If there is any match you can bank on to deliver the fireworks in La Liga, Valencia v FC Barcelona at the Mestalla Stadium is usually one of them. Expectedly, the marquee match between the two Spanish giants didn’t disappoint.
Barca’s chance to usurp Atletico Madrid and go top of La Liga was thwarted on Thursday at the Camp Nou after a surprising 1-2 defeat to Granada. Going into the match yesterday, FC Barcelona was under pressure to win, especially with the knowledge that both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid already won their own fixture. For the La Blaugrana, it was a must win match regardless of previous failed campaigns at the ground.
When Valencia took the lead at the Mestalla, it seemed like the club’s woes have started again. This came after Barca had missed numerous chances, especially Pedri who missed a clear opportunity to put the Catalan giants ahead in the early minutes of the game.
But, Barca’s fortune changed for good after a Valencia player handled the ball inside his own 18 yard box, gifting FC Barcelona a penalty kick. The resulting penalty kick was missed by Lionel Messi. However, the Argentine was quick enough to score from the rebound gifted him by Pedri’s blocked shot.
Barca would go on to add another goal through a Griezmann effort after the goalkeeper blocked the header from De Jong to make it 1-2 in Barca’s favour. In the 68th minute, Lionel Messi converted a free kick after his powerful drive left the Valencia goalkeeper with little to do in stopping the goal bound effort.
Carlos Soler wonderful goal for Valencia from outside the box in the later stages of the game could do nothing to salvage the game for Valencia as Barca won the game after the final whistle. FC Barcelona will now face Atletico Madrid in a titanic showdown for the league title.