks out David Villa, but Guiata makes a fantastic save from point blank range, before a cross drifts agonisingly across the Valencia goal. Still 2-2 though.
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
Valencia break away with Piatti, but Mascherano scythes his compatriot down. He was lucky not to see red.
Yellow Card Jonas
Jonas gets booked after a foul on Busquets, followed by a bit of petulance his victim would be proud of - kicking the ball away.
Heart in mouth time for Valencia fans. Messi receives the ball in the box from Xavi's through ball, but is offside. Excellent officiating all day today, apart from the Messi penalty shout.
Valencia are given the advantage after a foul, but the fall goes to Jonas, who's appalling shot goes well wide.
Valencia fans want a penalty for a crunching tackle from Alves on Piatti. It was well timed though. The hosts waste the corner.
Corner for Barcelona, but Guaita comes and claims the ball.
Tino Costa's set piece is punched away by Valdes into the path of Banega, but the Argentine international's shot is charged down.
Assist Lionel Messi
Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOAL! 2-2! Messi chips the ball forward to Fabregas, and the former Arsenal man get's his fourth goal in four Barca games with a sly left footed finish. Barca back on terms.
Messi is played onside by Rami, but Guiata comes charging out of his goal and claims the ball at the diminutive forward's feet.
Barca attack through Fabregas and Messi, but the pair are under supreme pressure from the defence and Guaita claims the ball.
Mathieu is being withdrawn to a standing ovation from his fans. He's had a great game. Pablo Piatti comes on.
Messi collects the ball on the right, exchanges one-twos with Cesc and Adriano, but Banega gets back and breaks up play. Fantastic defensive play from Valencia.
Adriano gets past Alba, but great covering defending from Mathieu puts it out for a corner.
As close as Barca have come to a goal. Mascherano has a blast from distance and it clips the top of the bar. The champions are pushing. Meanwhile, Canales is withdrawn in favour of Jonas.
Counter attack from Valencia - Soldado does well, put his pass to Pablo Hernandez is cut out by Mascherano.
Barcelona are pushing - this game is losing it's edge. Fabregas cowardly dives for another penalty.
Thiago Alcantara has come on for Barca - in place of Carles Puyol. Busquets and Mascherano at the back now.
Adriano's on for Keita too - he's playing right wing. I wouldn't have taken Pedro off.
David Villa gets his first touch, and it's one that rules him offside following Messi's pass.
Surprisingly, it's Pedro who comes off. The Valencia fans give their former talisman a good reception.
The home coming is upon us. David Villa is ready to be introduced for Barcelona.
Xavi plays a masterful ball forward to Fabregas, but the former Arsenal skipper makes no attempt to get to the ball, and looks for the penalty. Not given, quite rightly.
Yellow Card Canales
Another big miss from Valencia, and another one from Soldado. This time the hosts attack down the right, and Soldado scuffs his shot from the cut back. They need to start taking their chances in order to take three points.
Soldado, now wearing the arm band, lays it back to Ever Banega whose volley is scooped over the top.
Fabregas taps it back to Abidal, but god knows what the Frenchman was doing there - his cross/shot/hit & hope goes gifts Valencia a free kick. Meanwhile David Villa has started his warm up on the touch line.
Ever Bangega beats his man with a great piece of skill, but his shot from distance is tame and goes some distance wide.
David Albelda has been substituted, with Tino Costa coming on. Big blow for Valencia. He took a hit towards the end of the first half.
Goal.com's very own Ben Hayward is in the stadium tonight, and he says: "The big band are playing in the centre circle here, but they are making nothing like the noise the Valencia fans made in the first half. They are up for it at Mestalla. And so are their team."
If you want to hazard any predictions about this game or this season's La Liga, you can tweet them to me @eniskoylu. It could be a great title race in Spain this year.
So, half-time at the Mestalla. Can Valencia hold on or even extend their lead tonight? Or will the champions come back and get a fantastic away win?
