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Deportivo La Coruña
30 November 2014
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 51200
Thank you for joining me today. I hope you've enjoyed the action. Farewell until next time.
Barcelona clinch victory with virtually the last kick of the game as Busquets scores his first goal in 14 months. Valencia looked to be good value for a draw as they battled away in determined fashion, causing the visitors plenty of problems themselves. However, Luis Enrique's men showed why you cannot switch off even for a few seconds against Messi & Co., earning the win that takes them back to within two points of Real Madrid. Valencia slip down to fifth as a result, but their disappointment will be centred on such a late sucker-punch.
90' + 6'
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Nicolás Otamendi
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Lionel Messi
90' + 4'
GOAL!!! BARCELONA HAVE SURELY WON THIS! Diego Alves does brilliantly to deny Neymar from point-blank range, but Busquets is on hand to blast home the rebound as the visitors break Valencia hearts.
90' + 1'
Brilliant defending by Otamendi as he tracks back and slides in on Messi, making a last-ditch block to deny his compatriot. He has had a very good game.
There will be three minutes added on here.
Everyone back now for Valencia. They don't appear to be desperately hanging on, but they cetainly look determined to not let Barcelona sneak a late win. Can they succeed?
Nuno's final change sees Parejo taken off for Filipe Augusto. The Valencia captain had been struggling after suffering cramp a few minutes ago.
And now Negredo makes way for Valencia. Alcacer takes his place in attack.
Two more changes for Barca now as Xavi and Suarez are replaced by Rafinha and Pedro.
Neymar races forward and attacks Valencia at the heart of their midfield. The Brazilian is sent tumbling and he wins a free-kick. However, replays suggest hs actually tripped himself.
BRAVO CALLED INTO ACTION! Valencia work a move well as Gaya's cross from the left evades both centre-backs and finds Negredo. The forward swings his left foot at it and forces the goalkeeper into an excellent save down to his right.
Corner for Barca now as Rakitic peels away to the right and knocks the ball out via Parejo. The Valencia midfielder then seeks help from the Croatian for cramp.
That's a naughty tackle from Mascherano. The Argentinian finds himself up in midfield again, despite actually playing as a centre-back at the moment. He tracks Negredo and takes him down in a wild fashion. He escape a booking, though.
Nuno makes a change now. Rodrigo leaves the pitch and is replaced by De Paul.
Rodrigo Javier de Paul
WHAT A CHANCE FOR VALENCIA! The hosts catch their visitors on the counterattack and Negredo plays Feghouli into the right side of the area. The Algerian fires straight at Bravo, though, with the Chilean making a crucial save.
Yellow Card Rodrigo
Suarez has the ball in the net, but he is flagged offside. The combination of Alves and Neymar manage to get the ball into the danger zone and the Uruguayan in on hand to tap in. Replays show that he was quite clearly onside, however.
Change now for Barca. Luis Enrique is clearly going going for this now as Rakitic comes on for Mathieu, with Mascherano set to move to centre-back.
Sight of goal for Neymar there as the Brazilian is afforded a bit of space 25 yards from goal and he fires towards the bottom-left corner. Diego Alves sees the ball go just wide of his post, however.
Gomes' free-kick delivery is a decent one, but the referee was fairly swift in blowing his whistle for a foul by Valencia, as several Barca players end up on the floor.
Free-kick to Valencia now in a good position over near the right corner. Gomes battled away with Mathieu and was ultimately tripped by the Frenchman, with the fans calling for a second yellow card.
BARCA ESCAPE! The Valencia corner is flicked on in the area by Mustafi, who was challenged by Mascherano. The ball falls for Rodrigo at the back post and he drills a low effort into the goalmouth, but Pique clears off the line.
Meanwhile, Valencia are straight back on the attack as Feghouli gets forward down the right. His low cross is put behind calmly by Pique.
Otamendi took a knock in that passage of play and he seems to need medical attention.
WHAT A CHANCE! Barcelona go so close to taking the lead! Otamandi gets a touch on Mascherano's lofted pass, but that takes it away from the goalkeeper. Suarez chases it down and uses his strength to nudged Diego Alves out of the way, but the former Liverpool man hits the empty goal's side-netting!
That's a good chance for the visitors. Suarez manages to lose his marker from the corner and he left with a free header at the back post, but he fails to even hit the target.
Excellent defending by Otamendi as he tracks Suarez's clever run across the penalty area and forces him towards the edge of the box. The Uruguayan tries to produce a turn, but his counterpart is there to concede a corner.
That's a decent chance for Valencia. Gaya's cross from deep on the left evades both Pique and Mathieu, who had seemingly been drawn together. Negredo meets the delivery with a header, but he was stretching and the ball goes well wide.
