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Barcelona 1-2 Valencia, 2016 La Liga: Match Review

David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona came into this game in disastrous circumstances. A Champions League elimination to Atlético Madrid and failing to register a league win since the 12th of March meant this tie against Valencia was the definition of a must win.

Barcelona Valencia
Possession 70% 30%
Total Shots 22 7
Shots on Target 7 2
Corners 7 2
Fouls 12 15
Offsides 7 5
Yellow Cards 3 3
Red Cards 0 0

The team came out with that attitude. There was no settling in period as they were on top of the visitors from the first minute. A great first time ball from Sergi Roberto found Andrés Iniesta who had Jordi Alba on the overlap. The full back's cross made it to Neymar but characteristically of a man who has not found the net as often as he is used to, Neymar took a nervous touch which allowed the defence to snuff out the chance.

Two minutes later and it was Lionel Messi's turn. The Argentine had started much wider, hugging the touch line but he cut in to receive Luis Suárez's cross. The ball was bouncing but Messi struck it well and it required a good save from Diego Alves.

It was beginning to become that kind of night and there wasn't even 15 minutes on the clock yet. Suárez was inches away from a Alba cross and Neymar broke the offside trap only to dink the ball into the palm of Alves.

The next opportunity arose from a corner as Javier Mascherano, a man who has never scored for Barça, flicked a header goal-wards. Being no more than a yard away he could only flick the header up and over the bar.

Three minutes later and there was more Alves' heroics. A counterattack allowed Neymar to pick out Messi but again the Valencia keeper was there to stop him.

One of the most intriguing aspects when the starting XIs were announced was the omission of Dani Alves. After appearing on Instagram in his girlfriend's wig a short time in the aftermath of the Atlético game, Alves was forced to start from the bench as a punishment. His replacement, Sergi Roberto, was doing well in attack but looking vulnerable in defence.

Just after the 25 minute mark, Valencia broke at Barça. Dani Parejo had the ball on the edge of the area before finding André Gomes on the wing. The Portuguese slipped in Guilherme Siqueira on the inside as the Brazilian's run was not picked up by Roberto. Ivan Rakitić had to drop deep in order to prevent the cross but Rakitić's connection was not a strong one and it ricocheted towards the Barça net. Claudio Bravo could only palm it in as the visitors took a 1-0 lead and a wave of uncertainty fell upon the Camp Nou crowd.

Earlier in the day, Atlético had drawn level Barça which was a fact not lost on the crowd as the noise dropped. The team tried to react with Gerard Piqué emotionally yelling at his teammates but it appeared the result would be 0-1 at half time. The clock was deep into stoppage time when Valencia broke away again. Parejo was having a great game and was involved once more. The Barça right side was the action zone as Santiago Mina made a run into the Barça box. He received the ball and calmly slotted it into the far corner past a helpless Bravo. It was 2-0 and a disaster for Barça.

The Barcelona players were sent out early for the second half. Forced to endure three or four minutes on the pitch before the Valencia players emerged. The game restarted in the same vein as the first half. Barcelona were making chances but lacking quality in the final third.

There was also the case of Dani Alves. It was clear Roberto was struggling in the right full back position but his substitution would've meant Enrique had no central midfield options if one of Iniesta or Rakitić went down injured.

The clock was ticking away and Barça were having half chance after half chance to no effect. But after enduring his longest goal drought since 2008, Messi finally opened the scoring for Barça. A quick one-two with Jordi Alba allowed Messi space in the middle of the box to slide the ball into the net. Despite not being in the happiest of circumstances, it was Messi's 450th Barça goal and 500th overall.

The team continued looking for chances and continued to be thwarted by Alves. A particular highlight coming from a Rakitić shot on the penalty spot that required fingertips to stop.

The sign of a great coach is making the right decision at the right time. But Enrique was electing to stick with the starting eleven. The game was calling out for a change if solely for the reason to get fresh legs on. But when you have four defenders, a keeper and a winger, it leaves you with little option.

The match entered the final ten minutes with the solid wall of Valencia refusing to crack. They looked brighter, more energised and Pako Ayestarán used his substations to full effect. In their 53rd game, the Barcelona players were simply exhausted. The final chance fell to Gerard Piqué. A great chest down allowed him the perfect chance to equaliser but he dragged his shot wide of the post.

The final whistle blew and Barça now lead La Liga only on the head-to-head record.