45' + 1'
Jordi Alba nicks the ball of Xavi on the edge of the box as Barca dither in attack, and that's the last action of the first half. A deserved lead for Valencia at the break.
Half time approaching in Valencia and this has been a really impressive performance from the hosts. They lead the champions 2-1 and have had the better of them, beating them at their own game. Soldado should have made it three.
Roberto Soldado does his best Fernando Torres impression. Mathieu almost makes it a hat-trick of assists, squaring the ball to the in form striker, but a touch from Valdes takes it away from him, and it goes wide. A true open goal.
We're undergoing a momentary delay while David Albelda gets some treatment.
Yellow Card Roberto Soldado
Valencia think they have a penalty after Soldado plays the ball onto Puyol's arm, and arguably the third decent appeal is turned down. A minute later, it goes from bad to worse for Soldado, after he's booked for backing into the Barca captain.
Fantastic game so far. A good pass for Pedro to run on to is claimed by Guaita after Rami held the Spanish forward off.
Banega's turn to attack down the left wing, but Mascherano gets back and robs his Argentina team mate of the ball.
Barcelona almost score a bizarre equaliser. A completely mistimed shot from Alves strikes Pedro, but the ball goes wild. Pedro was offside anyway.
Valencia have gone longer without conceding this time around than after getting the first. More good work down the Valencia left, but Keita drops back and rescues his side.
Assist Jérémy Mathieu
Goal Pablo Hernández
GOAL!!! Pablo Hernandez superbly finishes after great work from Mathieu down the left. The Barcelona defence were nowhere there - Abidal and Alves were completely exposed.
Soldado trips Busquets about 30 yards from the Barca goal. Great game so far from both teams.
Alves chips the ball to Lionel Messi, who chests the ball down before releasing a tame shot at Guaita.
Barca have a penalty appeal turned down. Rami completes a hectic couple of minutes by clearly tripping Lionel Messi just inside the box. The referee gives nothing, but perhaps the former Lille man should have walked there, while Barca should certainly have a spot kick.
Yellow Card Adil Rami
Adil Rami gets booked for high foot - his boot connected with Cesc Fabregas' face.
Assist Lionel Messi
1-1!! The lead didn't last long... Fabregas feeds Messi, who slips in Pedro, who scors. Guaita will be disappointed to be beaten at his near post, but a great team goal from Barca.
Assist Jérémy Mathieu
Own Goal Éric Abidal
No use crying over spilled milk for Valencia in terms of the penalty appeal, they've scored! After a great run down the left, Mathieu crossed the ball towards Soldado, but Abidal turns it past his own 'keeper.
The ball is crossed towards Adil Rami who is pushed over in the air by Abidal. A fair tussle or a penalty? Valencia players and fans certain so.
Busquets gives away a free kick on the left hand side of the pitch. A chance for Soldado to show his height advantage.
A couple of incidents of note. Firstly Messi is called narrowly offside, secondly a poor cross from Pedro is lapped up by Guaita.
First shot of the game, and Lionel Messi plays a defence splitting pass that Pedro runs on to, but the Barca forward's shot is well saved by Guaita.
Despite the Valencia playing with two left backs, Barca attack down their right wing, but Alves lets it run out of play.
Valencia click well down the left, but Alba's cross is easily collected by Valdes.
And Barcelona kick off and promptly give every player a touch.
So, as expected Gerard Pique misses out for Barca, while David Villa has to be content with a place on the bench on his homecoming to the Mestalla. Soldado starts for Valencia despite his fitness.
The visitors start with Valdes; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal; Busquets, Xavi, Keita; Fabregas, Messi, Pedro
The teams are in, Valencia field: Guaita; Miguel, Rami, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu; Albelda, Banega; Pablo Hernandez, Jordi Alba, Canales; Soldado
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Valencia v Barcelona. The hosts have a 100% record so far with star man Roberto Soldado starring. Meanwhile, the champions responded to claims they were waning by winning 8-0 at the weekend.
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