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February 3, 2013
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 45000
É. Banega 33'
L. Messi 39'
Shots on Target
Full time in the Mestalla! Valencia earn a brilliant point against league leaders, Barcelona. Ever Banega opened the scoring in the first period with a lovely strike but a hammer of a penalty from Lionel Messi evened the score. Los Che have defended magnificently, and could have won if it wasn't for an on-form Victor Valdes. I'm Martin Macdonald, thank you for joining us on Goal.com! See you next time!
90' + 1'
Last throw of the dice from Barcelona. Xavi comes off for Thiago Alcantara.
How have Valencia not scored!? Cissokho takes advantage of a mistake by Pique to drive into the box and reverse a pass inside. Soldado directs a shot towards goal from 10 yards but Victor Valdes makes an outstanding save!! Valencia thought they had won it!
A very brave move from the Valencia coach. Jonas is an attacker, who will no doubt play up top with Soldado. Barcelona have been camped outside the opposition box for the last 10 minutes or so, so perhaps he sees this as a way to get his team up the park.
Last change of the match from Valencia. Andres Guardado is replaced by Jonas. Interesting change from Ernesto Valverde.
A Barcelona goal now would be cruel on Valencia, they have defended incredibly well throughout the match. They just need to keep it together for seven minutes or so.
Villa slips the ball out to the left and Pedro steps inside before lashing a left-footed strike towards the near post, but the attempt lacked power and Guaita manages to make the save.
As we approach the closing stages of the match, Valencia are moving deeper and deeper into their own half. This is playing into the hands of Barca, who are now dominating possession.
DAVID VILLA!!! If he is on form he scores that! Dani Alves makes a signature run down the right and curls a superb cross to the back post, and the former Valencia man looks to direct a left-footed shot to the opposite corner, but his attempt goes just wide!
Yellow Card A. Guardado
The game is so delicately poised at the moment. With a bit of belief, Los Che could snatch a win here.
Cissokho does brilliantly to get down the left flank and reverse a cross to the edge of the box. Tino Costa is there but his shot lacks conviction and deflects off Puyol for a Valencia corner.
Cynical foul from Joao Pereira. Jordi Alba gets the better of the Portuguese down the left but is stopped in his tracks by a poor challenge. Free kick to Barcelona.
Barcelona follow suit and make a change of their own. Cesc Fabregas comes off for David Villa, who receives a warm applause from the Mestalla crowd.
Messi drives forward and picks out Xavi on the right. He attempts to clip a cross into the box but the ball bounces out for a corner kick.
Second change of the match from the hosts. Juan Bernat is replaced by Pablo Piatti.
Fantastic play from Valencia!! Guardado skips past three challenges down the left and reverses a pass inside to Canales, who pulls a strike toward the far post, but Valdes flicks the ball round the post with an outstretched hand!
Soldado misses at the front post again! In almost a carbon copy of his chance from a couple of minutes ago, the Valencia captain collects a high ball over the defence but lashes his volley high and wide!
Canales almost makes an immediate impact! The substitute picks up the ball on the left and lobs a dangerous cross into the Barcelona box but the Catalan side manage to scramble the ball away.
First change of the match from Valencia. Former Real Madrid midfielder, Sergio Canales, comes on to replace goalscorer, Ever Banega.
Superb workrate from Valencia. Barca continue their short passing game but they are forced all the way back to Valdes as they cannot find a way past the home midfield.
Tino Costa chips the ball over the top of the Barca defender for Soldado, who lashes a volley towards goal, but it was a tight angle and the attempt goes wayward over the crossbar. Great pass from Costa.
Tino Costa drives the ball into the box and it goes all the way through to Valdes, who does well to get down and claim possession under pressure.
Valencia get a free kick on the right after Jordi Alba touches the ball with his hand. That looked harsh but the hosts get the set-piece.
First change of the match comes early in the second half for Barcelona. Carles Puyol has been introduced in place of Javier Mascherano.
Fabregas hits the side-netting!!! Messi picks out the former Arsenal man with a sensational defence-splitting pass down the left but he fails to get the ball out of his feet and scuffs his shot wide of the post! That was a chance!
Messi is showing signs of real frustration here. He is always looking for a free kick and is giving the referee dissent whenever he doesn't get the foul.
Superb challenge from Joao Pereira. Messi turns wonderfully in the centre and drives out to the left-hand side but the Portuguese steps in and wins back possession with a very solid challenge.
SOLDADO!!! That was inches wide! Guardado whips a cross to the front post and the Valencia captain gets the better of Mascherano to head towards the corner, but his attempt creeps the wrong side of the post!
Messi drops short and gets the better of Ruiz before dinking a pass to the left for Iniesta. The midfielder is through on goal but the ball is brought back for a foul on the Valencia man by the Argentine. Good decision from the ref.
Yellow Card Roberto Soldado
Barcelona have started the second half the better of the sides. Lots more possession than the end of the first period, Valencia still defending solidly, though.
We are back under way at the Mestalla!
Half time in the Mestalla. Ever Banega opened the scoring with a nice finish after 35 minutes but Lionel Messi cracked in a penalty kick to make it 1-1 just five minutes later. Not a vintage Barca performance, as Valencia are proving to be a match to the Catalan side. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half, you wouldn't want to miss it!