Barcelona work their way back up the pitch and have Valencia penned in on this occasion. Dani Alves strays offside as he looks to latch on to Xavi's pass, with the Brazilian having a fairly ineffectual game so far.
Valencia have enjoyed a good start to this second half as they force Barca back into their own area. This is by far the hosts' best spell in the match so far, with all of the visitors' players back in their own half.
Good play by Gaya as the left-back plays Rodrigo in down the left. The forward gets a cross in, but Mathieu comes across and heads clear ahead of Negredo.
There is Alba's first involvement of the second half as he races up the left flank and crosses into the danger zone. Diego Alves has no need to worry, though, as the ball lands on the roof of the net.
Mascherano is in a bit of discomfort here as he caught late by Javi Fuego. The Valencia man escapes a yellow card, while the Argentinian is left in a heap on the floor.
We are back underway for the second half.
The referee ends an intriguing, albeit slightly underwhelming, first half at the Mestalla. The two sides go into the break level after 45 goalless minutes, a result which will likely have both coaches relatively content. Barcelona have edged the contest in terms of possession and the overall balance of play, but Valencia have had their moments and rarely have Nuno's men found themselves in desperate defensive situations.
45' + 2'
45' + 1'
BIG CHANCE FOR VALENCIA! Incisive counterattack by the hosts and they force Barca right back into their own area. Rodrigo runs at Alves and picks out Gomes' excellent run into the area. The midfielder skips past the rushing Bravo and then fires into the side-netting from a tight angle.
There will be one minute added on here.
Time is almost up in the first half as these sides continue to cancel each other out. Can either deal a sucker-punch just before the break?
Alba appears to have picked up a bit of a knock in that last passage of play, with the former Valencia man receiving a bit of a nudge while jumping to head the ball. He should be able to continue, though.
Decent opening there for Valencia as Gomes gets forward down the left, exploiting the space left by Alves. He crosses deep to the back post and Feghouli meets it with a header, nodding the ball back into the goalmouth. No one is there to capitalise, however, and Pique smashes clear.
Alba has been a considerable threat so far, though. Once again the left-back finds himself in an advanced position as he looks to race on to Neymar's pass. He drills a low delivery into the danger area, but Mustafi cuts it out.
Valencia will likely be content with how things have gone so far. Although Barcelona have generally dictated the tempo, they have by no means passed their hosts into submission, with Nuno's side enjoying spells of their own.
BRAVO MADE TO WORRY! Good effort from Andre Gomes as the Portuguese star, this time appearing on the right, cuts on to his left foot and curls an effort just wide of the left-hand post, with the goalkeeper looking particularly concerned.
Lovely pass in behind the Valencia defence by Busquets, with Suarez the beneficiary. The Uruguayan star latches on to it and ultimately shoots straight at Alves, though his blushes are spared by an incorrect offside flag.
Excellent defending by Gaya. Suarez loops a pass into the area for Neymar and the Brazilian races on to it, looking to bring the ball under his control. Across comes the Valencia left-back, though, putting his body on the line to snuff out the chance.
There's another foul from a Barcelona player. Dani Alves goes in pretty hard on Andre Gomes and catches the Portuguese star late. He escaps a booking, but a free-kick is given nonetheless.
VALENCIA CHANCE! The corner delivery is not particularly impressive, but Neymar completely misses his clearance and Parejo meets the ball with a half-volley while seemingly off balance. His effort is blazed over, however.
Corner for Valencia now. Parejo managed to get into the right side of the area following a throw-in by Barragan and Mascherano poked the ball behind. This is a good opportunity now.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
The referee's yellow card makes another appearance, with Barcelona's other former Valencia man getting his name taken. Alba lunged in on Feghouli with a high foot and gets booked.
What a waste. Xavi takes the free-kick and curls a delivery towards the back post, but Diego Alves allows it to fly straight out of play.
Yellow Card Shkodran Mustafi
Crude challenge on Neymar by Mustafi. The Brazilian cleverly beat the defender about 30 yards from goal and was ultimately tripped up. Out comes the yellow card.
Messi has been rather quiet so far, but he drops deep to find the ball on this occasion and he wins Barca a free-kick about 35 yards from goal after a bit of a nudge by Gomes.
Barca are calling for handball now as Jordi Alba races on to Neymar's flicked pass and smashes a volley goalwards. The ball strikes Feghouli, with a couple of players claiming for a penalty. The Algerian was clearly struck in the face, though.
Play finally restarts, though Barcelona craft little from the resulting corner as Diego Alves meets the delivery with a flying punch. Hopefully those events are a sign of this match finally coming to life.
Yellow Card Barragán
Yellow Card Piqué
Both Barragan and Pique find themselves booked for their respective roles in that incident, while both Neymar and Otamendi escape unpunished.
