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Valencia v Barcelona Live Commentary, 29/10/2022

0 - 1
R. Lewandowski (90+3)
Estadio de Mestalla


That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game. Until next time, goodbye!
Having played before Real Madrid, Barcelona's win and superior goal difference sees them shoot to the top of the table, putting the pressure on Los Blancos to keep pace with them, rather than the other way around. The last-gasp nature of that goal means the Blaugrana will enjoy their league position while it lasts, and Lewandowski's finish will give their fans a reprieve after exiting the Champions League in midweek. Valencia drop to 10th, but can take plenty of positives out of this one. Their disallowed goal could have been given on another day, while their defence, for 93 minutes, was brilliant.
He drifted in and out of the game at times, but Lewandowski found himself in the right place, at the right time, to win it for the Blaugrana. He finished the match with three shots in the box, yielding an overall xG of 0.67 - and his only effort on target was the one that went in. He contested ten duels, winning six including two dribbles, and had four touches in the box and final third entries apiece. He won possession twice with two well-timed tackles, including once in Valencia's own third. Dependable.
They left it very, very late, but Barcelona finally get that all important winner to break the resistance of Valencia, and send themselves to the top of the table! Lewandowski's last gasp half-volley from Raphinha's cross seals the victory, in a game that looked increasingly likely to be a draw. Valencia had the ball in the net earlier on through Lino, but it was ruled out for a handball from Marcos. Los Che had half chances in attack, and had been superb at the back, but Barca's finisher supreme wouldn't be denied for the whole game and popped up right at the end.
Ferran Torres
Yellow Card
90' + 7' Torres' reaction to the incident also sees him booked, and hopefully that spree of yellow cards puts an end to any further animosity!
Samu Castillejo
Yellow Card
90' + 7' Chaos erupts on the far touchline after Foulquier shoves Torres to the floor, and an all-in melee begins which takes some time to calm down! The referee brings everyone back eventually, and the first booking goes to Castillejo, who was the first to run into the scuffle between Foulquier and Torres.
D. Foulquier
Yellow Card
90' + 6' Foulquier's shove was completely unnecessary after Torres' nudge on him, and the Valencia man rightly goes into the book as well.
90' + 5' That's Lewandowski's 13th goal of the season in just 12 games. The last player to score more in his first 12 games of a season in the competition was Cristiano Ronaldo with 20 in 2014-15.
90' + 3' The ball from Raphinha was absolutely sumptuous, and it couldn't have fallen to anyone better than Lewandowski to ensure the pass became a goal!
R. Lewandowski
90' + 3' GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!! Barcelona take a late, late lead!!!! Pedri finds Raphinha, who switches to his left foot and curls a peach of a ball beyond the defenders. Lewandowski is stretching for it at the far post, and gets the crucial touch to prod the ball beyond Mamardashvili and into the back of the net!!! The Blaugrana finally find a way through, and lead 1-0 with just moments left to go!
Yellow Card
90' + 2' Marcos does brilliantly down the left for Los Che, skilfully beating Balde before knocking the ball beyond Pique. He can't get beyond Pique though, being blocked off from his run by the Barca defender, who goes straight into the book for the foul.
90' We'll play SIX minutes of added time, more than enough for either of these two to find a winner in this game!
Yellow Card
89' Alba drills a low cross towards Gavi in the box, who goes down under very little pressure from Gabriel. The referee waves away Gavi's appeals, and the young Barca starlet lashes out at Gabriel when walking back through the box, leaving the referee with no other choice than to book him.
87' Lewandowski, who has netted on 12 occasions in 2022-23, has scored five match-opening goals. If he scores in the last few minutes here, that'll be six, but he's not been his usual, highly dangerous self in the box for the Blaugrana so far.
85' CHANCE!!! How have Barca not scored there? Raphinha chips in behind for Pedri to run onto, and he flashes the ball across the face of goal from the byline. Ferran scuffs his half-volleyed effort, and both Lewandowski and Raphinha arrive to hit the rebound, the latter blasting the loose ball over the bar!
Hugo Guillamón
Yellow Card
84' Guillamon took Raphinha out in back-play during that break, and the referee comes back to book him for the foul after the play concludes.
83' WIDE!!! A Valencia attack breaks down and the visitors flood forward. Pedri carries the ball most of the way before feeding Lewandowski, who turns and shoots on his left foot, but can only drag it wide of the target!
