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September 1, 2013
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 45000
Hélder Postiga 45', 45'+
L. Messi 11', 39', 41'
Full time in the Mestalla. A first half Lionel Messi hat -trick looked to be seeing Barcelona on their way to an easy win, but Helder Postiga kept his side in the match with a spectacular double before half time. However, Barcelona remained solid to deny Los Che their comeback and eventually run out 3-2 winners. Another three points for Barcelona and another hat-trick ball for Messi! I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us!
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Three minutes of stoppage time, can Barca see this out?!
Last change from Barcelona and it looks like they are tightening things up. Neymar is the player to be withdrawn and it's Sergi Roberto who enters the action for the last few minutes.
Fantastic challenge from Ricardo Costa!!! Barcelona counterattack at pace and the ball eventually finds it's way to Tello inside the box. The substitute looks to gain a yard before having a crack at goal, but is shit blocked by the Valencia captain!
VALENCIA HIT THE POST!! BARCA LET OFF THE HOOK! Jonas finds space on the edge of the box and whips a left-footed strike at goal, but his attempt cannons off the woodwork! Los Che so close to completing their comeback!
MESSIIIIII!!!! THAT'S A BAD MISS BY HIS STANDARDS! The Argentine receives the ball inside the box from Neymar, and looks to pick out the far corner with left-footed strike, but instead lashes his attempt wide from 10 yards out!
Valencia make their third and final change as Michel comes off for Dani Parejo. Again, that's another positive sub from Djukic.
Neymar shows off his skills on the left and looks to thread a pass in behind Joao Pereira for Iniesta, but the Brazilian's ball had just a little too much on it and Valencia get the goal kick.
Jonathan Dos Santos
Barcelona make their second change of the game as Fabregas is replaced by Jonathan dos Santos.
Pabon once again drives down the left-hand side before cutting back inside on his right foot. He picks out Feghouli and the Algerian things about the shot from the edge of the box, but instead opts to keep the ball for Los Che.
Yellow Card Neymar
Almost for Valencia!!! A corner kick comes in and Ricardo Costa wins a header at the back post. Postiga looks to swing a leg and catch a strike at goal but the ball just falls into the hands of Valdes. The Portuguese may have been offside anyway!
The sting has been taken out of the match slightly as Barcelona patiently keep the ball, denying Valencia any possible avenues back into the match. Both sides are also defending fairly well, but there's definitely another goal in this game.
Barcelona follow suit and make their first substitution of the match. The pacey Cristian Tello comes on to replace Pedro down that right-hand side.
Valencia make their first changes of the match as Sofiane Feghouli and Jonas enter the fray in place of Canales and Banega. Positive from Miroslav Djukic.
Superb play by Neymar! The 21-year-old takes on Joao Pereira and almost leaves him for dead with a dazzling stepover, but the Portuguese does well to recover and send the ball out for a corner kick.
Neymar does his bit for the team and tracks Joao Pereira all the way down the right-hand side. Who said the Brazilian doesn't do the dirty work in a game?
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
Fabregas receives the ball inside and look to dink a pass over the top of the Valencia defence for Messi, but the ball was slightly overhit which allows Rami to see it safely back to Diego Alves.
PEDROOOOOO!!!! HE SHOULD BE BURYING THAT!!! Iniesta finds his compatriot with a curled cross to the front post, but he sends his header woefully wide despite the fact Diego Alves already committed!
Ohhhh the ball almost breaks to Pedro! Pique picks out Messi with a neat pass to the outside of the box and the Argentine swiftly turns and looks to pick out the Spaniard to the right of the box, but Guardado was there to make a vital interception.
Dani Alves gets down the right flank on the overlap and once again looks for Neymar at the back post. Adil Rami is on hand though to just glance away the cross at the last minutes. End-to-end stuff here!
MESSSIIIIII!!!! GREAT SAVE FROM DIEGO ALVES!!! The Barca man finds space just outside the box and drills a strike towards the top right corner, but the Valencia 'keeper manages to stretch out a palm to put the ball out for a corner kick.
Pabon collects the ball down the left and drives inside with pace, but his attempted pass over the top of the defence to Canales is just glanced away by Mascherano. Good stuff from Valencia at the moment.
That's wild from Guardado. Pabon threads a lovely pass down the inside left channel and the Mexican has a lot of the goal to aim at, but lashes a left-footed strike high and wide. He should have done better with that.
So unlucky from Postiga. The Portuguese runs shoulder to shoulder with Mascherano and bullies the Argentine out of possession, but his attempted flick inside to Canales is just intercepted and Barca play their way out of defence.
Los Che were dead and buried after that Messi hat-trick, but Postiga's double late in the first half has given them a new lease on life, and they definitely up for this game again. I'll be surprised if this finishes 3-2.
Barcelona get an early free kick inside the Valencia half and Messi clips the set-piece to the back post, but Postiga is on hand to glance the ball out for a corner.
We are back under way in the Mestalla!
Half time in Mestalla. A supremely entertaining match has saw Lionel Messi net a hat-trick and Helder Postiga claw Valencia back into the match with an awesome volley and a lovely header. 3-2 Barcelona at the moment, but don't bet on it staying like that! Join us in 15 minutes for the second period!
45' + 3'
Assist Ever Banega
45' + 3'
Goal Hélder Postiga
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR VALENCIAAAA!!!! GAME. ON!!!! Banega curls in a corner kick to the front post and Postiga glances a superb header into the far corner! 3-2!