It's all kick off here now! Neymar races into the Valencia area and goes to ground under the challenge of Otamendi. It's unclear whether there was contact or not, but the Argentinian defender responds by getting in the Barca star's face. The Brazilian nudges his counterpart's face with his head, drawing an over-the-top reaction and a bit of a melee ensues.
Good move by Valencia as the hosts charge forward, looking to catch the visitors on the break. Parejo plays Gomes in to his left, but the Portuguese midfielder is forced too wide for his liking and his eventual cross ends up behind the goal.
Barcelona's corner comes to nothing as Alves collects with ease and then Bravo is called into action again at the other end a few moments later. The Chilean has few problems, though, as Negredo's effort from 40 yards was very tame.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR BARCA! The visitors get the ball quickly as Busquets lofts a long ball into the area for Neymar. The Brazilian produces a delightful touch to tee up the looming Suarez, but he shoots straight at Diego Alves, who concedes a corner.
That's a decent chance for Valencia there as Rodrigo cuts inside Dani Alves in the left side of the area and then shoots, forcing Bravo into a save in the centre of his goal.
This match has been played at quite a slow pace so far, which is somewhat surprising considering the two teams involved. Both sides are looking very calculated regarding their moves, showing extreme patience so far.
Valencia fail to make the most of the free-kick opportunity, though, as Rodrigo's delivery is high and deep, and it goes straight out of play for a goal-kick. Jeers ring out from the stands.
Yellow Card Jérémy Mathieu
Yellow card for Mathieu! The Valencia fans enjoyed that. The hosts broke with speed after Xavi was caught waiting to receive a pass. Gomes played Negredo in down the left and the Spain international raced past the French defender, who produces a pretty wild challenge.
Mascherano lofts the ball forward towards Suarez and Gaya rises above the Uruguayan to meet it with a header. His attempted clearance lands just inside the area, though, and Mustafi is forced to hook the it away before Messi can pounce.
Sloppy play by Jordi Alba as he surrenders possession Feghouli just inside the Valencia half. A counterattack for the hosts appears to be on, but the Spain full-back battles back well and steals the ball back from the Algerian.
The Frenchman is called into decisive action for the first time in his Mestalla return. Gaya did well down the left and squeezed the ball forward for Rodrigo, who managed to get a low cross into the area. Pique misses it, but Mathieu is there to sweep up.
Jeremy Mathieu gets on the ball for the first time and he is greeted with a chorus of jeers from the Mestalla crowd. This is, of course, his first return to the stadium since leaving Valencia for Barcelona during the close-season.
Off we go! Valencia get the match started!
The two sides are now out on the pitch as kick-off approaches.
In what has been billed as the match of the weekend, both of these sides have plenty to play for up at the top of the table, with Barcelona looking to move back to within touching distance of Real Madrid, who beat Malaga on Saturday, while Valencia can go fourth if they win. Nuno's side go into the clash in fifth after Sevilla's 5-1 battering of Granada earlier on Sunday, but they host a Barca side who have scored nine goals in their last two matches.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique also has most of his squad available for selection. Pique retains his place in the starting line-up at centre-back after a good display in the 5-1 win over Sevilla last weekend, while Mascherano continues in midfield after impressing against APOEL in midweek. Ivan Rakitic misses out as the Croatian drops to the bench, while Neymar comes back into the team after being named amongst the subs in the Champions League. The Brazilian takes Pedro's place. The one major absentee is Andres Iniesta, who was not named in the team's squad.
Nuno Espirito Santo's selection does not conjure up too many surprises as he has the majority of his squad to pick from. Andre Gomes slots in next to Parejo and Fuego in a midfield full of bite and ability, while Alvaro Negredo gets the nod in attack with Rodrigo. The former Manchester City man is yet to score for his new club and he retains his place in the starting XI despite the return to fitness of Paco Alcacer. The Valencia academy product beings the match on the bench.
Barca subs: Ter Stegen, Bartra, Adriano, Rakitic, Pedro, Rafinha, Munir.
Barcelona starting XI (4-3-3): Bravo; Dani Alves, Pique, Mathieu, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Mascherano; Neymar, Messi, Suarez.
Valencia substitutes: Yoel, Joao Cancelo, Filipe Augusto, Orban, Alcacer, Piatti, De Paul.
Valencia starting XI (4-3-3): Diego Alves; Barragan, Otamendi, Mustafi, Gaya; Fuego, Parejo, Andre Gomes; Feghouli, Negredo, Rodrigo.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Hello and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of the Liga clash between Valencia and Barcelona. My name is Ryan Benson and I shall be describing the action for you today as these two go head-to-head at the Mestalla, with the hosts looking to leap back into the top four and Luis Enrique's men hoping to keep the pressure on leaders Real Madrid.
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