82' There's a coming together between Alba and Castillejo on the far touchline, and the Valencia substitute comes off second best as the Barcelona left-back is penalised.
Jesús Vázquez
Thierry Correia
80' Correia also picked up a knock earlier on, and is now replaced by Jesus Vazquez for the hosts.
78' Ter Stegen's long ball from the back finds Lewandowski in the box, but Correia steps in with a fantastically-timed challenge to pinch the ball cleanly and come away with it for Valencia!
76' Guillamon is caught in the back by the knees of Lewandowski, and that painful-looking collision leaves him down on the turf. He eventually gets to his feet though, and will look to bravely play on for the last 15 or so minutes.
J. Koundé
74' The initial break in play came due to an injury for Kounde, and the Barcelona centre-back is replaced by Gerard Pique.
Toni Lato
André Almeida
72' Almeida is also off for Los Che, replaced by Toni Lato.
Samu Castillejo
J. Kluivert
72' More subs coming for Valencia, as Kluivert comes off for Samu Castillejo.
71' SAVED!!! Marcos breaks for the hosts and puts Lino into fresh air down the left flank. He cuts inside Balde before shooting, but can't generate enough power on the shot and Ter Stegen holds it!
69' Pedri threats a beauty of a pass through for Gavi in the box, but Gaya once again frustrates Barca by shielding the ball all the way into Mamardashvili's gloves.
Samuel Lino
Yellow Card
67' Yellow Card Samuel Dias Lino
66' CHANCE!!! Alba stretches to swing the ball across the face of goal, and Raphinha is steaming onto it at the back post. Gaya slides in though, and gets a crucial touch to take it away from the Brazilian's foot!
65' Torres is making his 100th appearance in La Liga, his 29th for the Blaugrana. Coincidentally, his first 71 were for Los Che, having started his career at the Mestalla.
63' Torres bursts down the left and cuts inside to enter the box, but his shot from the edge of the area is deflected into the gloves of Mamardashvili!
62' Barca look to play a clever corner routine into the box, but Valencia's pressing is good and Pedri's eventual ball in is blocked by Foulquier!
60' Valencia counter after Lino sparks the break, and the winger finds Marcos wide to his left. He looks to release Lino on the edge of the box, but Lino slips and the chance goes begging.
58' Lewandowski spreads it wide for Raphinha to run onto, and the Brazilian looks to cut the ball back in the box, but a deflection off Gaya takes it out for a corner.
Ansu Fati
57' Fati's gone close a number of times, but not close enough, and he comes off for Raphinha down the flank.
Sergio Busquets
56' Captain Busquets is also withdrawn, and Pablo Gavi replaces the veteran in midfield.
Ferran Torres
O. Dembélé
56' Dembele is off for Barca as Xavi makes a triple change, and Ferran Torres replaces the French winger.
55' Valencia have scored in each of their last 14 matches against Barcelona in La Liga (22 in total), their best scoring streak against them in the competition's history, and although that Lino goal was chalked off, they'll certainly be back for more!
53' Another ball from the right finds Marcos on the run, but he stumbles after rounding Kounde and Barca clear their lines!
51' NO GOAL!!! Replays show that the cross brushed Marcos' arm on its way through to Lino, and so the Valencia winger's goal will not stand! Such a shame for Los Che, as that looked marginal at best!
50' BALL IN THE NET!!!! No clean sheet for Barca this time though?? Correia's cross from deep is attacked, but missed by Marcos, allowed Lino to run across his marker and stab the ball home! Ter Stegen is caught completely off guard, and Valencia look to have scored!!! There's a question mark over Marcos' involvement though, and we may be going upstairs here!
49' Barcelona have kept nine clean sheets in their 11 La Liga games in 2022-23, registering the most sheet sheets for any team after their first 11 games of a season in the competition's history.
48' Barca create an opportunity on the edge of the box and Pedri finds Fati, but his shot on the turn is blocked by Comert!
46' Pedri kicks off for Barca, and we're back underway in the second half!
The teams return for the second half, and can Barca make their dominance count in the next 45 minutes?