Assist João Pereira
Goal Hélder Postiga
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLL FOR VALENCIA!!! WHAT A SENSATIONAL GOAL FROM POSTIGA!!! Joao Pereira drives a cross into the box and the Portuguese finds the top corner with a spectacular bicycle kick! 3-1!!! A ray of hope!
Yellow Card Ever Banega
What an unbelievable couple of minutes that was for Barcelona! Valencia were just starting to find their feet in the match, but they have been undone by the Argentine maestro!
GOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!!! MESSI GETS HIS HAT-TRICk!!! Fabregas forces the ball out out to Neymar and the Brazilian cuts the ball inside for his team-mate, who gets his third with an accomplished finish underneath Diego Alves! 3-0!
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!!! Some lackadaisical play in midfield from Valencia allows Fabregas to pick up possession and slide the ball through to Messi. The Argentine makes no mistake and drifts past the defender before clinically finishing into the bottom left corner!
PABON!!! WHAT A SAVE FROM VICTOR VALDES!!! The Colombian looks to finish off a superb Valencia move with a blasted shot from inside the box, but he is thwarted by the Barca 'keeper who remains big to make the block!
Postiga is forced to come deep again to see some of the ball. He's cutting a frustrated figure up there as he drifts from the penalty area to get involved in the match. As a result though, the hosts are being left with nobody to target inside the area.
Banega is the latest Valencia player to have an attempt from range as he lashes a shot towards the bottom left corner, but Valdes manages to get down and get his body behind the ball to make the stop.
Pabon picks up possession, it must be 35 yards out, and unleashes an absolute rocket of a strike towards goal. Valdes makes the save but is forced to palm the ball down and collect due to the power of the attempt.
First Barcelona yellow card goes to Jordi Alba. The former Valencia man goes in with his studs showing on Joao Pereira and earns himself a place in the book. Free kick to the hosts in a good position down the right.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
Fantastic save by Diego Alves!! Messi jinks past two or three challenges on the edge of the area and lays the ball off to Fabregas, who looks to steer the ball into the bottom right corner, but the Valencia 'keeper gets across goal to palm the ball away!
INIESTAAAAAAA!!! INCHES WIDE! The Barca man collects possession 25 yards from goal and unleashes a rasper of a strike towards the top corner, but his attempt just shaves the wrong side pf the post!
Valencia are just starting to come into the game a little, but they are just missing some quality in the final third. Ever Banega makes a great run through the middle, but finds himself alone and is forced to play a pass backwards, taking the sting out of the attack.
Great work from Barca down the left-hand side as Alba exchanges a one-two with Fabregas and then runs behind the full back on the overlap. The only thing that's missing is the final ball, as Valencia manage to clear with ease.
Neymarrrrrr! Just over! The former Santos man receives a ball inside from Messi and dances past Javi Fuego before attempting a curler into the top bag. He was just leaning back though, and his strike doesn't bother Diego Alves in the Valencia goal.
First booking of the match goes to Joao Pereira, and deservedly so. The Portuguese chops down Neymar after the Brazilian made him look silly with a lovely jink inside. He'll be walking on egg shells the rest of the match now.
Yellow Card João Pereira
There's not a lot of football being played by the hosts at the moment. Whenever a member of the defence gets the ball they are forced to drive it up top as they are being mercilessly closed down by the Barca attackers.
Los Che are plating a very, very defensive line here. Quite a risky tactic considering the extreme pace of Neymar, Messi, and Pedro in that Barca forward line.
That was truly awful defending from Valencia there! They had a massive space in between their central defensive pairing, which allowed Messi to run through unopposed.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLL FOR BARCELONA!!! THIS ONE DOES COUNT!! Fabregas slices open the Valencia defence with a penetrative pass and Messi tricks the ball around Diego Alves before slotting into the empty net! 1-0 Barca!
GOOOOOAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!! WAIT! NO! OFFSIDE!! Neymar finds space inside the area and squeezes a shot under Diego Alves, but the lines rules it as offside. That was close!
Messi threads a superb pass through the middle for Neymar and the Brazilian looks to get beyond Rami, but he attempts an elaborate flick back inside, allowing the Frenchman to claw the ball away.
Iniesta receives the ball to feet inside the opposition half and turns Pabon inside out before the former Betis man cynically pulls the Spaniard's shirt. Free kick to Barca 10 yards into the half.
There is already a feud developing on the pitch as Joao Pereira and Neymar are involved in a battle down that left-side. The latter gives away a daft free kick on the Valencia man and the hosts get the free kick.
Messi comes deep and slides the ball out to the right-hand side for Dani Alves, who is in an advanced position up the wing. The Brazilian looks to find his compatriot, Neymar, at the back post, but his cross goes deep and Valencia manage to clear.
Barcelona haven't lost in six visits to the Mestalla. Will they be able to keep up their impressive recent record?
We are under way in Valencia!
The players have took to the field now and we are almost ready for kick off!
In contrast, Valencia boss Miroslav Djukic has publicly slated his players for their performances in recent weeks. Will he be satisfied after the match against Los Cules?
Barcelona are fresh from their Spanish Super Cup win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, so certainly enter the match on a high.
So Messi and Neymar make the starting XI for the first time, exciting match head then!
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Cesc Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Neymar
Valencia (4-2-3-1): Alves; Joao Pereira, Rami, R.Costa, Guardado; Pabon, Javi Fuego; Banega, Michel, Canales; Postiga
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good evening folks, and welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Valencia and Barcelona at the Mestalla!
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