Roll Call Info
Total comments 534
Total commenters 64
Commenter list Abdul S., AllAboutStyle, Anders Thomassen, AngusLB, Anirudh_Kul, AraibKarim, Artemis11, Barca-fan, BarcaGH, Bithal, Chatchai Chotiput, DevilWithin, Dybalaxneymar, Eddie Pundell, Edinn, FIFA_BarcaLord, FZBoy, GreyGhostIniesta, Haliaetos, JogoBonito, JordanBelfort, Korosensei, MayteeA, MessiTheInvisibleMan, Mr Lu Sir, My Name Is Dennis, Naman_Mehra, NamesTroyResideInTheDMV, Navz, Nightf0x7, RFMCAB, SafaaLeon62, Steven Cordero, TheShobyOne, Tokjee, Trolljegeren, VarmaFCB, ZTAhmad, abhi3pie, alonso_fan46, asherdgreat1, avyator, barca96, barcabarcabarcaa, barcafan101, chrisolin65, craig00000, darthvader17, fcbMSN_10, feeya7, godnkls, henderick.mitchell, josakic, ken adams, knorkinator, magnithor, messism, nosrejadorable, ojusd27, saltylures, sid_barca, syredeathtrooper, vincent185, whopaysneymar
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Artemis11 52
2 JordanBelfort 47
3 chrisolin65 38
4 AraibKarim 36
5 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV 27
6 barcafan101 25
7 BarcaGH 24
8 feeya7 22
9 AllAboutStyle 20
10 messism 16
11 TheShobyOne 15
12 abhi3pie 14
13 syredeathtrooper 13
14 MessiTheInvisibleMan 12
15 saltylures 10
16 avyator 10
17 barcabarcabarcaa 9
18 Anirudh_Kul 9
19 knorkinator 9
20 whopaysneymar 8
21 Anders Thomassen 8
22 henderick.mitchell 7
23 Korosensei 7
24 godnkls 7
25 FZBoy 6
26 Dybalaxneymar 6
27 Navz 6
28 Mr Lu Sir 5
29 ZTAhmad 5
31 Naman_Mehra 4
32 Tokjee 4
33 fcbMSN_10 3
34 Steven Cordero 3
35 My Name Is Dennis 3
36 AngusLB 3
37 ken adams 3
38 GreyGhostIniesta 3
39 magnithor 2
40 Eddie Pundell 2
41 Trolljegeren 2
42 asherdgreat1 2
43 josakic 1
44 VarmaFCB 1
45 Abdul S. 1
46 Chatchai Chotiput 1
47 barca96 1
48 Barca-fan 1
49 FIFA_BarcaLord 1
50 sid_barca 1
51 Haliaetos 1
52 SafaaLeon62 1
53 Bithal 1
54 craig00000 1
55 darthvader17 1
56 MayteeA 1
57 JogoBonito 1
58 DevilWithin 1
59 Nightf0x7 1
60 ojusd27 1
61 Edinn 1
62 alonso_fan46 1
63 nosrejadorable 1
64 vincent185 1
# Recs Commenter Comment Link
8 messism [no title]
5 avyator Going to go hang myself. Peace out guys.
4 Artemis11 Seriously stop surrounding the ref and play on.
4 Abdul S. 6 if you count Ter Stegen
3 JordanBelfort THANK GOD we are out in the champions league. bayern would have won 10:0
2 craig00000 5 people who can play right back on our bench
2 Artemis11 Here.
2 DevilWithin LOL JUST LOL!
2 whopaysneymar Well certainly none of the boys on the field
1 chrisolin65 Fuck off
1 JordanBelfort where are the believers now? haha
1 JordanBelfort that's a real possibility now
1 barcafan101 Ever saw him score??
1 henderick.mitchell Still here so do us a favor & go away dude...
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV THANK YOU
1 chrisolin65 Don't get so cocky
1 whopaysneymar I hope he locked his doors somehwere in the ghetto neighborhoods of real...
1 henderick.mitchell Try telling that to Jordan Belfort...
1 messism Its going to be a even bigger shitshow today, please guys try and keep it civil.
1 Korosensei We are already making history here
1 feeya7 Yay, haven't used the flag button lately.
1 NamesTroyResideInTheDMV Welp.
1 AllAboutStyle Sergei Roberto's defense is horrible today
1 messism Can we please save the collapse and negative talk till the end of the game
1 Korosensei Lets see how Lucho says with a straight face that were still top of La Liga after this match
1 godnkls Pique trying to become a mental leader of fcb
1 syredeathtrooper So our wide forwards are staying wide and suddenly we look really threatening
1 JordanBelfort i would take ronaldo 10 out of 10 times ahead of messi these days, same goes for benzema with suarez and bale with neymar. worth 400M???
1 AraibKarim Rakitic .. needs 1 month of rest
1 Anirudh_Kul Exactly how I feel
1 chrisolin65 A God damn seizure from the looks of things
1 Artemis11 This collapse would have been hilarious if the joke wasn't on us.

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