It's not been the most controlled of games, but Pedri has typically been defying his age to pull the strings in midfield for Barca. He's made a game-high two key passes, completing 14 in the final third at a 93 per cent rate of accuracy. He's won five of his eight duels in what has been a battling middle third of the field thus far, and has helped out in defence too, winning possession seven times via two tackles and also winning three free-kicks.
The first half ends goalless, despite Barcelona dominating proceedings for much of those 45 minutes. Valencia had some early chances, but that soon gave way to one-way traffic towards Mamardashvili's goal. Fati did beat Los Che's goalkeeper, but was rightly flagged for offside. He and his Barca teammates, particularly Lewandowski and De Jong, have had further chances, but as it stands, they've taken none and we've got a stalemate!
45' + 2' Gabriel meets the eventual corner at the back post and heads the ball back across the face, but no-one can turn it goalwards and the ball loops behind as the half-time whistle blows!
45' + 2' Valencia win a late corner, but Balde won't give Marcos the ball and a scuffle breaks out. Both sets of players are involved, and the referee has to step in to cool tempers before play can continue.
45' + 1' We're into a minute of added time to close out the first half.
Marcos Alonso
Yellow Card
45' Guillamon looks to play in Marcos for Los Che, but he's caught very late by a sliding Alonso, who was never getting anywhere near the ball. The substitute's foul on his Valencia counterpart is punished further, via a yellow card from the referee's pocket.
44' OFF THE POST!!! Alba's cross to the back post is an inviting one, and Lewandowski jumps late to meet it with his head. It's a thumping effort too, which cracks back off the bottom of Mamardashvili's left post, and Valencia repel another attack!
44' Alonso chests the ball down from the corner and tees up Kounde, but his shot is blocked away by Los Che defenders!
43' Pedri feeds De Jong, who steps out of Gaya's challenge before shooting from the edge of the box, but Gabriel blocks it behind for another Barca corner.
Marcos Alonso
Eric García
42' Garcia landed awkwardly after being beaten in that challenge with Kluivert, and has to leave the field, with Marcos Alonso taking his place in the centre of the Blaugrana's defence.
41' CHANCE!!! Kluivert beats Garcia to a loose ball and cuts inside on his way forward. He looks to play in Foulquier from the edge of the area, but the pass is blocked away by Kounde!
40' Valencia have won just one of their last 15 home games against Barcelona in La Liga, a 2-0 win in January 2020.
38' Barca force a third corner, but the Valencia players are furious with the referee for not penalising Fati, who looked to have handled a bouncing ball so deliberately that it made Thierry Henry's against Ireland look accidental!
36' A wide pass finds Fati in acres of space, and he crosses early for Lewandowski. The striker slides in to tap it home, but Gaya gets a crucial touch to skew the ball away, conceding another corner in the process.
36' De Jong crosses for Dembele at the back post, but Gaya heads the ball behind for a corner, which is the first of the match after 36 minutes.
34' Valencia have three wins, one draw, and two losses in six league games at the Mestalla this season. Barcelona boast a fine away record though, with four wins and just one loss, albeit that loss did come at the Bernabeu in El Clasico.
32' Correia's floated pass forward has Kluivert surging after it, but Ter Stegen's out of his goal to collect the ball before the Valencia man can latch onto it.
31' Lewandowski again links up with Fati, who pulls a shot wide from a tight angle, but the Guinea-born winger is again caught offside! He needs to start timing his runs better if Barca want to have any success down that left-hand side.
29' Dembele beats Gaya down the right and pulls the ball back for Fati, but his header is rushed and always rising, as it floats over the crossbar.
28' De Jong has space to drive into on the edge of the box and lets fly with his left foot, flashing it just wide of Mamardashvili's right post!
27' Barcelona have scored four goals from fast breaks in La Liga this season, more than any other side in the competition.
25' Barca create a good attacking opportunity on the edge of the box, but take too long to shoot, and De Jong's pass back into the area for Lewandowski is cut out and cleared!
23' BALL IN THE NET!!! Lewandowski shows brilliant close control to bring down Pedri's pass, before passing it onto Fati, who slides it under the goalkeeper and into the net!! He's well offside though, and the flag is up straight away to rule the goal out!
Eric García
Yellow Card
21' The substitute Marcos runs down the right flank, but is followed closely by Garcia. Too closely eventually, as the Barcelona defender brings him down by pulling his shirt, and is duly booked by the referee.
