The most anticipated match of the La Liga season so far delivered, and then some. Valencia and Barcelona played a wildly entertaining game at the Mestalla and gave us plenty of exciting moments. Valencia scored once and Barça scored twice, but because this is Spain one of Barça’s goals was inexpicably disallowed and what would have been a fantastic win for the Catalan giants was negated by a ridiculous human error.
For those expecting a very tough match for Barça, what they got was a complete domination from the Blaugrana. The visitors not only had full control of possession, but they also threatened Valencia multiple times thanks to their passing and movement off the ball. The mighty counter-attacking prowess of Valencia was never in evidence, and Barça were undoubtedly the better team for the entire 45 minutes.
They also got a goal to show for their dominance when Lionel Messi fired a shot from distance that went through the legs of Neto. The Brazilian goalkeeper went back and took the ball out of the goal, but the ball had already crossed the line. The referee and his assistant never saw the ball crossing the line, and the goal wasn’t given.
At halftime, a brutally dominant performance from Barça with a deserved goal was negated by an unbelievable human error.
If the first half belonged to Barça, the second was controlled by Valencia, who began to press high up the pitch and constantly attack Barça with pace and intensity. The Blaugrana began to misplace easy passes and left big spaces for Valencia to attack, and they paid for it when José Gayà was free on the left side to put in a cross and find Rodrigo inside the box for the opener.
Valencia pressured even more immediately after their goal but Barça regained control of the match and started to push for an equalizer, which they got when Lionel Messi played a perfect pass over the top to Jordi Alba, who took it first time and scored a beautiful volley.
The final few minutes had Barça with possession trying to find a winner while Valencia sat back and tried to win it themselves on the counter, but neither team managed to make their plans work and the game ended in a draw.
If you think about how Barça dominated one half and how Valencia dominated the other, a draw seems fair. But when you think about how Barça scored two completely legal goals and Valencia only scored one, this is really hard to accept. At least we didn’t lose, and we played quite well for most of the game. Still leaders, still unbeaten, still four points ahead of a very good Valencia side.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Vidal), Umtiti, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic (Deulofeu), Busquets, Iniesta (Denis); Paulinho; Messi, Suárez
Goal: Alba (82’)
Valencia: Neto; Montoya, Garay (Vezo), Gabriel, Gayà; Soler (Mina), Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Rodrigo (Andreas), Zaza
Goal: Rodrigo (60’)