Great attempt from Guardado!! The Mexican picks up the ball on the left-hand side and smashes a shot towards goal! It is dipping and twisting and turning but Valdes gets his body behind the ball to make the save!
Poor pass from Pedro!! The 25-year-old drives forward through the middle at tremendous pace and Messi is standing in acres down the right, but the pass out to the Argentine is slow and breaks down the counterattack! Valencia were on the ropes there!
The goal looks to have catalysed Barcelona. There is a lot more sharpness and pace in their passing. The important thing for Valencia is not to panic, they need to remember that they are still in this game!
Yellow Card Aly Cissokho
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!! Messi steps up and absolutely rifles the penalty into the top left corner! You won't see many better than that! 1-1! Game on!
Penalty to Barcelona!! Joao Pereira brings down Pedro inside the box! Definite spot-kick!
A ball is whipped in from the right-hand side and Soldado attempts a spectacular overhead kick but the ball ends of dribbling out for a goal kick. Good idea but the execution wasn't there.
Pretty much a perfect half for Valencia so far. Teams will certainly get chances to score against Barca, the important thing is to play as equally well in defence, which they have done so far.
Goal Ever Banega
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR VALENCIA!! Soldado crosses into the centre and Gerard Pique manages to clear to the edge of the area, but Ever Banega is there to take the ball down and lash it into the bottom left corner! 1-0 to the hosts!
Valencia have had the better of the chances, they just need to be more clinical in their finishing.
Iniesta turns sharply inside the centre circle and looks to drive forward but again he is dispossessed by Victor Ruiz. The Valencia man has been a rock in the middle so far.
Fair play to the hosts, they are being very dogged in their defending, but we have seen this from teams against Barcelona plenty of times. They key is to keep up the tempo of their pressing until the final whistle.
Valencia are making it difficult for Barcelona. Victor Ruiz and Tino Costa have dropped deep and are just sitting in front of their defence. The Catalan side are faced with a white wall any time they pick up possession.
Barcelona looking to slow down the tempo of the match now. They are passing the ball in their tiki-taka tactic in the middle of the park but they are not going out of their way to pick out incisive passes. Perhaps reeling Valencia into a false sense of security?
Yellow Card Javier Mascherano
First booking of the match goes to Javier Mascherano. No real surprise there there!
TINO COSTA!! The midfielder picks up the ball from range and attempts a stinging shot towards the bottom corner but the ball goes just wide of the mark!
Not much in terms of goalmouth action so far. Both teams have cancelled each other out it what has largely been a midfield battle. With the attacking talent on show, however, we will surely get a goal soon!
SOLDADO!! The ball breaks the Valencia striker inside the box but he is unable to get a good connection on his strike and Barcelona manage to scramble clear! A chance goes begging!
Barca just starting to feel their way into the match now. It looks as if Iniesta may have swapped positions with Cesc Fabregas, and the Catalans are looking more in control of possession as a result!
A break in play at the moment as Ricardo Costa is currently down. That looked a sore one! The Portuguese goes down off the ball clutching his groin. He landed very awkwardly and the physios are on helping him.
Valencia have started the match well. Tino Costa and Victor Ruiz have zipping the ball round at pace in midfield and Barcelona have yet to get going. No real glimpse of Lionel Messi yet.
Valencia look as if they have been instructed to get right in the faces of the Barcelona midfield from the get-go. Victor Ruiz has been closing the ball down intensely in the opening few minutes.
Unlucky from Guardado. Bernat slides the ball into the feet of the Mexican, who lashes a shot towards goal, but his attempt his dragged wide of the right-hand post.
What is Guaita doing?! The Valencia goalkeeper languishes in possession when Xavi is closing him down and he almost gives the ball away! He eventually manages to clear up the park, much to the relief of the home fans!
Bright start to the match. Valencia have had a good amount of possesion so far, but it is Barca who have used the ball more dangerously in the final third. No real openings in either box so far.
Alba bursts down the left-hand side and stands up a cross to the back post and Pedro looks to get on the end of the pass but Valencia manage to clear the ball to safety.
The first foul of the match is on Jordi Alba by Adil Rami. The Valencia man welcomes back his former team-mate with a sly kick!
We are under way at the Mestalla!
Despite their La Liga dominance, Barcelona have won just two of their last five games in all competitions. Something to give hope to the hosts.
Lionel Messi has scored in a record 11 consecutive Liga games. We are going to start to create new records for this guy!
Los Che have lost their last three encounters against Barcelona by an aggregate score of 8-1.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Fabregas, Busquets, Xavi; Iniesta, Messi, Pedro.
Valencia (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Joao, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Cissokho; V. Ruiz, Tino Costa; Bernat, Banega, Guardado; Soldado.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action this evening. When these teams clash, we often get plenty of goals, so let's hope for more of the same tonight!
The Catalan side have the opportunity to go an astonishing 18 points clear of their arch rivals, Real Madrid tonight, as Jose Mourinho's men were defeated by Granada yesterday.
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Valencia and Barcelona at the Mestalla!
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