20' Dembele advances down the right and looks to cross into the area, but his final ball is poor and rolls straight into the gloves of Mamardashvili.
19' Cavani has scored Valencia's last four goals in La Liga, becoming the first player to score four consecutive goals for Los Che in the competition since Roberto Soldado got five in December 2012.
Marcos André
E. Cavani
18' Cavani took a knock after colliding with Garcia a little earlier, and has to come off. Marcos de Sousa will replace him, but that's a massive, massive blow for Valencia.
16' Fati dribbles into the box and goes down under little pressure from Gabriel. The referee stops play, but while the crowd is alarmed at the potential awarding of the softest of soft penalties, he's actually brought play back for a prior foul on Correia by Lewandowski!
15' Barcelona have won their last three games against Valencia in La Liga, and could record four consecutive wins against them in the competition, for the first time since a run of five between October 1992 and October 1994; all with Johan Cruyff as manager.
13' SAVED!!! Pedri puts the ball on a dime for Fati to run into the box onto, but his close-range shot is parried by Mamardashvili, who races out of his goal to close the gap in a great piece of goalkeeping!
11' Alba's cross-field pass into the box evades Lewandowski but is met by Gaya, who volleys the ball back to Mamardashvili. It's a well-hit volley though, and the Georgian can't pick it up, so he volleys it back and away from goal!
10' Gaya whips the ball across the face of goal, but it's a fraction in front of Kluivert and Barca win possession back.
8' Lewandowski snatches onto a loose ball and looks to play it through for Fati, but Correia does well to hold off the Barca winger and passes back to his goalkeeper.
6' Barcelona are unbeaten in their last four La Liga matches against Valencia, with Los Che looking for their first league win in games between the two sides since January 2020. Barca have outscored the hosts 12-6 during their unbeaten streak.
4' CHANCE!!! Mamardashvili's woeful pass goes straight to Pedri, who finds De Jong in space on the edge of the box. Rather than shooting, the Dutch midfielder looks for Fati, but the winger is crowded out in the box and the hosts are able to clear!
3' The last league fixture between the sides saw Barcelona win 4-1 at the Mestalla last season, with starting Blaugrana midfielders De Jong and Pedri both getting on the scoresheet.
1' SAVED!!! Kounde's clearance ricochets back to Cavani, who lays the ball off to Lino. He strikes a low shot towards the near post, but it's held by Ter Stegen for Barca!
1' Cavani gets the game underway, and we're off and running in Valencia!
The teams head out onto the pitch at the Mestalla, and we’re almost ready for kick-off in this game!
Robert Lewandowski has scored 12 goals in 11 games for Barcelona in La Liga, while Ousmane Dembele scored and got three assists in the 4-0 rout of Bilbao. the pair start in the Blaugrana's front three, which is completed by Ansu Fati.
Valencia have been led by Edinson Cavani. He leads the club with four goals, two of those having been the crucial first of the match. The veteran Uruguayan starts through the middle for Los Che, flanked by Justin Kluivert, whose father Patrick had great success at Barcelona in the 1990's.
BARCELONA SUBS: Inaki Pena, Arnau Tenas, Hector Bellerin, Gerard Pique, Ferran Torres, Marcos Alonso, Franck Kessie, Raphinha, Pablo Gavi, Pablo Torre.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Alejandro Balde, Jules Kounde, Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati.
VALENCIA SUBS: Iago Herrerin, Cristian Rivero, Toni Lato, Samu Castillejo, Cenk Ozkacar, Hugo Duro, Jesus Vazquez, Marcos Andre, Fran Perez, Cristhian Mosquera, Yellu, Thiago Ribiero.
VALENCIA (4-3-3): Giorgi Mamardashvili; Thierry Correia, Gabriel Paulista, Eray Comert, Jose Gaya; Dimitri Foulquier, Hugo Guillamon, Andre Almeida; Justin Kluivert, Edinson Cavani, Samuel Lino
Barca sit second behind Real Madrid in the table by three points, but have done their best to recover that deficit in their last two matches, beating Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao by scores of 3-0 and 4-0 respectively.
Ninth-placed Valencia were beaten 2-1 by Mallorca in their last match at home, and that loss ended Los Che’s five-match unbeaten streak.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this fixture in La Liga, as Valencia welcome Barcelona to the Mestalla.